Maximum time in Z2 for a beginner?

I’m trying to build up my endurance base as fast as possible but I got no clue just how much a beginner can do. I see the experienced and well conditioned cyclist will do 2 hours a day and then all beginner advice for Z2 training in general just says 30 minutes a few times a week. Health is good and all but it seems like there’s a gap in just how much a beginner can do when they are really looking to push the safe limit.

Am I going too easy with only 45 minutes on the stationary bike per day or is this actually what a beginner should stick to for awhile? I’m just doing stationary bikes in the gym at the moment.

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The more the better.

Maximum is how much your schedule allows when it comes to Z2. I don’t think you can get as high of a ceiling (or floor as it is) with “minimum effective dose” thinking on Z2, unfortunately.

As much as I’d love a shortcut to base fitness, as most of us would, I’m thinking you should really get above 10 hours a week…working up to that amount and higher if possible. My N=1 was that I had my best fitness results when I was averaging 10-12 hours a week. But that’s me, I don’t think I’m an exceptionally good slow twitch athlete like most on here, I’ve never been above 3 w/kg.

Ramp it up and see how it works for you. I have a sneaking suspicion that there’s no hack for a great base, at some point you just have to put in a lot more work. Fortunately as a beginner “work” means riding a lot.

Good luck.

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No such thing as “maximum” time….there is only what you can tolerate. Everyone is individual and there is no set answer.

Start with 3-5 days / week, 1 hour per day. See how you feel…can you do more? Great, add more time. Try 5-6 days a week and add in an extra 30 min twice a week. How does that feel? Are you tired / fatigued? Reduce the volume. Feeling good? Add more.

The more aerobic work you can do as a beginner, the better. Ride as much as your body can tolerate without pushing yourself over the edge.

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Just be aware that more time riding generally means lower intensity, particularly as you’re starting out. I would almost say you can’t go too easy initially. Also be mindful of your body and fit… it might take a while for your body to acclimate to sitting on the bike for lots of hours.

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I had no problem maintaining intensity and heart rate for 45 minutes. If dropping the intensity to maintain the heart rate is an indicator of having enough than I’m not there yet.

I would suggest a different perspective: try to build good habits. Initially, the idea of training 5 times a week, in the morning seemed ludicrous to me. Unrealistic. I’m not going to bed between 8:30 and 9:30 in order to be able to get up at 4:30-5:00. I have been doing that for over 5 years for most weeks of the year.

Endurance takes a while, years to train. Consistency is king.

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You need to reset your outlook, pushing at your limits will normally put your health in a hole , have negative outcomes on your fitness but also impact your resilience and probability in staying focused.

As other have pointed out, consistency and structure are king, 3 days @ 90 mins whatever, just get into good habits, process structure. It’s easier to add volume than reduce so consider a low volume plan for 3 months and take stock then.

Ideally you want to mix the z2 with some interval work, just doing z2 requires discipline and focus whilst it can also be extremely boring. And something else, it also requires your to cycle alone to keep yourself in the zone.

How are you measuring your z2 power, heart rate or RPE? For me the latter two are the metrics of choice.

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Yes. There is a temptation to push hard when you can. When I don’t the the balance right, I often see a consistent pattern of overachieving on Mondays (my first workout of the week) and then struggling or being unable to complete the hard workout on Fridays.

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I did 30 minutes a few times a week when I started doing any z2, but wasn’t very consistent. I bumped that to 4 or 5 days of 45 min each day, consistently, and started seeing some results. But, it wasn’t until I started consistently doing 1 and 1:15 z2 sessions 4 days a week that I finally hit my “So this is what base fitness feels like” level, after biking for 6 or 7 years. Of course, I also had progressed into the 7-10 hours on the bike per week range, also. Now, I’m doing usually (2) or (3) z2 at 1:15 to 1:30 per week, and (2) or (3) z3+ rides, and very satisfied with my fitness (just need to focus on staying upright for a while).

I don’t think there is a big health risk of messing with Z2-ish volume.

I think you can increase aggressively if motivation is high. What is the harm? If you get burned, take a few days off. No big deal.

Welcome to the TrainerRoad forum!!

Some really helpful points made here, especailly with regard to shifting your focus to doing what allows you to stay consistent.

I fully agree with @slowmart’s perspective :raised_hands: .

I’d suggest you try the Traditional or General Base Phase Training Plan, in TrainerRoad.

The Traditional Base Phase Training Plan is as the names suggests, more traditional base training with comparatively long and low intensity workouts which will build resilient aerobic fitness.

If you are more pressed for time (as most of us are), the General Base Phase Training Plan includes a greater variety of intensities and interval styles. This allows you to attain sufficient training stress to initiate adaptation in your limited training time.

As @slowmart says, some people find this helps with motivation.

You can learn more about our Base Phase Training Plans here: The Basics of Base Training

We’ll make sure that you are progressing at a rate that is optimal for you. Red Light Green Light is a new feature we released recently that uses AI to monitor and adjust your training to prevent long term fatigue.

You can learn more about it here: Red Light Green Light.

Letus know if you have any questions about getting started - we’d be more than happy to help.