Why no zone 2 in plan? [Low Volume]

I am seeing everywhere that a larger portion of your training should be done in zone 2. Yet my TR workouts have none. This week for example I’m doing one sweet spot, one Vo2 max, and one threshold workout scheduled. Is it maybe because I’m on a lower volume plan?

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What discipline are you doing? I’m doing gravity which is vo2 threshold and sprint focused.

Also the whole Z2 thing is a pretty generalized and over simplified statement. There is no one thing that is the silver bullet for training.


3 hours is not enough to be your best in an endurance sport (or any sport really). If you’re only doing 3 hours a week… and using TR to get in shape (or maintain) intensity is the best use of your time. Those not interested in intensity are probably using that time riding outside for fun & a bit of exercise. As you add more volume you add zone 2 as you can’t add intensity indefinitely.


Adding to what Jolyzara said, if you need to stick to a low volume of hours, check out the LV Traditional Base or Polarized Base Plans instead the Sweet Spot Base one. You’ll get Z2 there.

If you have have more time available and want to do a Sweet Spot plan, but also have Endurance rides, do the Low Volume and add Endurance rides (or replace some of the rides in the plan with Endurance). For example, you could set your plan for Tues, Thurs, Sat and then do Z2 rides on Weds and Sunday, or you could replace one of the SSB rides with a Z2 one.

I’m in my 50s and I can’t handle the intensity of the SSB plan plus Endurance, but I have plenty of hours available to train, so I do the higher volume but lower overall intensity of the Traditional Base or Polarized Plans.


Because when they had long z2 on the plan, people skipped it :sweat_smile:


Your time is better spent in higher intensities.

Everybody talks about Zone 2. Nobody wants to put their butt on the trainer and ride slow for 3 hours.


#1 you aren’t riding enough to elicit adaptations from Z2. Unless you’re going to start doing rides longer than an hour.

#2 with so few hours of training you can easily recover from the load you’re placing on yourself. Z2 lets you get more volume without being fatigued too heavily. But you won’t have the training impact that doing the higher intensity rides when you’re just doing a short duration.

So, unless you’re going to go do 8-12 or more hours per week. You are going to maximize your time by hitting it hard with those workouts which TR has prescribed to you.

If you happened to have some extra time to train in a week. Then you would do well to throw in a Z2 ride to get some more volume for the week.


People really need to stop saying it is riding “slow”. Speed has nothing to do with it.

It is riding “steady”.

And I have no issue riding 3 hours on the trainer in Z2…. Knock out some episodes of whatever series I am watching and it is all good.

Tomorrow I’ll do the 3R Steady Endurance ride on Zwift….2.5 hours at ~175w.


Riding steady Z2 doesn’t sell workout based training software


Only because a majority of people are unable or unwilling to do it inside. I knock out 2.5-3.5 hour rides on the trainer every Sunday. But it’s taken a while to dial in my setup and approach to make it tolerable initially to being actually enjoyable now.

All that said, it’s likely more rare than common for people to do this, and that (along with their basic focus on time-crunched athletes) is part of what drives their training plan choices.

Training methodology and reality have to meet somewhere and the limited expectations for riders to knock out these rides indoors is important to recognize. Great for those that can take them outside (and I do the same in the summer), but not everyone can do that based on timing and weather.


That’s kind of funny because no matter what you’re doing on the trainer you are as slow as stationary :joy:

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Update…we al:most hit 50* so I dragged my butt outside and enjoyed th day. :sunglasses:


I’d kill for 50 right now. Ha.

Tomorrow is one of the warmest days in months. +3c. I’m already itching to get out there.

After that… Back to well below freezing again.


If you are on low volume and if you don’t have a long history of training, then at least initially a plan with more intensity will likely work better to increase your fitness. The impact of endurance/Z2 rides will be larger if you can invest more time riding. That’s because adaptations from endurance rides require you to spend a lot more time at Z2. Essentially, you need to do hard endurance rides. with hard I mean rides that require you more than a day to recover from. Otherwise you will plateau very quickly.


The short answer, the best bang for you buck(greatest adaptation in shortest time) in the 3-5 hours a week is high intensity efforts, ie sweet spot low volume. To get the same aerobic benefit you’d need to nearly double the weekly time doing purely Zone2 work. So the question really becomes what are your goals? Is it to get a high ROI on your training or to do what everyone else is talking about?

As you start adding more hours, adding in endurance/tempo rides allow you to train more while being easier on the body to absorb.

IMO, Zone 2/polarized is the “hot” thing because it’s a shiny new toy. This was popularized by Dr. Seiler when he observed highly trained endurance athletes. Dr. Seiler even admits his research is purely observational in nature and not causal in nature. If you want to go further down the rabbit hole of Z2/polarized training, TR (Nate and Amber) did a 1.5 hour deep dive on the research on polarized training which you can watch here. Polar Polarized Training Deep Dive and TrainerRoad’s Training Plans – Ask a Cycling Coach 299 - YouTube

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The way I’ve made this work in the past is to do the Low Volume plan, and throwing in as many longer Z2 rides as I can on the “off” days. Best case scenario this involves a 1 hour Z2 ride on Weds and swapping a 1.5-3 hour Z2 ride on either Friday or Sunday.

It has become more popular, recently yes. The training modality itself is more than 20 years old. I would venture that people have been doing polarized training even long before that (as you say, polarized was at least initially based on observational studies). Since then, there has also been interventional studies.

But I agree, that the last word is not said about the most efficient training intensity distribution and polarized may not be the most efficient modality (at least for all). It also seems to me, that the definition of polarized has changed a bit over the last years (especially when comparing to pyramidal training). I think that Seiler has changed tune on whether workouts between LT1 and LT2 are high intensity. Maybe polarized and pyramidal are not that different anyway?

Increased polarization is probably also a natural byproduct of high training volume.

I wish TR would try to go through the training intensity of their own MV and HV programs with the same rigor.


Increased polarization is probably also a natural byproduct of high training volume.

Yeah, this is what I meant by observational vs casual. Seiler observed this happened. He didn’t say this is THE training plan to do in order to be at a high level. One, by nature, has to get add in more lower intensity work as they increase volume b/c the body can only absorb so much. One thing i’ve seen from pros like Keegan, they spend A LOT of time in Tempo then add in higher intensity workouts towards the end of their workout.

The training modality itself is more than 20 years old.

That’s still young in the grand scheme of things.

I wish TR would try to go through the training intensity of their own MV and HV programs with the same rigor.

Meh, i don’t really mind it. They have finite resources and I would rather they focus on getting outdoor riding wrapped up before looking at MV, HV plans.