Easy Day Questions

I know Easy days should be EASY and Hard days HARD. Recently heard another coach recommend 55% of FTP if using power or 70% of threshold HR if using Heartrate. I tried an easy 30 min workout with those parameters and it truly was SO easy. I think I have been riding too hard on my easy days. Here are my questions:

  1. A ride with that low of an intensity feels not much different than just taking the day off. Is there some benefit to riding rather than just taking the day off?

  2. Also, I always hear about VOLUME–About how more volume makes you a better cyclist. If one has the time to put in, it seems you add the VOLUME at low intensity around your 2-3 hard days per week. How does all that low intensity volume make you a faster cyclist? It feels like going out for a 2 hour very low intensity ride isn’t doing much–Kinda feels like junk miles. Can someone help me undertstand this?

Here is a related thread with lots of info:

The post lead to a direct question and discussion on the podcast. I can’t remember if the cast is linked in the thread, but I can try to find it for you if it’s not already there.


I have always looked at the easy ride as being more aimed at recovery and spinning the stiffness out of my legs. Pettit is even a little high in IF in my opinion…I think it needs to be below 50% of your FTP.


Thanks, @mcneese.chad. I read that thread and have gained some insight. I will listen to that podcast too that you mentioned. Looks like it aired right around the time of the thread you referenced. Trainerroad is such a great resource! :grin:

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As luck would have it, I heard the very segment on my drive home. Click the last link in the video jump list. Starts around 1:20 based on the audio cast.


Yes, you will probably feel better on the next hard day. This week I had to move my easy workout from Wednesday to this morning. My Tuesday workout (Gray) is a simple, but hard 2x20 minute interval session at 100 % FTP. Yesterday was a short, 45-minute workout with VO2max work. Even though it was short and relatively easy, my legs felt terrible.

Easy spins get the blood flowing, which helps recovery. But it doesn’t strain you (too much).

This is a can of worms. I recommend you subscribe to TrainerRoad’s podcast. This topic has been covered many times and will be covered again in future episodes.

Many pros (who don’t have jobs outside of cycling) will do tons of low intensity work. However, if you are more time constrained, much of the benefits can be reaped by doing sweet spot workouts. TrainerRoad’s three different tiers (low-, mid- and high-volume plans) allocate different amounts of training stress (which roughly correlates with time on the bike). At lower intensity, it takes much longer to accumulate the same amount of training stress, though, and frankly, most of us don’t have the time as we have a family, a demanding job and so forth.

Our bodies can accommodate only so much high-intensity stress, and we need rest to recuperate. During the lower-intensity and rest periods is when the adaptations take place, i. e. you hurt your body during the hard sessions and your body heals itself and makes adaptations to better cope with the same stress in the future. Think of a bridge that gets damaged by an overweight vehicle and you react by strengthening the bridge in crucial places so that it can deal with higher gross weight vehicles in the future.

Okay, thanks! I will give it a listen!

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Thanks! I do subscribe to the podcast and will re-listen to those that address this topic. I could see from the thread that Chad referenced that it is a “can of worms”. I hope I didn’t open up another can! Lol!—as I see now it has been rehashed quite a bit!

Everybody has to learn this starting from zero, and this is indeed a good question to ask. I don’t feel qualified to give you the definitive answer, but @mcneese.chad (aka the “other” Chad and good spirit of this forum) has pointed you in the right direction.

Before I got into structured training, I thought training equals riding hard. When I went out on rides, I’d always hammer it, not understanding even the basics of structured training. The podcast (including the huge back catalog) was instrumental in marinating my brain in the subject matter, so that I understand much better now what is going on — even though I am far from an expert. Just understanding the basic mechanism, though, allows you to get an informed intuition on the various aspects of structured training.

That’s how these “meta rules” emerge: ride easy on easy days and hard on hard days. Fuel your workouts. Consistency beats volume. Etc.


Yeah, Pettit to me feels to hard for an easy day.

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I found this particularly interesting form 07:25 onwards

How to Drop Weight and Increase Power

Not sure I understand the naming of this snippet but I think it’s relevant to this topic.

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