Zone 3 ride benefits

Is there any benefit to riding in zone 3 (tempo)?

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There are benefits to training in ANY zone.


Looking at the chart in this link, you can see the general benefits of training time in each training zone.

Your question alludes the the considerations of the time spent in any zone and the impact on the body, that leads to fatigue and potential impact on subsequent training.

The whole ‘gray zone’ avoidance is more about spending time more wisely vs something that is detrimental or not rewarding. The “make hard ridsr hard, easy rides easy” idea of what is rewarding and not overly demanding.

It’s quite a can of worms, and the above is not the most complete or final word, but it gets to the basic point that all training can be beneficial. The challenge is blending the options to best suit a rider and their needs.


Kind of related but maybe not…as far as I know, TR is the only group that gives Sweet Spot it’s own zone. A bunch of the other coaches I’ve seen/heard discuss the Sweet Spot zone say it is a mix of zone 3 and 4 within the Coggan’s levels/zones. Depends on who you ask I suppose. I don’t recall a lot of tempo work in the TR plans I’ve done based on their definition of it.

Edit: I forgot the term “Coggan’s levels/zones” in my original post of the mix between zone 3 and 4.

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Well, Frank Overton (of FasCat coaching and the linked info above) is a very active user of Sweet Spot in his training prescriptions. He was one of the pioneers of SST in the first place, and still uses it heavily. So they are true SS Zone users as well.

The specific percentages tend to vary from coach to coach, but SS is usually the blurred line between Z3 (Tempo) and Z4 (Threshold) in the 7 Zone Coggan model (actually Levels… but that’s a different semantics discussion :wink: ).



Read this article:

or this one What is a Tempo Bike Ride: Cycling Tempo Workout Plans | EVOQ.BIKE for tips on when and how often, or this one 3 Indoor Cycling Workouts for the Winter | TrainingPeaks


I thought this topic was a joke when I first saw it. :grinning:

It does get confusing that tempo, SS, and Z3 are all very similar and overlapping.

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Kinda like the phenomenon that is… junk miles

Thanks all for the help! Hope you all had a good new year!

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very beneficial for aerobic fitness, just don’t sit and do it all the time. It’s more fatiguing than endurance (obviously) but can get you stuck in a rut where you’re good at going kind of fast, but not fast enough down the road.

build with tempo, then progress and move on. Definitely has it’s place.

Frank is OG Sweet Spot creator, not TR, to the comment below that. It’s just high tempo / low threshold and great marketing.



I love that description of riding at 90% of FTP :joy: The idea of telling a story while riding at 90% of FTP sounds completely foreign to me.

The only story I‘m telling when I’m sitting at that intensity for anything past a few minutes is a quiet muttering under my breath: „I‘m not dead yet… Not… dead… yet…“ :grin::grin:


In a podcast (it might have been this) Frank Overton and Andrew Coggan discuss Sweet spot training and clearly state that it is a concept, not a zone.


Copy that. Been a long time since listening to those.

Not at all as entertaining as TR’s podcasts… :grin:

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No kidding :stuck_out_tongue:

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It is now a level in WKO5 :wink: and in the newest edition of 'Training with a Power Meter"

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I didn’t take the time to find it, but that sounds familiar from a FastTalk podcast one zones/levels from quite a while ago. Something about Hunter Allen requesting a SS “area” in the app.

Call it what you want, but there are many people and programs that prescribe and track work in the SS range.

Yeah it’s definitely at coaching concept and not a physiology concept, which is why Hunter Allen and Andy Coggan disagree about it (not unlike the “60min power as FTP” thing from the first edition).

Oh well, I think most ppl who dig just a bit deeper understand this.

Hm I think then you are already over your threshold…at 90% FTP a simple story should be possible to tell IMO

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Believe I heard it in the WKO webinar featuring Coggan introducing iLevels, its on YouTube.

Also in a TP article by Coggan:

“Based on the logic behind the original approach, levels 1-4 remain anchored to FTP, with the addition of a new level 4a (SweetSpot) at 88-94 percent of FTP to satisfy the requests of numerous coaches who have found value in prescribing workouts at this intensity.”

And a pic showing classic levels vs iLevel



Diplomatic, isn’t he? :joy:

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