Z2 out of reach: i tend to ride too hard outside


I have followed advice of so many of you: want to do my putdoor rides as much as possible in Z2.
Now, as I do not have a power meter, I try to follow the RPE recommendations and also watch HR (i know, it can vary a lot).

And despite riding flat next to a river for ages I am not able to get my HR down below 135 (my Z2 HR). In terms of RPE I dont think I am anywhere near hard efforts.

I am taking care about good rest, have not done a high intense effort now for almost 4 weeks (did mostly traditional base).

What do you think of that?

I just feel stupid being on a road racebike and go super slow.

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Had the same problem a while back training for a Granfondo.
If you ride slower and in your Z2 heartrate you will start to see your speed to go back up with the same heartrate in a few weeks. What do they always say, go slow look pro?

Maybe try a different cadence as well?
When i have to mash the pedals i don’t get my heartrate in z2 that easily.

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thx, you mean lower the cadence?

(1) buy a power meter. I don’t know whether you are strapped for cash, but something like a one side 4iiii power meter is enough and not that expensive.

(2) i get you, that is why i bought a power meter, see 1. but in all fairness, I don’t think riding on RPE is a really good on for zone 2, as anything feels super easy with fresh legs. For instance, when I did my last zone 2 ride, I was accidentally mashing 270 watt for a couple of minutes and I felt nothing in my legs because I was fresh, though my FTP is only 238.

Instead, zone 1-2 should feel like “doing nothing at all”. Like you are cruising on a city bike through city or something. I always compare it to walking: you are doing SOMETHING physically, but it feels like no impact.


In my case i needed to go to a higher cadence, so my leg muscles needed to work less hard.
For me it feels like i’m just rotating my legs with no strain on them whatever, then after 10 to min my heartrate goes to low Z2.

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Whereas as someone who has done year after year of Z1-2 long rides, I have to really focus and go fast to get my heart rate up to Z2.

Maybe try to breathe through nose only?

For me at low Z3 it becomes quite obvious that while i can continue with nose breathing, it has to be noticeably forceful. In middle of Z2, i can breathe through nose and don’t have to think about it.

But to be honest, i don’t know how personal this relation can be :man_shrugging:


Outdoors my HR is 10bpm higher than on the trainer in Z2. If your RPE is correct simply ignore HR.

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Many coaches prescribe Zone 2/Base rides by heart rate even if the athlete has a power meter. Use a power ceiling. If 135 is the top of your base zone HR, BTW a lot of people are right about the same in regard to HR, give yourself a HR ceiling of 3-5 beats below that. I would focus on being in the MIDDLE of the zone, not right at the top. Cadence 88-95, and just have an enjoyable ride. I live in an area with a ton of professional cyclists. It’s hilarious to see amateur cyclists riding past them thinking they are all awesome or something because they can’t fathom not hammering the pedals ever time they get on the bike. Just relax, cruz, and if you can’t hold a conversation without gasping you’re riding too hard.


Get a touring bike. Nothing solves a problem like new bike day and N+1.

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Agree, not a bad approach to ride using heart rate as a guide and then look at the power afterwards. For the high intensity stuff do it the other way round!

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