Has anyone done the opposite of San Millan model?

Ie with very little z2 riding, lots of tempo, threshold and Vo2 max +

And just a strong high carbohydrate diet (rice for days) with maybe a gut trained to handle more carbs than the average person both on and off the bike.

I’m decently close right now, and what I notice is that sometimes if I decide to do a 3h z2 ride towards the last half of the last hour I will literally feel better raising the pace to tempo than sitting in the fat oxidation zone, which I think is a sure sign that you are staying away from fat oxidation and are breaking sugar bonds for energy.

I think for shorter racing (Remember guys Pogacar is a GC grand tour rider, he is training to win 3 week races…) heavier riders, those that want to to have multiple peaks in a year, it’s better. You can always take rest days instead of doing z2 rides which has the benefit of less burnout and when you get back on the bike you feel amazing.

The struggle is controlling diet, you really have to understand that your body doesn’t actually know if you are going to be riding hard that day or not and as a result it will want to carb load even if you are on a rest day or set of days, and I think it’s important not to excessively eat at these times. Curious if anyone else has tried this.

Uh everyone that did TR base and build programmes?


I know i’m guilty of this too, but you don’t actually need vocal ticks like “uh” on an internet forum, sir.


The low volume plans are basically the opposite of the polarized plans. You only do endurance pace during the recovery weeks.

Last year I built really good 60-90 minute fitness, which is all I really need. It worked really well until about mid July, when a number of factors kind of cooked me, with these probably being things like more or less always clicking “hard” on the ride survey when in reality some of the workouts were a real struggle to get through and a switch from the road bike to the TT bike without figuring out a good way to readjust my FTP (probably should have done a ramp test and lived with the lower FTP but I am still a little miffed that TR doesn’t have a standard approach to bike changes).

Are you aware that cycling is an endurance sport?


Lots of people that ride 3-5 hours per week train like that. They have four days per week to recover from the efforts.

If you tack on more training hours you have nowhere else to go but more Z1/2.


Cycling means different things to everbody. Pogacar is training for cycling just like your local crit crushers are, but only one of them is racing grand tours.

Are people getting burnt out from Z2 rides? First I’ve heard of this, it’s usually burn out from too much intensity that I hear about.


That’s quite a jump from previous months. Have you burnt out when you’ve progressively increased the amount of Z2?

Nothing unusual about that. In fact, it’s a very common way to train. Many people being time crunched and / or primarily riding home trainer (f.ex. some of the TR programs) ride like this.

The point of zone 2 training is that you can do a lot of it without burnout. If someone is at the risk of burnout, odds are that they are doing too much intensity. Sure if you do too much of zone 2 or doesn’t fuel right you can probably burnout from zone 2 work also. But definitely not the most common source of burnout.

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just bear in mind, that doing lots of riding close to LT1 builds your fitness/ endurance in a different way to higher intensity. its slow to build but slower to drop off. if you are trying to build your fitness from season to season, relying on higher intensity may be less effective. HIT builds and plateaus quickly. use all the tools when you need to, like a good plan will.


I’ve gotten burned out on base miles. I love a 2-3 hour group ride. I like 1.5-2 hour solo rides.

I just don’t love 3-5 hour rides especially if they are solo. I just get board and tired of being out there. I did it one winter when I wasn’t working - 12-15 hours per week listening to books and podcasts. I didn’t love it. I could tolerate it way more if I could ride with other riders and chit chat all day. I’ve just never found people that can train that much during the week nor people who wanted to go for long 3+ hour endurance rides.

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That was me for the last two years, spot on!

This year I have gone the hyped San Millan way, changing my base training from 10h/wk with lots of intensity to 15h/wk with lots of Z2 and some Z4 (usually after the Z2).

For me the difference is simply massive, subjectively. I feel so much more relaxed in Z2 (whether Coggan or San Millan), which is kinda expected.

Surprisingly I also feel significantly stronger when throwing punches. They don’t phase me nearly as much as the last year. And I can return to being relaxed in Z2 much faster. And I did hit some short PRs doing this, too.

I feel this year I have an additional “gear” in my physiology, rather than being stuck going hard all the time like previous years…

I really did not expect this starting this experiment, and am curious how this pans out further… I do plan to switch back to lower volume, higher intensity when I enter build phase though!


I’ll throw the grenade into this discussion: we don’t actually know what is the best training for an individual. All of the studies on training have incredibly small statistical power (e.g., low number of participants; lack of diversity - age, sex, etc.; short time spans; etc.), so their results are pretty useless even at a population level, forget an individual level.

To the OP: if your current training regime is working for you, stick with it. When it stops working for you, do something else. Rinse & repeat.


Burned out or bored?


Both I guess. I think I explained it. I just don’t love the long solo hours in the saddle.

I remember reading something about Merckx not liking them either. He’d make the team show up every day at his house so he wouldn’t have to ride those kinds of miles by himself.

The way I see it, the zone 2 mitochondrial adaptations are relatively cumulative and permanent whereas trainings to the glycolic energy systems relatively quickly reach a peak. I’m another thread I made we talked about FTP as a ratio of max aerobic power. Perhaps the “non ism” riding will increase that ratio but it probably won’t increase max aerobic power over time. Just what I’ve gathered.


You just descbribed TrainerRoad’s low volume sweet spot plan and most the low volume build plans, so that’s all I do for big chuncks of the year. I would not feel better bumping up the pace near the end of an endurance ride, but I also find a true 3hr endurance ride much easier after completing the TR plans and learning how to fuel a ride. By easier I mean that I can maintain zone 2 pace longer wihout fatigue creeping up.

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you also increased your hours 50%…

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Very true @jkrasnow, and difficult to control for.

One thing I’ll add though is that I tried multiple times to increase from 10 to 12h+/week on the high intensity regime last years, by adding endurance rides. But I very consistently crashed and burned within a couple of weeks of doing that (loss of motivation, illness,…) and ended up losing FTP more often than not.

Whereas on the current 15h regime I actually feel eager to do more every ride, but hold myself back. I still get ill (can’t avoid that with young kids), but I rebound much easier…

Anyway, that’s only anecdotal, N=1 stuff. I just feel endurance was a relative weakness of mine previously, and I may benefit more than some by focussing on it for a while. And thought that might apply to the OP too…

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