On merits of time in tempo zone

My weekend endurance rides are usually limited to 2-3 hours. Such length allows me be a productive family member, son, husband, father of 4. About 30% of total duration is usually spent in low zone 3.

My main objective is to develop muscular endurance for a 7-hour cycling marathon (Maratona dles Dolomites). My secondary objective is general aerobic endurance to further build FTP.

Early morning rides like these leave me slightly tired but not overly fatigued. I can usually do all-day errands with only a short afternoon nap.

Taking all of this into account, should I do more or less time in tempo zone? Higher or lower intensity? How do you structure your endurance rides?

What do your other rides look like during the week?

I have finished the SPB LV, and now starting Century specialty…

Assuming you’re doing LV specialty, is your outdoor ride replacing the Saturday workout, or in addition to it?

If it’s in addition, then I’d keep things mostly in Z2 and let the Saturday sweetspot session do the work.

If it’s replacing the Saturday ride, I’d stick some long tempo / sweetspot intervals in there. One of my favourite sessions is what I call “chain tight” rides. You find a flat course with as few interruptions as possible and just try to keep up a constant pressure on the pedals around Z3, whatever the terrain or wind. No coasting or soft-pedalling - if the road goes downhill or you get a tailwind, you put it in a high gear and keep churning out the watts. For me these are the perfect training for the long climbs you’ll get in the Maratona, where you just have to keep turning the legs or else stop.

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Thanks for the advice. Outdoor Z2 rides are in addition to the TR plan.