Wonders of Zone 2?

Hello experienced and TrainerRoad users, although im not a TR, I stumbled upon here due to my post in reddit not having that much discussion and there’s one guy who helped me atleast understand and told me that I should ask for help here in TR as users here are more advanced, especially in this kind of topic.

TL:DR I need help to understand how much improvement I gained just within 2 months, because I cant believe it, previous effort for speed improved a lot whenever I go.

I want to seek help from you guys to analyze estimate how much improvement im seeing here in my data. Im surprised and really surprised. If also possible, can we have an estimation of improvement, even a rough one as im sure im not looking at 5-10 ftp gains here.

Let’s start how I got into this, I broke my clavicle on May 1, 2023 and had to go into surgery for my clavicle to be fixated with metal plate, it was done a month later. I have not ridden my bike completely for 2 months, and I was only able to ride my bike around july when the doctor finally gave me a go signal that I can ride again. After what happened to me, I got fat, lost a lot of fitness, but that just gave me the motivation to start over again and become even better than I was. I was already aware of Zone 2 training, although its only this time I did it seriously. When im going out for a zone 2 ride, I would only do it in consecutive duration, like I would ride hour/s of zone 2 without going up to zone 3+. Back then, when im going for endurance training, I cant contain myself to ride zone 2 and I would go for zone 3 or even lactate threshold just to give myself a sensation im doing hard, I just really love the feelings of it. I would say im not doing that much of structured planned, but im getting into it a bit by bit, im not doing multiple high intensity a week anymore(Was so stupid back then). What im doing now im sticking to 1 session of zone 4+ and the rest will just be in zone 2.

Since I dont have an access to power meter and such, I did watch a lot of interviews and podcasts of Iñigo San Millán just to have an understanding how to atleast have a grasp on the zone 2 when you dont have an access to lab tests or power meter. When I do zone 2, I make sure im not forcing my muscles to do effort where it feels like im activating those fast-twitch fibers and im limiting myself to just breath through the nose and not the point im gasping for air to use my mouth, just enough to sustain the effort.

Here are some data for you guys to analyze to atleast visualize the difference

40km segment: (Closed loop every morning, around 800m going north and 800m going south)
•December 12, 2022
1:20:16 (29.9kph)

•February 2, 2023 (Most mileage and duration done in a month of my 2023)
1:18:30 (30.6kph)

•October 28, 2023
1:20:18 (29.9kph)

•November 16, 2023 (most negatively affected by U-turn speed of around 25-28kph for each turn)
1:14:25 (32.3)

among the 4 efforts above, in terms of RPE the latest is even the lowest as im afraid of going up into zone 3, when it should be my zone 2 session, im avoiding my old mistake anymore.

10km segments of those 40km:
October 28, 2023:
Range of 27-29 kph from multiple 10km segments
Range of 20minutes to 22minutes🕞 from multiple fragmented 10km segments

November 16, 2023:
Range of 31-33 kph from multiple 10km segments
Range of 18minutes to 19minutes🕞 from multiple fragmented 10km segments

3.61km 167Elevation 4.6% segment:
•August 19, 2023 (Body feels shit for attempting to climb again for the first time since accident)
31:22 (6.9kph)

•September 11, 2023 (Getting back there)
22:30 (9.6kph)

•September 26, 2023 (a bit more)
17:13 (12.9kph)

OLD PR is around 14mins

•October 8, 2023 - (Was able to beat my old PR prior to accident)
13:33 (16.0kph)

•November 6, 2023
12:37 (17.2kph)

•November 6, 2023
12:33 (17.3kph)

All attempts above were done on my best days and were done to the best as I can(Always nauseous on each attempt🤢), doing the same routine for each attempt to track gradual improvement and to minimize the interference to each results.

October 8 attempt was an indication of regained fitness and I was better than before. So improvements after that was only gained and definitely not a regained anymore as I was not even aggressive on training my lactate threshold than I used to. Yes, I did two attempts on Nov 6, 2023 as I cant comprehend how was my body able to climb faster than before, I just couldnt believe it so I did try again and even broke the first attempt, I was so happy that time.

To relate my climb segment to 40km segment, Im confident that I could surpass the latest PR on climb segment as my fitness back on November 6 attempts on climb is just almost the same with my attempt on October 28, 2023 on 40km segment where im a lot better than I was on that 40km segment attempt. Look at the data below

40km segment:
•October 28, 2023
1:20:18 (29.9kph)

3.61km 167Elevation 4.6% segment:
•November 6, 2023
12:37 (17.2kph)

•November 6, 2023
12:33 (17.3kph)

After these gains within just 2 months, im now more motivated to ride in zone 2 even it is so boring, and mentally tiring. Im planning to ride far and aggressive by december, so until the end of november I will focus on my base and after that I will be more building top-end power again more frequently and lessen endurance a bit. Im planning to have the best 7-10 minutes power just to smash that segment and atleast have 9-10 minutes PR, maybe I can do 8minutes? as I have not even built my top-end power as of now, that could be leaving me broad room to improve.

Another thing to share with you guys, I was 73.4kgs on june (recovering from surgery), 70.5kgs on october. Now, I currently weigh 67.3kgs. When I look into the mirror, im not looking so slim or whatever as im just 166cm but the difference is massive, I look at lot leaner than before, lost fats are so noticeable, I was not even restricting my calories.

Im also doing strength training now, doctor advised lifting some weights to avoid muscle atrophy(upper body was so much weaker for not being able to load stress on my body for more than a month), and to improve bone density helping me minimize the chance of fracture again in the future.

This is my second time sharing something personal on internet(First was in reddit😄). What pushed me to do this is to inspire some other cyclists out there struggling with their fitness, weight, and trying to break through their fitness

I’ll be honest and say I definitely didn’t read all of that. Comparing average speeds over these segments is very… Flawed. There are so many variables that can affect that other than your fitness.


I couldn’t read and digest all of that either.

Why not just test your FTP every 4-6 weeks? And/or analyze your power duration curve and other metrics in WKO5 or Intervals.icu?

There is nothing magical about “zone 2”. It’s endurance paced riding. Cyclists have been doing it forever.

The people that often come to some kind of zone 2 “revelation” are usually those that were smashing it every ride, always training their glycolytic side, and always tired. They slow down, start piling on the easy miles, they are no longer tired, start making PRs left and right, and improve their endurance in the process.


I used to train rather like you do, and my z2 rides were always too hard, so when it came to the hard stuff I was always tired ,so didn’t achieve the benefit.
Now you know that and are keeping to your z 2, that all sounds good and you seem to be enjoying your training.

But to get an accurate guide to your fitness improvement (or not) you could do a FTP test , as AJ mentions . You don’t mention whether you have an indoor trainer with power.
I assume most of your training is done outside.
Personally ,I prefer to do mine indoors ,partly because of the bad weather here, and partly because I can concentrate better, and I use TR .
The other thing to note is, as you get fitter, your zones will change , so another reason to do your regular FTP tests, unpleasant as they are.
Well done for your progress, and hope you continue to enjoy your cycling :smile:

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