Z2 and Intense Training - Mixing the best of both worlds, is it too big an ask?

Hi TR Team

I’m looking for some advice.

I appreciate how important Z2 endurance is and how it can improve base when time permits. My life just does not permit me to week on week churn out 10+ hours. I’m wondering if I can mix things up a bit and still get some good endurance gains from this.

SSBLV1 6 weeks
SSBLV2 6 weeks
SPBLV 8 weeks
SSBLV2 1 week
Climbing RR Speciality 8 weeks

The above has been worked out with plan builder but with being LV the midweek sessions are x2 with an hour intense.
I was planning on adding 1 hour of endurance to each of those sessions at 60-65%ftp to add a couple of hours to my TSS week in Z2

The weekend x 1 workout for 90 minutes will likely turn into an outdoor 4/5 hour Z2 with some efforts.

This is the crazy bit…
After each rest week I was thinking of adding (shoehorning) an additional 20 hour week of Z2 in before resuming with the more intense 3 week cycle of intense stuff the following weeks that would normally follow the rest week. This would be cyclical after every rest week up until about Climbing RR Speciality where intensity would be even higher so I’d lay off the volume a bit. I would take one day off on holiday from work every week that would require 20 hours Z2 to allow me to fit in a couple of big days on the saddle.

My thinking is that I’m making it more of a high volume training period but with LV workouts and only Z2 added to this.

Would a 20 hour Z2 week every 5 weeks carry any benefit for good base with my 2 extra hours bolted on to normal weeks?
Should I cut out a weeks intense training and do the Z2 every 4 weeks after rest week?

Sorry, I know there is a bit to chew here, I hope it makes sense.

What I am trying to do is get as much Z2 in (if it’s worthwhile) whilst maintaining the goals of the LV TR plan. There is no doubt the mitochondria benefits from Z2 are different to those gained from intense workouts, I’m striving for both! There is the obvious risk of being tired and not managing the intense stuff making non if it worthwhile!

Many thanks for taking the time to read, please tear this idea apart as you see fit.

Realistically if you can manage to get one 4/5 hour+ Z2 ride every 10 days or so that will elicit almost as many benefits as 5 x 2hr Z2 rides over the same period of time for instance.

In terms of the 20hr Z2 based week i’d say that is also a good idea if you can do it effectively ( fuelling effectivily, recovering sufficiently etc. )

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Hi @Charlie_Botterill

Thanks for not shooting the idea to bits! I appreciate your comment, very helpful.

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I’m kind of interested as well, thinking about sitting on the MTB on the trainer for 2-4 hours at a time in Z2 while I work from home.

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I can comfortably do “other things” whilst maintaining Z2 on the turbo. Duolingo is my go too :joy:

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No need to shoot it to bits!! The idea is a good one!! A 20hr week/6hr ride will overload the aerobic system and cause good adaptations.

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Thanks. Sorry, one more thing if you don’t mind @Charlie_Botterill? Do you think there would be any merit in my suggested 1 hour of Z2 added to my 2 x intense week workouts as well?

AS LONG AS YOU CAN DO YOUR HIGHER INTENSITY SESSION AS PLANNED!!

So long as your sessions don’t suffer you’ll only see benefits

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This is like a Training Camp every 5th/7th week, if I get you right?
Why not? But: If you had 5weeks of ssb 2 intensity, then one restweek and a trainingcamp week, you‘d probably need another week of recovery.
Or you could try 5 weeks of ssb2 intensity, then trainingcamp style, then recovery, but that could be challenging…

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Yes it would be every 5 weeks.

Good point. Not having done 20hrs Z2 week before I wasn’t sure how much is be drained going into the first intense week. It’s only Z2 after all, but yes, 20 loooong hrs of it.

@Charlie_Botterill Thanks buddy :+1:

I checked with Chad about this because this is akin to what many riders, especially low-volume ones, do when they have a week available or simply attend a mileage camp, just with greater consistency here in your scenario!

This sounds like something you should try for a couple/few months to see how you respond. It’s always easy to step back scale down those endurance rides, but those long rides are so good for so many reasons, maybe an entire week here and there will be too! Go for it! (Just remember to recover and stay SUPER on top of nutrition when doing so!) :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Superb @IvyAudrain, this is music to my ears, peace of mind that there may be merit in this.

Thank you so much for making the effort to check this out, really, thanks! :ok_hand:

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Happy to!!! Stoked that you’re mixing it up with your training, this is definitely the right time to try something new and see if it helps! Very little to lose by trying this out as long as you listen to your body. Hyped for you to go for this! :muscle: :boom:

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Thank you everybody for your guidance on this one, you’ve been extremely helpful as always on here. :+1:

I’m a firm believer of maintaining long Z2 throughout the year. Be mindful that even at only 65% you’re looking at an 850 TSS week off the back of a low volume plan, so as suggested above, possible second recovery week before your next block.

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Noted, cheers @stevepetts372

keep us updated how this goes. Would be interested to try something similar

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