Too much Zone 1 in my outdoor rides - Tips?

I’ve been training myself to not look at my Garmin outdoors and go by feel for my Outdoor Endurance Rides (I get over-obsessed looking at the screen to a dangerous level)…so I only mostly notice this after the ride

So I am noticing a bit too much Zone 1 in my LSD endurance rides outdoors. I am a naturally slow moving person in general and I guess I zone out or look at scenery or daydream a bit, I find myself going way too slow to make good use of my training time.

I feel like I can tell better when I’m going too fast…but when I go too slow I can’t really feel it / notice it well yet.

Other than just staying focused the entire time / more experience, anyone have this issue? Any tips on how you stay steadier in your zone without looking at your bike computer?


The only way is going to be to look at your zone and speed up a bit.

I do the same but on the other end. My zone 2 is always 2.8-3.2. I have a hard time going slow, so it’s something I pay attention to for the benefit of being faster later.

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Try setting a HR target instead of power. HR varies a lot less over the course of the ride, so you don’t have to look at the head unit as often to see where you are.


A few questions…. Are you riding in a hilly area? (If so that often inflates the “Zone 1” time). How long of a ride and what % are we talking here? Why do you think it is a problem?

Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it. Unless you are noodling around I think RPE is a perfectly acceptable form to interpret intensity of regular training rides. And even if you are on a beach cruiser enjoying the view is that a bad thing? Make you hard workout hard, easy ride easy!


From what is the Z1 assessment coming from, HR or Power or both?

To which I will add:

PPP: “Time-in-zone” doesn’t really mean very much when applied to power data.

Try setting a power or HR minimum alarm on your head until to snap your attention back. Won’t have to look at it all the time, it will just remind you to work a little harder


maybe, you are doing it properly though? riding on the road isn’t like the trainer.

What do you mean by PPP?

I wouldn’t worry about it. If it had been too much Z3-7 when you supposed to be recovering its a bit that would be a bit of a concern, it wouldn’t allow adaptations to take place properly but over recovering in a Z1/2 ride, and letting those adaptations take place, less so.


Pithy Power Proverb

Ah, well even so the question was aimed at OP. How are they determining too much time in Z1? I made no comment on the validity of either method. We also do t know what they mean by too much, 10%, 20%, more?

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Where, oh where, do such ideas originate?

If you go a bit too hard it might leave you more fatigued, and if you go a lot too hard (e.g., substituting a sprint workout for an endurance ride) it might induce different adaptations entirely, but it won’t alter/prevent the response to lower intensity exercise.

Even in the extreme - i.e., comparing the effects of combined aerobic and resistance training - it hasn’t been possible to really prove an “interference effect” (vs. diminished improvement due to a fatigue-induced reduction in training intensity).


it’s pretty hilly but not many areas are steep. I know when i’m going downhill to pick up the pace…just I sometimes lose focus on flats when i’m going at a nice pace and enjoying the scenery.

so say I’m trying to ride 170-210 watts or so for my endurance rides…they are 90min to 4 hours (average is ~2.25 hours).

i sometimes look back and i’m at 150-165 for a 5-10 min here and there for no reason other than spacing out. I feel like my rides would just be more effective staying higher and I would enjoy everything just as much (or more if I can see more and go farther).

yeah you’re right thought…not stressing it overall. just hoping to improve that and make the most of my time spent.


it’s not overly excessive but probably around 15%…just for no reason though. I don’t think cutting that in half will add to my overall fatigue

The horror. I’d set an alarm on your head unit to ensure you eliminate any and all of this non-productive crap like “nice” and “scenery”. It’ll be worth it when you lock down 7th place instead of 19th at your local Omnium next year.


Interesting; I suppose when you think about some of the great cyclists who were training hard all the time, their body must have been adapting still to some degree despite the fatigue. It wasn’t quite optimal but they were still improving. But I still dont think the OP should be too concerned about going too easy on an easy session :wink:

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PPP: they are called levels and not zones for a reason.

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You can’t reach your full potential as an endurance athlete without training while fatigued at least part (if not much) of the time.


To bring this back to the OPs question, for me one part of the solution was: pedal through corners. (As long as it is safely possible of course). I used to coast a lot going up to corners, adding to my Z1 pile. (Obviously that’s not always possible, but in my area and on farm roads it is). Doing that, my Zone distribution at least more or less resembles what my workout was aiming at. Cheers!

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