Base training questions, and how to see time coasting during ride in a Garmin unit

Hello there,

I am thinking about doing a “traditional base” training block. I have plenty of courses I have to watch on the computer, so I will do a sizeable part of it on the trainer, watching stuff I have to watch alone anyway. I want to add outdoor rides, and in total I think I will be riding Z2 about 10-12 hours a week during the weekdays. With an unstructured group ride or two on the weekends, my total time will be about 16-18 hours a week. First question, would this be enough? Should I try and add some SST during the week? I am used to riding 10-12 hours a week with more intensity.

For the outdoor rides, I would like to control how long I have been coasting, real time, because I would like to make sure my time in zone is enough for the session to be effective. What would be the best way to do this? I guess that time at zone 1 is a good enough proxy, if it includes the coasting and lower intensity that is outside of my target zone 2 anyway. I could keep an eye on time at zone 2, but I might also ride for some time at slightly higher intensity.

I have read elsewhere here in the forum, that minimum time for Z2 rides should be 75 minutes, preferrably longer than that, and maximum time for effective adaptations should be about 3-4 hours. Would this general guideline also include double training sessions, or does it mean that I could ride 3 hours in the morning and 2 in the evening, and see more benefits? The double sessions will be Z2 watching stuff + outside riding, quite possibly without lots of structure.



In line with my thoughts, once I used the ss medium volume program for four ss sessions a week and was so exhausted that I ended up getting sick after three weeks.
After recovering for a while, next month, I’m going to start a traditional training program, medium volume, four sessions a week, all z2 (time basically 90 minutes to 120 minutes) workouts. I read the description of this program, which builds a very good aerobic base and is particularly effective for fat loss, and I think it fits my situation perfectly. However, I am concerned about the pain in my nether regions or buttocks caused by riding for too long. Also, I need to go to work in the morning, so I may need to schedule up to two hours of training into the evening, and I’m not sure if that will affect my sleep quality and HRV data.
Anyway, I will try this program and follow the recommendations twice for a total of 8 weeks!

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I experimented with high volume z2 when the pandemic started, with similar hours. 10-12 w/ intensity → 16-20 just z2. I discovered a whole 'nother level and type of fatigue once I hit the 18hr mark. 12 w/ intensity → 15/16 was fine for me. Above that was a different story. I’d go into it with an open mind and do just z2 first and see how you handle it.

I know my z1/z2 boundary and just periodically look at my head unit and make sure I keep the number above that boundary and try to keep around 70% FTP. I haven’t found a need to get super complicated with it.

I think discussions around this are about what is ‘optimal’ not necessarily what is good enough based on our constraints. Is 4hrs straight better than 2x2hrs? probably. how much better? I haven’t seen any info on that. When I got up to 16-20 hours I tried to do as much in big blocks as possible, but often broke up the rides during the week due to work and personal schedule.

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I don’t think there is a data field on Garmins for coasting time. So what I do is to put the Time in Zone 1 (which includes everything from 0W to 55%FTP) field up and try to minimize that. Another option would be to set your Zone 1 to have the range of 0W - 0W and that would probably count all of your coasting time. You would then just have to know that in Garmin your Z2 is actually Z1, Z3 is Z2, etc.

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With the volume you are talking about, you don’t need to worry about this, IMO.

That said, if you are using Training Peaks, look at your Power Distribution Chart and it will break down your ride by defined chunks…mine is currently set @ 15w chunks. So on my ride this AM, I spent 9% of it at 0-15w.


Yeah unless you’re climbing mountains and doing long descents, coasting shouldn’t matter at all training 10+ hpw.

You can set up an account to see minutes coasting on every ride as well


I would think that just 10-15 hours of riding in general would be plenty enough that time in zone wouldn’t really matter, especially if you are adding intensity on top of that. That is pretty similar to my training method over the past few years and it has worked great for me.