Zone training help, please

Been on Zwift for about 6 weeks after a long bicycle layoff. Enjoyed Zwift Games and feel like I am progressing, but I wonder about the talk of zone 2 and 4 training. I seem to be in zones 3 and 5 most of the time. Before I take a FTP test, would anyone care to comment on what I am doing?

I would suggest you research polarized training as a start, you can find a lot of info on that (I like Dylan Johnson videos on youtube). The basics are spend most of the time in zone 1 and 2… and a little time in zone 5 and 6.

Here’s an article from Trainerroad:
Polarized Training For Cyclists: What It Is and How To Try It - TrainerRoad Blog.


Thanks for responding! I will look at your suggested article and search for videos.

Hey, I saw a video by Johnson about iron and went straight out to buy a bottle of Geritol, lol.

he did recommend you have blood work done before taking supplements, do you know you have low iron?

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No tests, but on the other side of 70 pretty sure that I can safely take a low dose of iron supplement.

BTW, I don’t mean to disparage your last post. I appreciate your concern.

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There is no time limit on finishing races, right? I will try doing the Zwift Games makeup A/B endurance ride in my zone 2. I guess I will need to stay below 150 watts. At that pace, assuming I can do it, I might finish in under 4 hours, lol.

no time limits, enjoy!

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Thank you for confirming my guess!

So much for that. Zwift locked up 69.7 km into the ride. Finally forced quit, but no option to resume race. Color me disappointed.

Really struggled to stay in zone 2 with all the gradient changes. I could stay pretty consistent from -2 to 2% gradients, but wildly fluctuated with steeper bits. Hoped to see my data at Garmin but with the freeze lost that chance. Regret that more than no badge.

So, I need a flat route, maybe Tempus Fugit. Also, I think the epic route was too long for me for zone 2 training. Not because of my legs, but because of my bum, lol. Maybe time for a saddle with a center cutout.

I suppose ride length varies with conditioning, but is there a sort of typical length of time for a zone 2 ride?

BTW, be warned, answering my questions may lead to continual pestering with queries, lol!

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My approach is that anything less than an hour is too short as zone 2 training. Not that different from the recommendation here:

I agree that fixing saddle and/or bike fit problems are a good idea. Some people also get relief from using rocker boards, or just making sure to stand up periodically.

In a ride like that I handle the gradient changes by moving the Trainer Difficulty setting in Zwift to zero, so the terrain is just something to look at but not feel.

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TD at zero is an interesting idea for maintaining power level, thanks.

Agree with Paul that an hour is pretty much the minimum for an endurance ride, although if I’m doing a ride that short it’s usually straight after a hard workout or a race.

Start at an hour and gradually extend it. If you add 15 minutes to your longest ride each week you’ll be up to 3 hours in no time*.

Comfort and fuelling are crucial. 50g of carbs per hour usually does me for endurance rides over 90 minutes. Below that I don’t usually bother.

I do a combination of RoboPacer rides (Maria and/or Coco) and the odd group ride.

*a couple of months. I crunched the numbers :wink:

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Thanks, I did drink a prepackaged smoothie at 40 km, about 1.5 hours in the ride.

The article by Dr. Luks is interesting. Especially the part about insulin. My numbers were getting high about a year ago. Rather than take drugs, I changed my diet and the numbers came down.

Moar carbs!



I haven’t used the robopacers, yet. Planning on using Miguel for the Volcano 25 lap badge next month. That route is short enough that I don’t care if I need to ride a bit extra for the badge with a poor join location.

Thinking about using a robo for Tempus Fugit when I figure out which one I can ride with in zone 2.

I have to say, zone 2 feels pretty boring, lol.

Zone 2 riding is indeed pretty boring. It requires a lot of discipline. You don’t need a robo pacer to figure out where zone 2 is. A heart rate monitor helps a lot but even that isn’t strictly required.

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Thank you for supplying more information!

BTW, I didn’t mean using robopacers to find my zone 2. Just using them to help with constant pace on a flat route, as well as for extra drops and practice drafting. IRL, I never drafted with my mountain bike, lol.

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