Time In Zone recomendations

Hello Forum,

Looking for some recommendations for how much time in zone you should realistically expect for each zone?

Z4? Z5? Z6?

Your question is a bit too generic and vague. Guess the answer hence can only be “it depends”. :man_shrugging:

Perhaps you want to tell us a bit more about your goals, past training, training phase, strengths, weaknesses and so on.

To Give the Generic response- Hunter Allen and Andrew Coggan

Level 4 - sub Threshold- Sweetspot - 88-94% of FTP So that you can do 20-30min intervals with 5 min recovery in between repeat 3 times with a warm up and cooldown.

Level 4- Threshold Slightly shorter intervals 10- 20 min at 96-99% FTP x2 or x3 depending on what your training has been.

Level 5 - is VO2 Intervals. 120% of FTP. These depend on previous training. Start with 30 seconds at 120% - 30 seconds recovery, Repeat 14 times- then have 6 minute Recovery, Then you can repeat another X2.

Level 5 - Extend the intervals 1 minute at 120% 1 minute recovery repeat X6 - then have 6 minute recovery, repeat X2

You then can extend the intervals, The longer the interval, the same length of recovery.
The longest i would recommend is 3 minute at 120% of FTP these are tough.

Level 6- Anaerobic Capacity efforts - No more than 2 minute duration intervals.

8 x 2min at 135% of FTP with 2-3 min recovery
8x 1 min at 145% of FTP 3 min recovery

These are Generic workouts you need to do at least 10 minute warm up and 5 minute cooldown.


Yeah you’re right, it was a bit vague :joy:

Currently, I train about 20-22 hours a week 90% of which are on the bike. Next year I’ll be turning “professional” and racing over in France.

It sounds a bit odd someone who trains as much as I do asking about this but I just wanted to get a general feel for what everyone else does as I’m still relatively new to the sport.

My strengths are anything over 5minutes and anything under 3

Would have a look at the pro/elite training thread - Pro/Elite training

Lots to wade through but some good analysis of what pros are doing. Which is pretty different to what most of us are doing, for the simple reason that if you only have 8-10 hours/week to train then you need (and can recover from) a fair bit more intensity to provide a sufficient training stimulus than if you have >20 hours/week to train.

And at the risk of stating the obvious you should be getting a coach with experience of training people on that kind of volume! Or at least joining a club or development squad with people with similar objectives and available training time.

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Thanks for the clarification and also kudos to you.

Unfortunately, I cannot be of much help. All my experiences and knowledge are based on training 10 to 13 hours per week. Doing that I follow the stock TrainerRoad plans and add endurance hours as I seem fit. Worked great so far.

My zone summary for the bike and this year looks as follows:

The time was accumulated via 218 training sessions. As i don’t ride much outdoors, pretty much all done on the turbo.

Anyway, back to the unfortunately part, I am not too sure whether my approach would also work for you. Guess with 20+ weekly hours on the bike you do want to train differently.

As @cartsman has suggested, you might want to look into the elite training thread. Though I am not too sure there is much in there that you don’t already know. Perhaps consult a coach? Turning pro should allow for that, right?

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For about 19.5 - 20 hours…

15 hours - Zone 2
2.25 hours - Sweet-spot or Tempo
2.25 hours - Threshold
The rest > Threshold

Making it simple… this would be a build week (heavy build), early build less threshold more SST… a base week the same but next to no threshold make it sweet-spot instead but keep 24 - 30 minutes greater than threshold.

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Are we talking time in zone per workout or over the course of, say, a week or a training block?

I would expect the latter to change throughout the season as you move through a base/build/specialty cycle.
For workouts, the Allen/Coggan recommendations are a good starting point, but generally speaking you’re going to start at the lower end of the TiZ reccomendations, and that’s typically spread out over shorter work periods and/or longer recoveries. That will progress over the course of a training block- for example, SSB starts you off with 5x10min with 5 minute recoveries and builds to 4x20 or 3x30 with a similar amount of recovery. Once you get to a certain point you’ll either move to training another system, or reassess FTP and start the whole process again at a higher power output.

From memory there’s a couple of threads that discuss v02 and sweetspot progression in particular which are a little more detailed, but IMO this is where a coach can come in really handy.

More or less what your coach tells you because you are not me, and I am not you. Maybe even no zones.

85%+ should be z1&2, maybe 10% in z3 and the rest in 4, 5 or 6.

Focus on 1-2 interval sessions a week. Depends on what time of year but in winter maybe some extended tempo work or SS. So perhaps a 3x30’ low z3 or 6x10’ SS. The rest should just be endurance rides. Maybe you can get away with 3 sessions if it’s below threshold. But if doing Z4&5 work I’d keep it to 2 max.

Z2 is so underrated in terms of bang for your buck if you have time to do 20+hrs of it a week.

Time in zone is a metric worth looking at, but don’t get too caught up in metrics. Ask yourself what you want to work on. Then plan suitable workouts, and apply progressive overload in those workouts over a few months. In between those workouts just focus on “recovering” with long chilled rides. They shouldn’t tax you in the same way if you eat and sleep enough.

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Excellent answer :smiley:

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