I’ve been cycling for several years but just got my first power meter about 8 weeks ago, so am in the process of learning what different power levels feel like, and trying to figure out how to use power in my workouts.
The Andy Coggan method puts my zone 2 (in a 5 zone model) spanning from 112W to 151W. After a several 3-4 hour rides holding at various levels in that zone, that range seems very “wide” to me. More specifically, the session RPE for me for a 3-4 hour ride can be dramatically different if I try to hold in the range of 112-130 watts as opposed to holding in the range 130-150. 3 hours in the former range feels like nothing (maybe session RPE 4-5 out of 10), but 3 hours in the latter feels more like what I would consider a long tempo ride (session RPE between 7 and 8 out of 10) and takes me about 2 days to fully recover from.
The big difference I’ve experienced in session RPE between one part of zone 2 and another makes me think that the training effects of those two different places in zone 2 might be quite different for me. So I guess I’m wondering whether this is something others have experienced – i.e. big differences in session RPE for rides of equal duration at different rangles within zone 2 (according to the Coggan method or other widely-used methods)?
Another possibility is that my experience suggests that the Coggan calculation doesn’t really fit my actual zone 2. Maybe my zone 2 tops out at about 130w, and once I’m above that, I’m in zone 3? (In case it matters…all this is based on an FTP of 200w).