Percentage of your weekly hours to Z2 or other intensities?

So I’m assuming the intensity types included in each week will depend on phase of plan, for example I’m in block II of Trad Base LV so each week have 1 SS, 1 Tempo and 1 Endurance workout.
Once I am over the flu (managed to get through Pioneer -1 last night with the flu), I intend to give mid volume a try but even if I go back to low volume I would like to shoot for 6 hours a week or more this year (had some ~3 hour weeks, where I just completed my 3, 1-hour, assigned workouts).

I am wondering what percentage of my weekly hours I should aim to be Z2? For example, if I plan for a 7.5 hour week with a 1.5 hour SS workout, 1.5 hour Tempo workout and a 2.5 hour and 2 hour endurance workout, does ~65% of my weekly hours in endurance make sense and could I stick with that as I get into race season and my plan starts including threshold, VO2 and anaerobic work? In a 6 hour week, that looks like it would be roughly 4 hours of Z2 with 2 1 hour higher intensity workouts.

My goals for 2023 are more about increasing my durability and stamina than anything else, so want to maintain a higher consistent volume but am unsure how much should be at what intensity, generally speaking.

There’s not a rule, but here is mine from 2022. In 2021 and 2020, I did a lot more super easy zone1. I didn’t have any higher 5min power but with more zone 2 riding in 2022, I became much better at riding zone2! Lol shocker. I mean it felt very easy to ride in the middle of zone 2, not that it was hard in the prior years but more that I could do intervals and recover in zone 2 rather than zone 1 like before


Not gospel, but the current trend generally seems to aim for 80% Low and 20% Threshold or higher. has a great chart to help visualize this on a weekly basis. People will argue how to break this out, calculate it, etc., but the general rule if you follow the KISS methodology is “just be 80/20ish”.


In a 6 hour week, 80/20 wouldn’t even allow for 2 1-hour intensity workouts, so I’m guessing that ratio works better for cyclists that are higher volume than me, seems like it wouldn’t start working until a minimum of 10 hours per week but I get the idea, instead of doing 1.5 hour intensity workouts, I should stick to 1 hour and maximize the duration of my endurance rides as much as my fitness allows, 4 hours or more per week, with intensity limited to 2, 1 hour workouts per week.

Or does the fact that I am so low volume and have less than a year of structured training in my legs change that?

I guess the question is… when doing 6 hours a week, is the 80-20 “observation” still the most optimal way to train?

Training like a pro, where it is their job & doing 25-30 hour weeks is a different world than a working 40+ hours a week and biking on the side. Will one hour of intensity a week (of 5) make you faster? Absolutely! Will it make you the fastest with the time you have? Probably not.

What are your goals this year?

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Well, as I mentioned, people will argue this, but in my book, those two 1 hour workouts aren’t all at intensity. That’s why I mentioned the chart. They’re probably more like 50% intensity, so the other 50% isn’t

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The 80 / 20 was about sessions not heart rate or power distribution. If doing 5 sessions a week, 4 would be easy and one hard.

There’s a discussion on this with Seiler in last couple of years when a new paper said the best trained pyramidal. Sailer’s response was that the distribution of heart rate will look more pyramidal even if following 80/20 sessions. The heart rate distribution more like 90/5/5 across the three zones of polarised.


Increased durability to respond to repeated attacks and efforts like climbs and sustained long efforts. My fitness felt great for road racing this year, the only times I was caught out were finish climbs, sprints or repeated attacks that split up the pack. For XCO, gravel and CX it just felt like my overall pace needed to be higher so better performance in the area of sweet spot 20-30 min intervals with short breaks that replicate descents.

In numbers would like to see an additional 12% in FTP (217 to 243, went from 168 to 217 this year, 243 at my present weight would put me at 4.3w/kg but many seem to imply until you have a >300w FTP you will always be vulnerable on the flats), 30 minute, 1 hour and 2 hour power increases of ~18%, which may not make sense given my FTP goal of only 12% lol.

Thats a good point but makes it hard to track, as an example Round Bald is only 70% Sweet Spot intensity.

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I spend about 65% of my time in zone 2 (power), although if you look at heart rate a good deal of that is in Z3. I am one of these weird people that has higher heart rate zones than power zones. That is doing Z2 work with the odd Z4 effort or scheduled Low Volume VO2max workout inserted at the end of a Z2 ride.

My time in Z1 is padded by a lot of dog walking, where my heart rate is a rock bottom though. Without it it looks like this:

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You’re talking like the intensity days are considered 100% intensity, which I think is incorrect. For example, if you rode 1 hour 5 days per week and on one day you do a one hour workout with 4x5 mins at vo2, then you’re not doing 80/20, you’re doing about 93/7 since it’s 20mins of intensity out of 300mins total.

However, you do want some days of pure zone 1/zone 2 to recover from days with hard riding.

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Dylan made a cool graphic illustrating two extremes of 80/20 distribution by time in zone

Seiler then uses that same DJ graphic in one of his latest videos to explain why he definitely meant for 80/20 to be by sessions not TiZ. Easy days and sessions are to avoid causing autonomic stress and undue fatigue.


IMO, that graphic is consistent with TIZ and not by session. 80/20 by session would be 4 Z2 and 1 Threshold+. This graphic shows that you get most of your Z2/1 in specific sessions, but to get to 80, you then need to count the TIZ from the mixed sessions (if you’re going to do 5 or 6 workouts and have 2 include intensity).

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Here’s my time in zone distribution from 2022. This includes polarized base and build, sweet spot base, sustained power build, century specialty, and an off-season of almost exclusively endurance but some sprints.

For the year I’m closer to 65% Z1-2 and 35% Z3-7. I tend to respond better to longer Z2 rides than increasing intensity to, say, four days per week. As a time crunched athlete, though, consistently getting those long rides in each week is challenging, and my fitness gains are limited by how little sleep I get.



I don’t aim for a definite zone split but I am mindful of not doing everything intense and FWIW this is the result for last year TIZs:


So is the consensus that I should target TIZ of 80/20 rather than calling a whole workouts time as its labeled intensity?

For example this week I did: Townsend -1, Glassy -1, Pioneer -1 and Broken Hand. ~7 hours/ 420 mins
Labeling Townsend -1 and Broken hand as Z2 in their entirety would be 270 mins, would only give me 64% Z2 for the week.
If looking at all the minutes from all 4 workouts spent in Z2 it would be 243 mins or 57%, 24% of all the workout time being Z1, 17% in Z3 and 2% in Z4.

If I added my Z1 time in with Z2, it would give me about 81% but that Z1 warmup, recovery or cool down time isn’t really achieving the adaptations that Z2 provides.

Am I understanding things right? If so what could or should I do to improve? Achieving 80% TIZ in Z2 seems like it would be a challenge, it’s not the Z3 and Z4 that throws it off but the Z1, included in every workout.

Right… but if you do 5 rides a week is only one day intensity enough to be good? If doing minimal volume probably not. Not to mention why ignore two days of complete rest?

Is there a free tool that can connect to your data to provide your zone breakdown?

I tried the site at the bottom of some of the screenshots and it seems to be paid. is free. You can pay if you want to support the website but you can just close the pop up about paying.

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Year over year (2019 → 2022) intensity distribution change:

2019 has 3 months SSBHV, other have full year info. Haven’t planned specifically for 80/20, it has been natural shift not to overreach and be more consistent. I am quite happy with last year, will try to keep this distribution.