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.


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.

Post revival!!

I have started to include Tempo rides into my week. Today I done Phoenix -2, week before I done Beech +1 I quite enjoyed the tempo workouts, never really doing them before. I have thought about now swapping my z2 workouts for tempo ones.

After some research it seems you get a lot more benefit from tempo, as long as you dont bury yourself with TSS looking at this chart:

Screenshot 2021-02-09 at 18.03.55

It seems tempo is pretty awesome, especially with increasing muscle glycogen stores. Question is should I be replacing my Z2 rides with Z3? This is my current and next week plan, I am currently in base 2 using plan builder.

Looking at that plan, there is no way that I would replace the long Z2 with tempo riding. You’re already doing 4 days of SST/Threshold interval work. You’re ignoring the fact that your body needs recovery from the SST and threshold work in order to adapt. Replacing Z2 with Z3 is a sure-fire way to injure yourself, burnout, or both.


Honestly I would add more Z2 in your plan, maybe on Sunday since you’ll probably be fatigued after those two long SS workouts.

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Wednesday and Sundays are complete rest days for me.

I sometimes reduce the 2hr rides, depending on how I am feeling but always aim to get at least an hour in. Or completely replace them with a z2 or z3 ride.

This is is 100% an experiment for me (adding tempo in), I have removed the 2hr rides for 90min ones (simply due to time constrains) - I try to use whoop to manage my recovery too, so far feeling super strong, with the work outs and the 2 rest days.

Tempo should be a climb down from Sweetspot rather than a climb up from endurance.

Also, your 3 day block looks a bit jumbled. Back to back SS is usually best to put the hardest session first. Then you’ve got a threshold workout at the end of that 3 days. I can’t see that being very productive. A longer z2 on that Saturday would benefit more.

this is what the plan gave me…I moved the hour one to Saturday to have more time at the weekend with the wife. Just deleted a week…and resest my plan. this is what it chucked out.

Sorry I assumed it was Sunday, I meant the last day of your three day block. Although, as sam.fuller1 said, it’s not ideal to have an high SS/Threshold workout after two workouts like those. But, since you say don’t have much time on Saturday, you could do the tempo one on that day and keep the endurance one on Wednesday.

As mentioned above, this is what the plan chucked out. Taking the screen shot above.

  • Monday - Spencer +2
  • Tuesday - Pettit
  • Wednesday - rest
  • Thursday - Lamarck
  • Friday - Leconte
  • Saturday - Wright Peak -1
  • Sunday - rest

I swap Thursday for Saturday due to timings. I guess it’s best just to keep Tuesdays to z2

In my opinion that three day block is still way too hard and honestly I don’t understand why the plan gives it. I mean, that’s week 5 of SSB 2 MV and if you want to follow it as it is apart from resting on Sunday, you can just move up every workout by one day. So it would be:

  • Monday - Spencer +2
  • Tuesday - Pettit
  • Wednesday - Lamarck
  • Thursday - rest
  • Friday - Leconte
  • Saturday - Wright Peak -1
  • Sunday - rest

Not a bad idea that, i have been training again since october, and have completed many weeks like that. But i have been climbing back to my 2020 best FTP and now i have surpassed that.

ill give your suggest a go next week, and see how i get on.

And this is the problem with plan builder. The plan it’s spit out for you isn’t appropriate, but you likely just moved workouts around by time instead of intensity.

A better framework would be:

Wright Peak

Or the other suggestion which is the baseline schedule for SSB2MV slid one day left (which I did for like two years).

And there is no way you should substitute tempo for Pettit.