Phoenix and tempo rides

I’ve just done Phoenix which is 90min tempo/sweetspot followed by a brick run. During the workout Chad mention the benefits of zone 3 Tempo rides which seems contradictory to everything we hear about Tempo training (it’s the grey zone, zone of little return, junk miles etc)
I felt like a got a lot out of the workout, particularly muscle endurance, that none stop power that chips away at your legs during a TT.
So is zone 3 good as long as you don’t just do zone 3?

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Not a coach but, hell yeah! I think tempo riding is amazing to bump up the TSS/CTL when appropriate. Training is a continuum. No one does one thing and sits on it. You have to train al three systems and if not overdone tempo rides are a part of training I think many new to training seem to be afraid of. It’s easy to do overdo it and get too much stress which can sabotage future workouts. i think this is one of the main reasons some shy away.

On occasion I ride with some really good pro riders and they seem to do quite a bit of tempo as the season approaches. Of coarse they do a lot of everything so take that with a grain of salt. And they never just rode tempo. It was like z2 for a while then some sort of intervals mixed in with tempo, then more tempo etc…I was hanging on in the z2 stuff!:wink:


There’s a guy over on slowtwitch that ONLY does Tempo and Endurance rides and his TT times are blazing fast.

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I love my Tempo workouts. I use them as low cadence climbing practise. My favourite is Holt Hill +1


Doing a lot of Z3 turned this rider into a pro…

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Those are very imprecise, misunderstood, and dated endurance concepts. I would forget about them and get the most out of what the community currently knows about structured training, including Tempo rides. You mentioned “brick run” so I assume you’re a triathlete. Even more so than road and mtb cyclists (who tend to gravitate toward “upper tempo”/sweet spot), tempo is event-specific for many triathlon distances. Tempo is also popular with pros preparing for stage racing. In my opinion this causes needless confusion with amateurs training for shorter (usually single day) racing. The want to train like the pros literally instead of conceptually.

Yes. As a triathlete you’ll be riding a lot of Zone 3. Once you’re in a properly designed structured program (or better yet, and proper training strategy), you’ll work tempo like anything else.

The main idea is that tempo (zone 3) is going to allow you to elongate the interval, as well as build TSS (as @Landis mentioned) and therefore CTL. You build FTP in two ways: one way is to progressively go for more power; the other way (less talked about) is to go at same power for progressively longer intervals. You can apply the more vs. long concept to Zone 3, SS, Zone 4, and even lower Zone 5 workouts.

Seems like you’re following a TR plan, and that’s perfect. You’ll get all that “progressively building” goodness baked in. You’ll see when @chad suggests moving “more” and when he suggests moving out.

It’s Sunday, as I write this, so time to go do some big blocks of Tempo.



Thanks for the input, I’m following the Olympic tri plan and feel like I’m making really good progress so I’ve not problems following whatever the plan throws at me, even if it is 90 minutes of sweetspot on a Sunday morning :sob:.
Those long sessions feel really productive so it was just playing on my mind why zone 3 much maligned.