How long is your Sunday Z1 ride, while still being fresh for Tuesday's VO2 work?

I used to always struggle a fair bit on Tuesday’s VO2 workouts in previous years, but last week I did what some guys were saying and swapped the Sunday sweetspot to just a long 4 hours Z1 ride outside (in POL zones). Just wondering how far you guys are taking the long ride thing while still in a plan with 2 or 3 intensity sessions a week.

Anyone built up to 5 or 6 hours and can still smash it fresh on all the intensity next week?

FWIW I didn’t quite nail the Z1 thing. 55% at the right zones, but 25% at tempo too unfortunately, but still a decent first attempt outdoors I thought. Actually kinda liked it, and was thinking to keep increasing that Sunday ride each week, just not sure how wise that is.

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I normally do 4h at the weekend in Z1+2(traditional 6/7 zones), but have gone to 6h30 when exploring new roads gets interesting. I don’t find that it really has an impact on a Monday or Tuesday VO2 session. However, these are very disciplined rides even with a group.


Couple of hours of zone one (Seiler) aren’t an issue. I am normally good to go on the next day.


3-4 hours is normal, easy bunch riding usually. Coffee-rides are the best :slight_smile:


I rarely get the opportunity to hit four hours unless it’s an event. My Saturday and Sunday rides are both usually in the two and a half to three hour mark.

Can’t honestly say that I understand all of the zones that are discussed so I just aim to keep the power in my TR workout endurance zone and the same for my HR. I use the same power meter indoors and outside. It’s calibrated for every ride.

Unless you’re willing to cycle laps around the small town I live in, you’re going to hit some pretty short (5-8 min) and sharp (10-14%) hills in no time. I’m not getting up those at anywhere near endurance so I aim to stay below threshold.

IF I behave and take Monday as a rest day, my Tuesday session, which is usually O/Us or threshold is fine.


Oh yes, sorry should really make that clear. I wasn’t sure on it myself until last week when it was explained to me. Basically Z1 is anything under tempo. Even like upper end endurance, as I sort of see it now.

I was crawling around at 45 cadence on some hills yesterday to stay within the power zone, but it was fine. Anything really sharp sure maybe spiked over into threshold but quickly slowed it down.

Also helps I have 12 speed and a 32t on the rear. Hate to be smug but it was amazing for this long Z1 stuff, I didn’t have to go on the long flat route (which actually I hate as the riding position is the same for hours), was able to switch it up a lot more without wrecking the ride.

I usually do anything up to 5hrs on Sunday and am fine for a Vo2 max workout on Tuesday.

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How did you feel after your 4 hour Z1 ride. Could you feel some fatigue in the legs or fine? Did your legs ache a little or fine?

During training I stretch my Z1 rides up to 7 hours. The next day go for a walk. Then VO2 max day after. I don’t go beyond 2 VO2 max a week. If I start a VO2 max session but it’s not happening. Then I’ll bin it and either try the same evening if I was trying in morning or I’ll wait another 24 hours.

My events start at 9 hours and up. After a 9 hour event I’ll take two clear days before VO2 max work. After a 16 hour event I’ll take 72 hours , after a 24 hour event I’ll take 96 hours. After a 40 hour event I’ll take a week off high intensity. In between I’ll do easy walks or recovery Z1 rides of about an hour or so.

So how far you can go and how close you do VO2 max work depends on how well adapted you are to the duration. But being flexible if the VO2 max workout isn’t happening is key. Don’t be afraid to bin it, and delay to later if it’s not happening.

Quality over quantity

My sundays are a consistent 3-4hr ride each week with Mondays off.
The long z2 on sunday is a different kind of fatigue. It’s almost like a hollow feeling, different than thrashing them with threshold or VO2 work. If I eat properly Sunday PM and go for a walk to keep things moving they feel good by Monday AM and ready to go on Tues.

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Personally I wouldn’t do anything more then 2.5h indoors though. I find that much more tiring, probably because it’s more consistent and I will average a much higher pace. So working much more near the top of the zones.

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Me either, unless extremely motivated for a rare Zwift event. Changing position as the road varies is a huge help with comfort too.

Think this is something indoor riding can do much better - having more realistic bike movement and gradient changing. That’ll be the next gen after prices come down on the current range. Wahoo sort of have something going on, and there’s some rocker plates having a go already too.

I think 2.5 hours is longest I’ve done on the trainer. I watched movie whilst doing the low intensity steady state. Where as the same time or longer outdoors passes very quickly as it’s far more engaging.

I’m still fairly new to the Pol approach, having really started it mid-winter when long outdoor rides weren’t an option. So far I’m up to 4hrs Z1 on a Sunday and last weekend I did Fri 40/20s, Sat 4hrs z1 and Sun 4hrs z1. I tend to stay at the lower end of z2 currently- constant pedalling but more time than I’d like in z1 (Coggan)t but also ride the same on the Sat for a solid 2 day block of 6-8 hrs min. Was pretty cooked yesterday so took a full rest day, and the weather forecast for this week means I’ll ride outside today for a couple of easy hours while I can and it looks like I’ll be stuck indoors the rest of the week. TBH I’m not sure I could have hit the 40/20s properly yesterday but have also come to realise that perceived accumulated fatigue from z1 (Pol) miles (eg how my legs feel in the morning) doesn’t affect my vo2 work anything like as much as I think it would - I’ve had some of my best sessions after climbing on the rollers with legs that felt quite knackered!

My volume is high right now though at 15-16hrs a week, so 1 vo2 session per week is all I’m really doing most weeks, and the rest is easy riding. I’m still a little unstructured though and flex depending on the weather - some weeks are still too rough to ride 15hrs outside so I’ve done a few more indoor z1 rides and a second interval session. Ultimately I’d like to get to probably 3 interval sessions across 14 days once the outdoor riding becomes a little more consistent.

What your doing still seems structured.

Far too many seem fixated on “It’s Wednesday I must do this workout / ride”. I think listening to your body and moving for instance your long rides or your vo2 max work is great. Nailing that vo2 max work 24 hours later is better than doing a half arsed version for when you originally scheduled it.

It’s the overall pattern that matters. In other words the consistently over many weeks, months, years. After you’ve been doing it a while you’ll know how much work you can do, how much rest you need. How often you need a recovery week.

It’s very liberating when you work out the overall picture of what works for you. Then you can implement that without sweating the minor day to day details that aren’t important in isolation.


Thanks Phil - always find your Pol related comments very insightful and helpful :+1:

I would appreciate your thoughts on a couple fo points but dont want to de-rail this thread so would you mind a PM with a couple of questions?


Drop a PM no problem. But I’m just about to service a rear derailleur that’s got sticky then go for a ride. So don’t worry if I don’t reply till sometime later.

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For Sundays I do 3 hours on the trainer or 4+ outside.

How long? Doesn’t this depend on one’s fitness level? And even at a high fitness level, riding at the outer right edge of Z1 (3ZM) can be quite demanding metabolically.

Sunday is my longest ride usually (at least 5h). Monday off and Tuesday is “hit it”. I’m still optimistic on racing and build towards my first highlight in May. This means the long ride on Sunday is turning into a breakthrough session with the aim of building fatigue resistance. Currently this means 4-5h ISM style endurance and the last 30-60min “push it” according to terrain.

I notice that one day off is not really enough to recover from this. However, I still stick to my Tuesday “hit it” but adjust it to the overall context of my training, e.g. intensity goes a little bit down (did 8x5’/1’ at threshold instead of 4x8’ slightly above threshold today)