Are there any benefits to short Z2 workouts?

I disagree. Take a look at the largest demographic of TR users. The bulk of them aren’t in this for hard workouts and max gains. It’s my suspicion that TR is throwing them Z2 bones to keep them active & engaged (i.e. paying) but not over-stressed.

I’d bet my left nut that the Z2 “filler” workouts are not simply a strategy to keep users hooked and paying. All the business decisions and developments over the years indicate they do everything in an effort to provide users with the best experience and to make them as fast as possible.

And how exactly are we supposed to “take a look at the largest demographic of TR users?” Given that there are more gamified, visually stimulating competitors out there I’d guess that the majority of TR users are paying to get faster.

I haven’t listened to this week’s podcast yet but I’d bet you $20 that Chad will mention that these lower volume workouts have proven to increase performance in athletes. :slight_smile:


They’ve come to the wrong place if they’re looking for that from TrainerRoad :grin:


I disagree - assuming all users are following plans. Even LV plans have plenty hard VO2max and Threshold workouts.

That said, I agree that the 1hr Z2 ride is not as effective as a 3hr Z2 ride, or a 1hr high intensity ride. But, if done depleted, I do think the 1hr Z2 ride serves a purpose/is better than nothing. And not all 1hr rides on the trainer can be VO2max rides.


We all have a different take on it, and how it applies to our specific conditions and situations.

If doing short Z2 makes a person healthier and happier then I’m 100% in favour of them. :+1:

The main reason I ever do a Zone 2 ride for 45 mins to 1 hour is as a form of recovery ride.

For me, it helps to avoid stiffness after other more intense workouts or races I may do. Also, mentally it helps me as I use it as chilling time.

(Apart from that I don’t do them very often and if I have to skip a workout from a week’s plan it tends to be one of these easier ones.)

I think the list is longer than we think…

That list looks like a lot of people who train plenty hard, they just choose not to race. Someone doing this for fitness can thrash themselves just as hard without a race on the calendar. Racing is not a litmus test or minimum requirement to working hard.


I have raced extensively, but not going to this year at least not with any goals. Yet I’m working harder on the bike than I probably ever have. I love the work. I doubt I’m alone in that. Races are just additional motivation.

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I think there is much merit to a 1hr ride squashed in between two days of intervals and harder efforts. They one keep active, maintain some fatigue without killing you for the next day. One can call it filler TSS you want, put I think it is a positive in progression. And it works pretty well for us amateurs with a full schedule.

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There is some minor benefit to it but if your legs are tired, skipping it is more beneficial.

Lol, the forum didn’t want me responding to @mcneese.chad again… but i digress

Anyone following a plan is subjecting themselves to some hard work so i agree. Just adding in there that shorter z2 days is one way to keep the hard days hard and the easy days easy. I am curious to hear some quantitative benefits in tomorrow’s podcast. Taking the day completely off helps as well, but when looking back through my training history i see a pattern emerging that while i can complete the next harder workout still my overall fitness does not improve as much after the cycle. Correlation may not be causation either but this year i will be working hard to get what i think is the right combination of volume and intensity. Everyone will be different though, and there are a lot of ways to skin a cat. My physiological response to a low .6x IF ride is i have a hr average that is roughly 60% of max hr almost always below 65% of max. Coming from a hr based background seeing hr 108 to 115 is close to 20 beats off of my endurance pace target

@Bioteknik I’m missing your point here (sorry). So your “overall fitness does not improve as much” with/without the short Z2 Wednesday? (when you looked back)

Except they also say on the podcast that there’s no lactic acid to clear the day after a workout and that there is no real evidence that “recovery rides” help clearing lactic acid even if performed hours after a hard work.

For me the ‘hard days hard the easy days easy’ is really about intensity, not the toll on your body.

The hard days should be hard because of the high intensity of the workouts, but the ‘easy’ days should also be hard, just in a different way. You should still feel the effects of a Z2 workout, because of the length.

The third type of day should be restorative - Z1 workouts or total rest.

Personally I wouldn’t bother too much with short Z2 workouts - for me it’s too hard to truly work as recovery and far too short to have any worthwhile effects for endurance.



I’m referring more to having a ride in my legs before going in to do harder work. Whatever the mechanism not riding and then going out to do something more intense doesn’t work well for me.

I’d always prefer to have ridden the day before any type of competition for example.

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I agree with that, and I understand that “clearing lactate” is sometimes just a metaphor for moving your legs a bit, which I also prefer over total rest.

You can also do other work off the bike such as yoga, which might be even more restorative/beneficial than a short Z2 to keep things moving.

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While doing GBMV the Wednesdays’ workout is always a z2 one hour ride, sometimes even as high as .77 IF (high z2 at 75% with a few sprints). My legs are usually sore from Monday’s intervals and that z2 ride always feels harder than I think it should. I feel my soreness during the ride. That HAS to negatively affect me during Thursday’s intervals. If I manage to bury myself through Thursday’s intervals then by Saturday I have surely dug myself into a hole for my third hard workout of the week.

I keep thinking that maybe that Wednesday z2 is too much and would I feel better with a short z1 spin or even rest :man_shrugging:.


Replace overall fitness with FTP, since that is the main metric we measure. This may be twofold though… as maybe it meant I was going too hard in other workouts (outdoor rides). There’s a lot of factors at play, and better compliance for me achieves a better response in fitness. In my experience, having an easy ride each week is better than 1 less ride. I’ve given some other thoughts about this in the polarized thread.

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