How hard should I pitch some Z2 turbo work?

I’m deep into the cx season and I’ve got all my hard efforts covered with cx training and racing, however now that the weather is turning I’m toying with the idea of doing some of my steady endurance work indoors rather than out.
Normally my idea of a decent Z2 endurance workout would be a nice 3-4hr ride either on my mtb or the road. I don’t get fussy about the specifics, just aim to get time in the saddle at a conversational pace. I’ll still do one of these most weekends but I’d like to replace my mid-week night ride sometimes.

If I were to do it indoors then I’d need to get some data involved!

So if my ftp is around 290w (@70kg) then how hard should I pitch an aerobic Z2 session? AND is an hour worth it? (I personally think any on the bike time is worth it) or am I looking at 2hrs minimum?

I’ll start the numbers game with; I’d like to do it at 150w - nice and easy, no mental toughness needed. However I think 200w would be more productive but would be a whole different ball game regarding mental commitment after half an hour or so.

Over to you guys…
(P.s. how awesome are those Trainerroad podcasts! Nerd Nirvana!)

Here is your data plugged into my sheet:

So, L2 (officially Level 2 according to the Coggan terms) ranges from 160w to 218w.

As to time, 1 hour is not a “waste”. You will get a good TSS filler at the least. But from my research into long and slow rides, most of the desired benefits from that type of ride occur around 2 hours and beyond.

That seems to relate to outside riding. As such, you may see similar results from a trainer ride around 1.5 hours since you can theoretically do it with no coasting or other interruptions.

I think a 2+ hour trainer ride in the L2 range is a great thing. I have done about six 3-hour rides on my trainer as part of my training in the last weeks. The stress from an “easy” ride stretched to over 3 hours on a trainer is impressive and very real. So I think they are quite worthwhile, if you can put up with that time on a trainer.

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Thank you. Solid advice.

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My finger in the air estimate was going to be in the region of 160-180w which isn’t far off Chad’s sheet.

I have 12w on your FTP and do 3-4hr ‘Z2’ in the range of 165-220w with a few brief ascents into tempo around the 230w/240w range to keep it interesting and add a little variety without changing the nature of the workout materially.

Something like Baxter is ideal or Baxter-1, minor undulations to break up the monotony. Perkins hits the same ranges (without the Tempo work) but has intervals of 14 minutes vs 1-3 minutes of Baxter.

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The biggest stress I’ve found trying to do longer Z2 rides on the turbo is mental fatigue. I’ve found it really difficult to stay focussed on the ride without the chunks associated with intervals to break it up.

And as mentioned above, you don’t need the same duration indoors as you don’t get the breaks from coasting, cornering etc.

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