Is it ok to go slow?

Maybe this is a stupid question but it hit me on my ride today. We’re all using TR to get faster, and it works great for that, but sometimes I get stuck thinking I had a bad ride if I didn’t do more mileage or squeeze out a few more watts than last time.

Here in New England, it’s sunny, 80F and there’s a breeze. I’m in my kit, on a carbon bike with 50mm wheels, and 15 miles into a planned 40 mile ride somehow just don’t have the gas today to get over 15 mph. I don’t feel fatigued or anything.

Instead of beating myself up, I’m trying to convince myself that it’s ok just to ride and enjoy the sights and sounds. Am I nuts?


No fun allowed, only KQOMs.

You’re ‘allowed’ to do whatever you want. Speaking for myself, greater abilities equates to being able to have more fun.


Fitness and motivation will both ebb and flow. So yeah you can’t progress on every single ride. Some rides you just have to keep steady pressure and enjoy the scenery. You don’t always have to bleeding out your eyeballs to go faster and faster.


you also gotta think about it in context of the whole week. you can’t go hard on every ride. you can get some endurance work in while also simultaneously still prepping for hard intervals tomorrow.

So, think of it that way. It’s actually a fitness “reward” that you get by going easy sometimes because you’re charging up the battery for hammering tomorrow.


Absolutely not. With great power comes great responsibility. You always need to average at least as many KPH as your wheels have in millimetres of depth.


Lots of benefit of steady Zone 2 rides with minimal breaks. These will help continue to build and foster your aerobic base. I’ve been incorporating these in my training plan on the weekends and it’s helped a ton.

There is also a role for < 50% FTP recovery rides. Some people respond well to these on “off days”. They are designed to build fitness, but rather aid in recovery and muscle soreness.

A common training mistake is going too easy on the “hard days” and too hard on the “easy days”.


I totally get you. Interestingly, the pressure to go fast also increases proportionally to rim height and frameset price.

It somehow feels wierd to go slow on a fast bike. :smiley:

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That’s why I buy used bikes, and ride them for many years: it reduces the pressure to go fast.

No, not really. It’s only because I’m a cheapskate.


It would be weird NOT to take an unscheduled break now and again.


This kind of goes against what structured training is all about. It’s a setup for failure.

Even with unstructured outdoor rides, you should at least have some idea of your target pacing and mileage.

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Good think I’m not riding 80mm wheels :thinking:

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I usually do have a pacing and mileage goal. I have a handful of regular routes so I have an idea what to expect.

I had that today too it just wasn’t working haha

If my HR was below 170 does my ride count?

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The more I think about it, I think you hit the nail on the head. Today was supposed to be an easy day anyway and I ended up with an average power right around 65% of my FTP for a 2 hour ride. Somehow I’m ok with an easy ride on the trainer…I have no problem doing Pettit when scheduled for example, but riding at 65% of FTP outside on a reasonably nice bike feels slow haha.

I appreciate the input!!


I would definitely say enjoy the ‘slow ride’

The thing that occurred to me was that if you do the training to get faster…then even when you do a ride that feels slow to you today, it’s probably still faster than a slow ride last year.

There are plenty of riders who would be pleased to get home and have an average speed of 15mph. I’d be well happy with that if it was a century ride :slight_smile:

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Good points!!! I couldn’t ride 30 miles last year, and now I’m bummed about only doing 30 @ 15mph. It’s good to have some perspective!!!

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I’m tired of hammering. I’ve been doing that for a long time. There is value in taking in a ride of 40 miles at a comfortable pace. It’s good not only for the mind, but for adaptations in mitocondrai. I don’t really know that second part to be true, but I thought it would sound like I know what I’m talking about and have us all riding mores, which is cool, right.



Enjoy the day.

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At some point, we’re all going to get slower. If the only reason you’re riding is to raise your FTP then you’re eventually going to never want to bike because you’ll physiologically be incapable of hitting your previous best.

Ride your bike because you enjoy it.


I mean, pro cyclists ride slow a fair bit (relatively speaking) and they’re paid to ride fast.
Most of us, however, are on the bike for a mix of personal development and simple enjoyment. I tend to think both of those things feed into each other. It’s not necessarily structure vs fun, more that those two elements work together to make our training both physiologically and personally rewarding enough for it to be sustainable long-term. I think “just riding” has a purpose in both a structured training plan and in the context of something we ultimately do for ourselves. there’s enough crap in our lives that we ‘have’ to do already :wink:

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ABSOLUTELY. It is so so so so so hard to go slow but I desperately need to do it. My legs need a rest and my ‘recovery’ is now in its 3rd week because when I go on my regular routes I have my spots where I have to smash… it’s just unavoidable. I can’t control myself and now I have no top end power at all. Just can’t muster the push because the legs aren’t there. I’m taking your question to be a recovery question. I’ve been doing this thing that has really helped make me take an easy day. I will go somewhere I’ve never gone. Find new roads. It forces me to spend more time looking around, more time looking at a map, just going slower because I don’t know where I’m going.