Leg muscle pain in zone 2

Anyone else get dull muscle pain in their thighs during endurance workouts using erg mode but don’t happen during harder workouts (temp, sweetspot, vo2)? For example Virginia (Endurance 4.5) makes my legs get this soreness while Antelope -1 (Sweet Spot 4.2) my legs feel fine. I never have this problem on my outdoor rides and have done plenty of century rides, Almost like the low but not really resting steady power with no hard efforts is needed to cause it.

To describe the pain its dull overall in the major muscles and getting off the bike and just standing there makes the pain go away in a minute or so. (There is no noticeable swelling) If only a minute off the bike the pain comes back quickly after ~20+ mins the first time and less time next time. In the short term while feeling that pain it seems like as the pain increases its much harder to hold the power (intervals.icu shows a ~7% decoupling of HR) Doesn’t seem to have any impact after the ride since the pain goes away fully very quickly. Not at all like the low level muscle plain of sweet spot of vo2 workouts that make my legs feel worn out and take awhile to fully recover from.

Anyone else experience this? Thanks

Rough guess - your LT1 is quite low compared to your ‘FTP’, which means that a ride like Virginia that goes up to IF0.75 effectively makes you ride in tempo during a lot of the ride.

Which introduces much more fatigue than of you were actually riding Z2/Endurance.

Try an easier endurance ride that is closer to IF 0.6 and see if you feel the same?

If the endurance ride is hard, then you’re riding too hard (regardless if TrainerRoad says its “endurance”)

I have no answers, but mention some items to consider when comparing workouts and feelings between them. Some of these could lead to a different load on your muscles which might relate to the feelings you have.

  • Gearing in ERG between workouts (assuming ERG for both)?
  • Any breaks, coasting, back pedals or other interruption differences between the workouts?
  • Cadence average and range differences used between them?
  • Any standing breaks or position changes?
  • Fueling & nutrition differences?
  • Other environmental differences like fans, temp, humidity?

2 hour endurance causes it, but not shorter sweet spot (1.5 hours?) effort?

Simple math:

  • Virginia is almost 2 hours actively pushing the pedals
  • Antelope (no + or -) is 50 minutes of actively pushing the pedals

At same cadence the sweet spot pushing is a little harder than endurance pushing, but again you are pushing about twice as long.

I’ve done some Antelope variants and I think they were 5x10-minutes. Something like 10 minutes at 88% and 5 minute rests at 40%. The easy recovery intervals are really easy. So thats only 50 minutes of actively pushing the pedals, if you consider 40% is usually super chill pedaling.

Virginia is something like steady endurance for 2 hours at 70% or 72%. Thats twice the amount of pushing. Long steady endurance rides are no joke. I do a lot of that type of work, from 68-76% for up to 2 hours and I feel my legs by the end.


After say 30 mins I feel fine after 105 minutes of Virginia even do the workout twice on a single day. There is no fatigue that last longer then 30 mins. Doing the same with sweetstop workouts would not be something I’d want to do.

I’ve only done 1 non erg mode ride since december. Erg mode in the same gear (small ring, 4 cogs from the largest in back to be a straight chain line on a kickr 2018)

Only what is in the workout. And the added rests to the Endurance rides from muscle pain

sitting the whole time for both. All the other variables mentioned are the same for both. Cadence does slow a bit after the leg pain starts.

The pain for endurance was starting before the hour mark when I started doing the longer endurance rides but still able to do 1.5 hours of sweet spot. The length of time before the pain starts has been getting better like you’d expect if training helps.

I guess more wondering if this is normal and as the length of time before the pain starts increases slowly from when I started, should I just keep doing what I’m doing and I’ll just improve. Or is this an indication of something else that I should change what I’m doing to address it.

As in I know long endurance rides are not easy. I know they start easy and then will become hard because of the slow burn but don’t know what to expect from when they start to feel hard

Understand the concern, can’t be of more help. Within the last month I’ve done a 1x60-min at 90%, 1x30min at 92%, some shorter stuff at 105% (1x20-min, x5-min, x10-min). I do a lot of 2+ hour endurance, my week is built around those rides, and some have intervals in them. What I will repeat is that long endurance rides that start around 170W (~63%) and finish around 200W (~74%) are burning a lot of kJ work (/ calories), nearly the same amount of work/calories as interval rides. The long endurance rides are no joke and stacking them up to hit 8-12 hours total in a week will generate plenty of fatigue.


Thanks. Guess I should just test it as normal and slowly get better as I get in better shape

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so hard to describe feelings, I’m definitely feeling something in my legs unless its only an hour or so.

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Are you still in base? You want that below 5% for the durations you expect to ride in your events.

It sounds like your aerobic and muscular endurance need more work. Your slow twitch are failing to keep up with the power demands of your workout and fast twitch are being recruited relatively early on to sustain the intensity. Fast twitch has even less endurance and fatigue quickly, unless they get respite (such as recovery periods during sweetspot, threshold, VO2 intervals etc).

Couple of suggestions.

  1. Return to another base block if you’ve moved to build.
  2. If 1. Is unpalatable then reduce the intensity of your Z2 workouts.

If you are seeing decoupling over 5% for an endurance workout then don’t increase duration and most definitely not intensity. Once it’s at 5% or below try extending duration and leave intensity alone.

Skip a good base at your peril.


Thanks. Good info. Not meaning to ignore your recommendations which I’ll try to follow but more from being a nerd and wanting to understand why:

The longer endurance rides wear out the muscle fibers (mostly your 1) which causes recruitment of muscle fibers that are worse at endurance (mostly type 2). The endurance rides have no rest so this wearing out and changing of recruited muscle fibers is going to hit this problem over workouts with rest breaks as I’m not really fatiguing the muscle fibers to failure as the rest breaks prevent that.

If fatiguing to failure is generally good for strength training in getting the muscles to adapt this would be good for endurance workouts too. So continuing the same long endurance workouts and taking breaks when pain starts to ramp up (fatigued to failure) to give rest and not be in pain but continued if able to fully recover quickly would be good.

It does seem like the length of time before the muscle pain starts does keep getting longer. I don’t race, just like doing long rides

I would be careful conflating maximum force production with sub maximal force production over many millions of contractions. Endurance is not the same as strength. With endurance training you are not trying to go to failure or generate a big stress response. It’s not about hero workouts and killing the legs.

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