Can I build base until z2 is 200w?

Current ftp 240.
My current z2 power is 132-180w.
I’m at the end of my 4th block of sweet spot base in a row.

The bigger the base will allow the higher the peaks right?

So why don’t I just stick to building base until I can cruise at 200w z2 power and z2 heart rate.

Are there any downfalls to this?

1 Like

You won’t know if you don’t try! In early 2020 my I set out to build a bigger aerobic engine, and after two years am now at 200W zone2 and 275+ on longer 30+ minute threshold efforts. Now back to peak fitness of 2017 when I hit 280W ftp. At this point I haven’t really trained vo2max, but am setting some under 5-minute power PRs. Able to hang with guys 20-40 years younger on Wed night group rides. No downfall other than time commitment that averages out to 8.5 hours/week.


I think that building a base is fantastic, but you’re not likely to improve your Z2 number purely by itself.

At least not by 62W.

I think as you build your base your FTP will improve, but you’ll likely need to do some work to push up FTP. That could just be some Sweet Spot “base” work.

1 Like

NO downside to a bigger base and cruising z2 at 200w…BUT simply repeating the same programme over and over will probably not be the way to do it. Your body quickly adapts and will need new stimulus to avoid stagnating. At some point your progress will likely stall from repeats of SSB and you will need to try another approach eg more z2 work etc. Its well documented here, and elsewhere, that intensity alone is unlikely to give you continued long term progress - “everything works, until it doesn’t”


I would actually bet you can do it by following ssb1/2 progressions and adding volume whenever you can.

The ssb programs have changed and incorporate some more threshold, light vo2, and over/under work which should likely be enough to nudge your ftp up. Adding additional z2 after workouts has really helped me extend endurance capabilities this base period.

You can probably keep going until you can’t. At some point you will level off and either need more intensity or more volume. As your ftp goes up your perceived exertion and tte will likely get you closer to your goal.

1 Like

If you are at the end of your fourth consecutive block of SSB, I’d bet you are due for a break, both mental and physical. If you haven’t done any higher volume z2 work, you could work on that for a month or two. I know heart rate can be a dubious measuring stick, but I like to watch how I can increase power sticking to around 75% or so of max heart rate. If I were in your shoes, I’d do that for a while and once I feel like I’ve pushed up my power within that heart rate range, start adding in some more intensity again. Rinse and repeat. Or instead of heart rate, just go based on that “I could do this all day” feel.

1 Like

Nope, diminishing returns kicks in pretty early.

A big base helps with repeatability of those peaks, but not amplitude. So in the context of racing, you might have more matches to burn. In the context of training, you can handle higher TSS. It’s not the base, but the extra/longer/harder workouts that ultimately drive up your overall fitness.

In order to cruise at 200w, which I interpret as “all day power”, your FTP will need to be scratching 300w, IME. 275w is probably the minimum.


Definitely tired psychically. I’m on a low volume plan, but I use train now twice a week and have a spirited group ride on Saturday’s. So I’m riding 5 -6 days a week with over 400 tss weekly.

Mentally I’m doing well. I train with no music so it’s my moment of zen even if I’m doing over/unders lol.

I was thinking of focusing on deep breathing and staying within the higher end of my z2 heart rate and trying to put out more power. And over time just hoping it would work… I really have no clue

TLDR: I’m in support of your idea. Try it!


This is an excellent plan if you’re naturally more of a sprinter.

If you’re not a natural sprinter, you might have more luck doing a little more higher-intensity stuff. But TR has never been known for not prescribing enough high-intensity work… so might still not be necessary :slight_smile:

Anecdote: the vast majority of my wife’s riding (probably 90% is in z1 & z2, with maybe 8% in z3). She rarely touches z4 & 5, and almost never in a structured workout. Her 20min power and 5-min power have increased at least as fast with this approach as with approaches that include more intensity. (context: she’s a pro)


When I was 20 yo, we didn’t have power meters, HR monitors (at first), TR, etc.

I could average 22 mph on Tue/Thu group rides and I could average 20 (but never 21) mph on any solo loop up to 60 miles. I’d love to have the power data from back then (not that I think it was special - just for old times’ sake). All I can do is look at the data I can collect now as an older, fatter, slower man with a real job.

If I average 190W (with stoplights dragging my average down), I average 19mph. So I’d guess 200W is getting close to what I need to do to match my old average. Some differences of course. I’m now on an aero bike with Roval wheels instead of a Miyata steel bike with RX100 and junk box section aluminum wheels. Maybe the extra 25lbs balances out some of the aero improvements. IDK.

Anyway, my point is that I got to a ballpark of 200W being my 3 hour power by doing zero structure. My first bike ride was 16 miles and it took me an hour. Every day (5-7 days a week), I just rode as hard as I could maintain for the entire ride. When I hit 18mph, I started doing 25 mile rides. When I got to 19 mph on those I switched to 40 mile rides. Within a few weeks, I could do those 40 mile rides in sub 2 hours and by then I couldn’t get any faster (never broke 21 mph) but I literally did every single ride over 20 mph. Didn’t matter if I climbed a lot or if it was short or long. That was my speed.

I had a some pretty good success in Cat 5 races but once I upgraded to 4 I got killed. I didn’t have the ability to keep up with the surges (all we had was crits).

So my point to @JosephKristian is that you probably can do it but after you do, you’ll definitely want to do higher intensity work if you plan on racing.


What part of zone 2 HR do you want to be over 200W? lets you see your power at Z2HR(89% of LTHR) and lets you track it but not directly by comparing the power vs HR for various time periods. Here’s mine at the top of Z2, notice it can go up and down and 2020 it dipped substantially during the pandemic when I rode a lot less



I wanted to get 200w to z2, then start the build phase. I should have mentioned that. I love the high intensity stuff.

My thoughts are that you’ve probably gotten out of sweet spot base what you are going to for now. I’d move on to the build. Build phase could very well be the thing that pushes your FTP up to get you to 200W Z2 and it would likely be a nice break from sweet spot base.

1 Like

About 60-80% of my riding is 65-79% FTP, and the rest is a healthy undulating mix of tempo to sprintervals. All year round for the last two years, no dedicated endurance blocks except when lifting heavy in the off-season (and even then, sprintervals). More endurance, fewer intervals. This approach has less intensity and seeing better increases in short under 10-min power and repeatability than with approaches that include more intervals and intensity. Full-time job and empty nester but I do most of the home maintenance, so averaging 8.5 hours/week is pushing the patience of my wife. I’d try and push that weekly average a little higher if I could.


Not a bad approach, just don’t do it for too long without some intensity. And keep in mind that heart rate is influenced by a lot of things - what you eat, how much you sleep, etc. Your heart rate might be 5-10 bpm higher one day than it “should be” - that doesn’t mean you have lost fitness.

After my coming recovery week, I’m thinking of starting up low volume sweet spot base all over again with of 2 days of train now zone 2 deep breathing and 1 spirited group ride on Saturday’s. Hopefully I continue to make gains.

This is a bad idea. It seems to me that you want to skip a little ahead and “cheat”. Plus, in all likelihood you’d get diminishing returns very quickly: you need to expose your body to different stimuli. And you may need to accept that it may take several years.

When you write that you want to be able to cruise effortlessly at 200 W, why do you want to do that? Do you want to have good stamina on longer rides with your mates? Or is that just a “nice number” you want to hit to motivate yourself?

I’d continue with a year-around plan and continue working on the basics: consistency, sleep, nutrition, stress management. Your body needs to get used to periodized training. You will see that with experience you regain “lost” fitness more quickly, that your body is able to adapt to the various demands. And what is your weight like? If you have some kilos to lose, that’s definitely also a way to gain more fitness without increasing your power.

Lastly, if you think you have addressed the basics, you could also consider a multi-year training plan. Last year, I did the crit plan, which focussed on short power, and my FTP skyrocketed. Then I did a pre-season polarized block and am now in a sustained power-centric plan (climbing road race). The point was that last year I increased the height of my power tower, this year I want to broaden its base. This really takes time.


I’m new to periodized training and was just asking if I could keep training base because I honestly have no clue what I’m doing.

I chose 200w for z2 because it’s a nice round number. I would say it’s a goal. I’d definitely like it to be much higher.

I’m 5’8”, I’m at 72.5kg at 14% body fat.

Since I’ve started the beginning of my base training in October / November, I’ve maintained about the same weight, however I do think I’ve put on a lil lean muscle as my body composition seems more tone.

I’m currently following sweet spot base, and if I proceed with build it will be the sustained power build. It’s been mentioned previously on the podcast that it’s the “best” for growing FTP.

I have about a week before I proceed with build or try something else.

Thank you for your input.

I’m want the same thing. I’ve just completed sustained power build because just doing base is boring then I’m going for a specialty that follows sustained. I’ll probably end up doing climbing road race but 40k TT, century or XC marathon/olympic are also still options (all LV)

Honestly, the choice of plan is far less important than:

  1. volume of training
  2. consistency of training

so, just keep following the plans and mix it up to keep providing a stimulus to drive adaptions. Pick a plan, or let Plan Builder do it, and focus on working through it and if possible, get as many outdoor z2 endurance hours as possible to supplement the intensity. Swapping out weekend sessions for longer endurance rides is always a winner. “Cruise all day…” comes from a solid base or aerobic fitness and endurance rides should always be a big part of that plan :wink: I know many guys and gals that would tell you they’ve never done any ‘training’ but are seriously fast riders - because they have ridden their bikes a LOT for a LONG time :wink:

Good luck.

1 Like