I still can't get my head around pacing

If 2 persons are going for a 160 KM ride (non race). One is riding at power zone z2 for the whole ride, the other rider is doing z3 throughout.

Which one will benefit more?

Sorry for newbie question…again.

Depends what each want to get out of their ride, where they are in a training plan (if any), what ride or training sessions follow. In short it’s impossible to say.

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The guy in Z3 will be a lot more tired. The guy in Z2 might be able to go around again tomorrow…

This question is a case of seeing the trees but not the forest. A single ride or training session is neither here nor there. It’s the accumulation of many sessions / rides and recovery over time that builds the fitness.


The guy in Z3 is getting a bigger training stimulus from that particular ride. Whether that training stimulus is appropriate depends on goals and plan. E.g. If the Z3 rider is targeting a long distance event where they will be riding a lot of tempo, and they have an off day or easy day scheduled after, and they’ve been building towards doing that amount of Z3 so that it’s manageable, that ride may be part of a well structured plan.

If on the other hand they’re a crit racer, their plan said they were supposed to be riding z2 that day, they have a VO2 workout scheduled for the next day, their longest ride this year has been 80km, but the weather was good so they decided to go ride 160km with a stronger cycling buddy then that training stimulus is completely inappropriate. They’ve probably completely toasted their legs and are going to take at least a few days if not a week or more to fully recover, and the training they miss during that period means they’ll end up with less benefit than if they’d just done the ride they were supposed to. Or worse, if they’re good at suffering and somehow push themselves through their scheduled training despite the fatigue, they risk digging themselves into a hole that could take months or years to recover from.


I have a couple of pieces of string here…can anyone help me with which one is the best length please? :wink:

I think you’ve had the best answers already. There is NO BEST ride or session…