Go back and have a look at your last week of riding. Have a look at your time in zones summary for you last week. This will paint a quick picture of you and your training. Of course, the time in zones will depend partly on what cycle of your training you are in, but generally as a constant there should be plenty of time in Zone 2. Ok, let’s take a step back for a second.
What is Zone 2?
Zone 2 is your ‘endurance zone’. There is some debate about exactly what the boundaries are - some say 60-80% of threshold, others 55-75%. I personally like the 55-75% better, and encourage aiming for roughly the middle of this zone (around 65%). Riding at this intensity should feel easy(ish), but you have to be constantly aware of your power and mindful of riding in the zone. For those that don’t train at these watts, it can really get difficult over a long ride, and you may find that your heart rate (and the difficulty) increases even if the power doesn’t. You certainly don’t want this phenomenon happening in a race or long ride, but it’s an all too familiar feeling for many riders.
So what do we do?
You may find a lot of your rides miss this zone, even without realising it. Your graph may show a lot of recovery, and then a lot of threshold and above. Have a few looks throughout your ride and see how many watts you are actually pushing, try to be a bit more consistently in this zone, and you will find it will reap some major benefits in the long run (although I admit it can take some time). Don’t be too harsh on yourself, it can be hard to continually stay in this zone, recovery zone is unavoidable at times. You will find (more so to my fellow Sydney siders) that with lights and traffic it may be hard to do this but my advice would be just to spend more time here. Drop through your gears going up little rises and allow your speed slow a little (despite what your riding mates may think, you don’t have to smash every hill). Try not to freewheel or soft-pedal on the downs, even though it can be really tempting.
This is a great example of an endurance session from one of our Zone 2 aficionados at Nero. Look at the interval or lap called “Zone 2”. As you can see, it is impossible to have the whole ride at the consistent Zone 2 level, the rider does a great job at maximising Z2 time. The ride had an average power (P) exactly in low Z2, and normalised power (N) close to the middle. You can see lights and stops throughout, but the majority is nice and consistent.
If you want to get more out of your training and develop the endurance to take your riding to the next level, contact us and we can get you on the right track to achieve your goals.