Zone 2 training plan

I’m trying to understand polarized training and am trying to commit to it.
It’s hard watching my Fitness on Intervals drop!
I do 3 zone 2 rides per week, 1 hr, 1 hr and 2.5 hr then race on Sat. (no riding M-W-F, gotta work)

My zone 2 rides are non exciting so I thought I would do Zone 2 work outs.
There doesn’t seem to be any.
I looked at the Recovery and Endurance workouts but they tend to have intervals that are Tempo.

I interpreted zone 2 to be a HR definition so I vary my cadence and power to keep my corrected HR 60 -70% of max.

Sometimes I just ride with one of the D robots.
I think that’s what a lot of people are doing.

Is that all there is to it?

I know, hire a trainer is the best answer.
I’m just asking what others do.

There aren’t really any zone 2 training plans on Zwift. You can just make your own workout to hold Z2 watts for a good duration. In my not-a-coach opinion, you seem to be doing good.
I have to agree that it feels like all the fitness calculators don’t like Z2 riding very much. Doing a short hard ride often gives the same, or better, impact score than a 1-2 hour endurance ride. Which kind of makes sense based on the physical exertion level that you feel afterward, but yeah, I resonate with you. :joy:

You need to ask yourself how you’re going to progress your training. If you don’t progress it, you’re exercising, not training.

For the Z2 rides, maybe choose an RP at, say, 65% (no higher!) of FTP and ride with them. Extend your weekly hours from 4.5 hours to however much you can fit in.

If you can, aim for two days of intensity per week. If you’re going to race once per week, that leaves another day to do either sweetspot or FTP work. Maybe do an 8 week block of each with easy weeks in weeks 4 and 8?

Start with 3 × 10 at 90% of FTP. Then next week 3 × 12. Then 3 × 15. Then 2 × 20. Etc etc. You want to push total time in zone up to 90 minutes or so. Do something similar for your FTP block at 98% of FTP. Aim to push TiZ out to an hour.

After that, it’ll probably be time for an easy week followed by a VO2 Max block.

What I do is a free ride with Trainer Difficulty set to zero where I pick a gear and a target cadence that’s roughly where I want to be and stay there. If HR goes up too much I change gear and/or cadence to get it in the right place, but it’s mostly just steady effort.

I have also made some zone 2 custom workouts for my wife who prefers ERG mode but didn’t want a single big block of zone 2 with no arches to ride under, so I just built it out of 5-10 minute blocks that vary the effort slightly.

I was looking at your last couple races and you appear to be doing ZRacing events that are quite hard for you from start to finish. That is not like doing high intensity interval training. It’s more like a badly executed FTP test with a bunch of surges, so you will not hit the kind of peaks that you could do in an interval workout with equivalent or less TSS because there’s basically zero time for recovery. A race that might be more like an interval workout would be something with a weaker field and a repeated climb on a short circuit. Like a community race on Glasgow Crit Circuit or Downtown Dolphin. Crush the climb every lap, rest as much as possible until the next one, and don’t think about the finish (this strategy probably won’t produce a good finishing result).

Thanks for the replies.
Your observation about my race to failure is correct.
I just try to hang on a little longer each week.
I’m thinking the Tiny Race series might fit in better.

I agree, I need to progress to train.
Does “progress” need to mean more (intensity or time) or just different?

As David said, it is time in the zone that needs to progress… not necessarily overall time spent training each week.

Tiny races are not like intervals either. They have big fields of top-of-category riders that will have you constantly barely hanging on. No way could I repeat zone 5 efforts in that scenario with a bit of rest in between.

Tiny Races ought to be able to raise your 5min power and repeatability of hitting near your best 5mins, over the course of a month or so, presuming you have no health/injury setbacks.

You will need to be mentally tough, because like me having just had a zMAP promotion to C (like in September I do wonder if a lack of recent calibration of my Saris H3 in the slightly warmer weather caused slightly inflated numbers), we both have a low 5min power for pen C {as well as a low zFTP W/Kg for longer duration races}.
The top end of C will be doing ~4W/Kg for 5mins and an awful lot of the group will probably leave the pen quicker than you can manage and will leave you for dead on inclines.