Z2 vs. recovery rides (Z1) during recovery/easy weeks?

In my “easy” weeks, the TR plans call for significantly reduced TSS by including Z2 rides for the entire week.

My approach to recovery weeks in the past was to take M-F to mostly focus on pure rest and recovery spins (Z1) and then ramp things back up on Saturday. I probably end up with about the same TSS for the week as the TR plans, but with the front of the week focused on easy/rest.

I’m sure I could handle the Z2 work in the TR plans during recovery weeks, but I always thought it was beneficial to get at least a few days of complete recovery in during a recovery week. Is this thinking wrong? Am I taking a step back with my fitness by going easier during these recovery weeks? If it matters, I’m 51 and do decent volume (over 10 hours per week).

I did a search and there is a lot of discussion on the difference between rest vs. recovery rides, but couldn’t find much on the science behind the benefits of Z2 vs. Z1 (or complete rest) during a recovery week.

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keep it to z1; recovery means full recovery, you just want to keep the blow flowing in your legs. Z2 isn’t “hard”, but too hard to really be resting.

Good luck


Thanks. So, any idea why TR plans call for Z2 endurance during the easy weeks? As far as I can see, TR does not ever recommend a true recovery ride.

My “easy” week at the end of SSBHV2 is 6 days of Z2 rides at 60-120 minutes each day. As you say, Z2 is pretty easy, but it’s not rest. The plans certainly decrease TSS dramatically, so that makes it a rest week overall I guess. Just wondering if there is any benefit to doing Z2 all week rather than a 4-5 days or actual rest (with recovery rides) and then back into it a few days quicker. I’ve always approached easy weeks with days off the bike mixed with Z1 recovery rides M-F, but I’m open to trying the Z2 approach if there is any science supporting it.

Duration and intensity.

You want good legs for your zone 5/6 workout? Short zone 1 session the day before.

You want to let your body adapt from a few weeks of training stress, without losing too much fitness? Go from 10hrs of training with some zone 4 or 5 workouts thrown in to 6 hours of zone 2. No, the workouts are not pure “recovery,” but the cumulative effect is a drastic reduction in stress to allow for compensation.

You want to get really fresh and possibly lose too much fitness? Go from 15 hours a week of training to 7 hours of nothing but zone 1.

You’re a pro and you just got finished with the Spring Classics or a Grand Tour? Go to the beach for a week and don’t bring your bike.


Nice summary, thank you!

that’s really interesting; i dont have science to support that and much more believe in a true z1 recovery week. good luck!