Zone 2 - Only 2 hours a day max

I’ve scanned the forum and cant seem to find an answer to my question.

Just how frequent can I do z2, given my longest rides are 90mins at the moment, and i can probably stretch to 120mins. With family, work etc i really cant go longer than this and double days aren’t possible either.

I have read a lot about how much z2 you can do and ensuring you have a days rest a week at least BUT, a lot of it assumes or even expects, that you are doing longer z2 rides.

Can I do this every day (5x) with my other two days for strength training.

In addition to that, at what point does 2hrs of z2 become insufficient for further adaptation. If i can hold 2hrs z2 5x a week, if there much point doing that again, and again.

I have separate thread documenting my progress, coming from weightlifting and trying to get better at endurance cycling, with zero endurance background. I plan to do z2 as much as possible until new year, probably moving to SSB or polarised depending on the answers to the above which would help a lot.

I managed 90 mins yesterday at 70%. Hat happens when i run out of progression with just 2hrs a day?

1 Like

It depends on a number of things. You might be able to absorb more volume up to 2 hours a day, you might not. You might have to work to get there over time. It depends on intensity too - if it’s just endurance, you’ll be able to do a lot more volume, but you probably want to at least some intensity as part of your weekly plan.

Look at it another way, some people can only tolerate a LV plan, some can only tolerate a MV plan, some can tolerate a HV plan, and some people train 20+ hours a week.

I think a good strategy would be to have 2-3 intensity workouts a week, and gradually add endurance volume on top of that as you’re able to absorb and recover. If you stop progressing and feel you’re able to absorb more, but don’t have the time, then you can start substituting volume for more intensity.

If you want to bias towards Z2 endurance, do polarized base / build plans with two intensity workouts a week.

But, you also need to make sure you don’t overtrain and don’t start failing workouts so make sure to monitor how you’re feeling and performing and if the volume / intensity combination feels right.


7x 2hr – 14 hours

Or if you say 5 days then 10 hours, you could do that, I reckon you would get very fit. Might not be the most productive use of time but I bet it would work.


I probably could have included more info but i didnt want to overload the original post.

The reason for the z2 focus is due to a non existent endurance background. I tried SSB for 2 weeks and it just felt like my legs blew up (like a gym pump). It didnt feel sustainable and i think due to such a strong anaerobic base i perhaps wasnt getting what i was supposed to from it.

So i am taking a step back to focus on z2 a little, get my legs used to pedalling for 1-2hrs continuously and then move to more intensity, whether it be 1 or 2 x plus z2 or SSB, or sprint work plus z2. I havent decided yet.

What i am not clear on is, if i only have 5x 2hrs MAX to train, and i get to a point where i can nail 70% across all of these. Is that the top of what i can do with lower intensity with that much time.

You say until the New Year and then on to SST.

You arent going to run out of progression/adaptations by then its only 2.5 weeks away. If you can do 10 hours a week Z2 and a bit of other stuff, if I understand your background youd still progress for months.

I would do a VO2max session every 10 - 14 days and as much Z2 as you can, assuming you can build up to and recover from this load.


Honest answer, as someone inexperienced, I’d just pick a Trainerroad plan for at least a cycle or two (i.e. more than two weeks), adhere to the plan, and rate workouts accordingly. It’ll adapt the difficulty of the different type of workouts to your strengths and weaknesses but it doesn’t happen immediately. If something’s way too easy, pick a workout alternate that’s a “breaktrhough” for the next time, it’ll help make plan adaptations happen more quickly.

If you really want to focus on as much endurance as possible - make it a polarized plan.


Given what you have said, maybe new year was optimistic lol. But i think i could manage most of those 5 sessions at 70%. Pushing past that makes some of those pushing in to tempo so maybe its not long just z2. I dont know, im new to all of this haha.

Thanks for the advice.

I read a lot on here that as a very anaerobic person, SSB isnt ideal and more z2 is better.

Im just trying to work out, how much z2 and when have i done as much as i can fit into my calendar/diary (given i only have 2 hrs for workouts).

I appreciate your advice on just picking a plan and sticking to it. Maybe i will just start that in the new year after a little more z2.

Number one factor is do what you want to do and what makes you happy. Just going out and riding a bunch of endurance is 100% fine if that’s what you want and gets you used to being on the bike longer.

With that said, I feel a little like a lot of people come in trying to be smarter than a system that has millions of data points. As someone who’s inexperienced, you will almost certainly have better results by adherence to a plan that fits your available time as long as you’re rating workouts appropriately. There are plans geared towards endurance, and on the other end geared towards VO2 and Anaerobic. AT will identify if you’re strong at Anaerobic and VO2 and make those workouts appropriately harder (if they’re even part of your plan) and will make endurance, tempo, sweet spot easier if you’re weaker there.


How close have you got to this so far?

10 hours at 70% is a big training load… a long slow burn… not sure Id recommend 70% maybe 60 - 65 to build up to it.

Remember to insert a VO2max or Supra-Threshold (just over threshold) session every 10 or so days, certainly not more than 14 days a part.

Or you could start a plan a sub out one or two of the intense days with 2hr Z2 sessions

1 Like

I agree with alot of what you say, makes sense.

The part quoted is where I have an issue with AT, it will do this but I would argue in most cases it shouldn’t depending on ones goals. For some given there goal it shouldnt increase them or even have them do them at all (referring to Anaerobic workouts, not VO2max)

1 Like

I agree - but I’d say just pick a plan without them then if it’s not part of your goal. My TR plan doesn’t have any Anaerobic, and the base plan I’m just completing didn’t even have any VO2. I’m training for Leadville so it’s Endurance, Sweet Spot, Threshold with some VO2 sprinkled in depending on the phase.

Some of the polarized plans are mostly Endurance, and add in a little bit of Threshold / VO2 for some intensity variation for example.

1 Like

True, I was going to mention a lot of plans dont have any or much Anaerobic interval in them, well maybe some of the Speciality plans.

1 Like

Also, to be clear, I am FULLY on board for experimentation to see what works best. But I think someone new to TR and new to structured training would be best served by following a plan for at least couple cycles first to let PL’s stabilize and get a better sense of what’s really working, and not get caught up thinking you can outsmart the system because some experienced riders have found something that works better for them.

Honeymoon phase is also where you see some of the most significant gains. Enjoy it!

1 Like

2 hours of z2 on the trainer is horrible for me. I dont think i can take 3 months of it to make it through the winter.


Futher to my own point its a training load of 493 TSS for 5 days, call it 500 (and then you have got your other stress from weight training which we cant really measure) if you add in some intensity, even one session a week or at minimum every 10-14 day I think you are going to be looking at an average of 600 TSS plus a week.

10h 60% is 360 TSS
10h 65% is 421 TSS
10h 70% is 493 TSS
KJs depends on your FTP.

Is this far in exceeding what you have been doing and can you absorb and recovery from this load. Thats what I would think about if going your own bespoke selfcoach training plan route.


Here’s another idea. Depending on where you are in the country - just get outside and do some longer rides to start getting volume and time on the bike. Have fun and enjoy yourself. Behind that, I might do Zwift and have some fun for a while. Then when I was really ready to get down to Training, come back to TR then.

Good point. At the moment im happy doing all z2 rides as they are mildly challenging and so different to what i am used to. Stick on a good movie, series or podcast and pedal away, changing up cadence when ever i feel like it. After a year of track sprinting focus its nice to do something different.

Since last weeks i have done 90 mins 60%, weights, 90mins 65%, 90 ins 65%, weights, 90 mins 70% and today i’ll do 90mins. I still feel ok.

Great point regarding enjoyment. Right now enjoy everything but i feel like randomly picking workouts might not be the best way to do things.

I am somewhat limited on anaerobic stuff as im on rollers so anything over vo2 max isnt doable unless i use my other trainer (Lemond and track bike) which doesnt measure power very well due to using virtual power.

1 Like

Rollers make it a little more interesting. Plus, hiding from these little monsters makes it worthwhile


In which case 4-5 days a week of 90-120 mins Z2 rides will do you a lot of good. You’ll progress for quite a while off the back of that and in a healthy way.