Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

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Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby crispybug2 » Sun Oct 28, 2012 17:23 pm

I've been advised on zone 2 training for building a base throughout the winter in preperation for next year.

Now doing a three/four hour session on the weekend is not a problem, but during the week as a result of work constraints I can only do an hour in the mornings. So is it still a good idea to do the zone 2 session for an hour or would it be better to do a HIIT session instead?

As an aside one of the reasons to trying the zone 2 sessions is as a attempt to lose more weight, I've already lost four stone but I've stalled at fifteen and a half stone.
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby T.M.H.N.E.T » Sun Oct 28, 2012 17:30 pm

Zone 2 to lose weight? Eh???
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby Herbsman » Sun Oct 28, 2012 17:30 pm

Preparation for what next year?

Try 2x20min session during the week.
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby amaferanga » Sun Oct 28, 2012 17:46 pm

If these are just regular one hour rides (as opposed to rides where you can find a nice place to go do some intervals) then you'd be better just riding them hard - a sweet spot training (SST) ride. By riding easy all your doing is reducing the number of calories you burn.
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby tandrews8664 » Sun Oct 28, 2012 18:01 pm

As far as I aware, Zone 2 is long slow rides to build an aerobic base. An hour may just be long enough, but 90 mins plus is better. But for weight loss as well - intervals are probably best, but won't help as much as a long zone 2 ride for endurance
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby danowat » Sun Oct 28, 2012 19:55 pm

I don't do Z2 for anything less than 2hrs, if you've only got an hour free, there are much better sessions you can do than an hour at Z2
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby Bigpikle » Sun Oct 28, 2012 20:01 pm

The old story of Z2 only for building a 'base' has been largely dispelled as a total myth unless you train >15-20 hrs a week and couldnt ride any harder without burying yourself. If you're riding less hours then ride harder. Z3 & Z4 in appropriate amounts build aerobic performance brilliantly and do much more to build your FTP, which is the key determinant of cycling performance.
Last edited by Bigpikle on Sun Oct 28, 2012 21:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby danowat » Sun Oct 28, 2012 20:10 pm

Bigpikle wrote:The old story of Z2 only for building a 'base' has been largely dispelled as a total myth unless you train >15-20 hrs a week and couldnt ride any harder with burying yourself. If you're riding less hours then ride harder. Z3 & Z4 in appropriate amounts build aerobic performance brilliantly and do much more to build your FTP, which is the key determinant of cycling performance.


Indeed, its supposed that sessions of 2 x 20 at sweetspot is one of the better (best?) ways to raise your FTP
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby Alex_Simmons/RST » Sun Oct 28, 2012 21:29 pm

Level 2 may or may not be the best thing for a midweek ride.

Much depends on the entire structure of training week, and in context with everything else you are doing. Normally when time constrained, you tend to lift the intensity to compensate, however depending on what training you've been doing, that may or may not be something you'd do several times/week.

HIIT may not be necessary (or optimal) either.

Suggest including some Level 3 and 4 work into your routine. It doesn't need to be a lot to start with. Level 2 can still be quality work at the upper end.
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby bahzob » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:30 am

danowat wrote:
Bigpikle wrote:The old story of Z2 only for building a 'base' has been largely dispelled as a total myth unless you train >15-20 hrs a week and couldnt ride any harder with burying yourself. If you're riding less hours then ride harder. Z3 & Z4 in appropriate amounts build aerobic performance brilliantly and do much more to build your FTP, which is the key determinant of cycling performance.


Indeed, its supposed that sessions of 2 x 20 at sweetspot is one of the better (best?) ways to raise your FTP


Sorry but this is wrong and illustrates a misunderstanding of what the sweet spot is and how training and intervals work, that's also relevant to the OP.
- Sweetspot power is less than your FTP.
- Your FTP is the power you can sustain for a full 60 minutes.
- Training works by putting stress on your system, recovery from this stress makes you fitter as you body adapts to meet the new needs being put on it.
- If you do 20 minutes at sweetspot you are riding under your FTP, putting relatively little stress on your system and wasting training time/effort.
- You should be doing 20 minute intervals at FTP or above.
- This is a general rule. If you are capable of doing X watts/intensity for Y minutes
>>> then for any interval of duration A: If A<Y then watts/intensity should be > X.

- This is not to say there is no benefit in doing sweetspot training. It certainly has its uses.
> If training indoors/ or got limited time it can be done for solid non-stop 60-90 minute sessions when it provides a good aerobic workout that can be done day after day with little ongoing cumulative fatigue. If your objective is to burn max calories/hour and only have an hour or so a day to train its probably the best you can do (so OP aim to do this).

> For longer sessions 2-3 hours with 80-90% of time done at sweetspot will be just as good/better than spending 4-5 hours at lower "zone 2" training.

> If you are training for an etape or similar event that involves climbs that will take more than an hour it is especially worth spending some focused time on this intensity since it is the one you should be using during the event itself.

>>OP also may be worth getting this book. http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/193403083X

Its author sucks but the advice and training plans in the book are very good, especially if, like most people, time is the main limiting factor in training.
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby SBezza » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:49 am

bahzob wrote:> For longer sessions 2-3 hours with 80-90% of time done at sweetspot will be just as good/better than spending 4-5 hours at lower "zone 2" training.


And this might not be worth doing either if it takes a rider too long to recover from that sort of effort, 2-3 hours with 90% at sweetspot might take a rider 48 hours or more to recover from to do any meaniful training alongside it, whereas 4 hours at a zone 2 they would likely be training the following day without much impact.

It isn't just one session that makes gains, it is the cumulative effect of training that gives you the gains, going hard all the time will give you gains in FTP no doubt, but it maintaining that fitness and FTP that might be a struggle. Ideally you should try and aim for 5/6 days training a week, and be consistant in developing, if you have to take too many days off to recover from a session, then that session ulimately was substandard in the overall scheme of things.

You can see good gains by doing Z3 rides, and you can see rises in FTP, but with the added benefit of training on a daily basis, though even these cause deep down fatigue. The aim of doing the threshold session slightly lower in effort, is to be able to do more of them, or more frequently, the training effect of each session is slightly less admittedly, but if you can do more of them, you will likely get a bigger benefit in the long term. It is a balance between increasing FTP, and repeating the training at a level which causes adaption.

Training should be very individual, and tailored to the sort of events they are likely to do. Less fit riders are unlikley to manage 2 hours at Z3 comfortably, let alone having 90% of that time at an even higher level.
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby Zoomer37 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 13:05 pm

crispybug2 wrote:As an aside one of the reasons to trying the zone 2 sessions is as a attempt to lose more weight, I've already lost four stone but I've stalled at fifteen and a half stone.


Unless your built like a brick sh*t house above the waist, you want to be focused on losing fat not weight and riding 10 hrs a day in any zone aint going to help drop the flab if at the end of each day your consuming too many calories. What is your daily cal deficit?
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby T.M.H.N.E.T » Mon Oct 29, 2012 13:07 pm

Zoomer37 wrote:
crispybug2 wrote:As an aside one of the reasons to trying the zone 2 sessions is as a attempt to lose more weight, I've already lost four stone but I've stalled at fifteen and a half stone.


Unless your built like a brick sh*t house above the waist, you want to be focused on losing fat not weight and riding 10 hrs a day in any zone aint going to help drop the flab if at the end of each day your consuming too many calories. What is your daily cal deficit?

Or indeed,too much of a deficit
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby amaferanga » Mon Oct 29, 2012 14:19 pm

bahzob wrote:- You should be doing 20 minute intervals at FTP or above.


Plenty of other parts of your post that I'd take issue with, but this is simply wrong.
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby trickydisco » Mon Oct 29, 2012 14:51 pm

From my experience i'd say yes. This was the result of a fitness test i had 2 years ago

Image

The coach said my fat burning profile was absolutely terrible. I was only utilising 43% of energy from fat in zone 2. He said this wasn't that great and would mean i'd bonk a lot on long rides (i did)

He then drew up a 5 month plan and the only 'base' zone 2 training i did was indoors on rollers for 1 hour max. The rest was intervals and other bits of training.

5 months later this 43% figure went up to 84%. my zone 2 effectivly changed as well from 125 - 144 to 140 - 155. I was still utlising the majority of calories from fat at a HR of 155
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby Herbsman » Mon Oct 29, 2012 17:00 pm

Sweet
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby JGSI » Mon Oct 29, 2012 18:03 pm

trickydisco wrote:From my experience i'd say yes. This was the result of a fitness test i had 2 years ago

Image

The coach said my fat burning profile was absolutely terrible. I was only utilising 43% of energy from fat in zone 2. He said this wasn't that great and would mean i'd bonk a lot on long rides (i did)

He then drew up a 5 month plan and the only 'base' zone 2 training i did was indoors on rollers for 1 hour max. The rest was intervals and other bits of training.

5 months later this 43% figure went up to 84%. my zone 2 effectivly changed as well from 125 - 144 to 140 - 155. I was still utlising the majority of calories from fat at a HR of 155



I assume then that was a 'lab test'.. using expelled air to get the %'s of fats usage.?
Interesting result.
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby Alex_Simmons/RST » Mon Oct 29, 2012 21:49 pm

amaferanga wrote:
bahzob wrote:- You should be doing 20 minute intervals at FTP or above.


Plenty of other parts of your post that I'd take issue with, but this is simply wrong.

+1

One might do intervals at that level at times, but it is neither compulsory nor necessary to make tremendous gains in fitness and it can in fact be counter productive to attempt to ride that hard every time you do such training.
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby Alex_Simmons/RST » Mon Oct 29, 2012 22:06 pm

trickydisco wrote:From my experience i'd say yes. This was the result of a fitness test i had 2 years ago

Image

The coach said my fat burning profile was absolutely terrible. I was only utilising 43% of energy from fat in zone 2. He said this wasn't that great and would mean i'd bonk a lot on long rides (i did)

He then drew up a 5 month plan and the only 'base' zone 2 training i did was indoors on rollers for 1 hour max. The rest was intervals and other bits of training.

5 months later this 43% figure went up to 84%. my zone 2 effectivly changed as well from 125 - 144 to 140 - 155. I was still utlising the majority of calories from fat at a HR of 155

Nice work on improving your fitness.

Just one point to help you with understanding things-

The fuel substrate mix we use when exercising (i.e. proportion of fats/free fatty acids vs carbohydrate/glycogen) has very little do do with losing excess body fat. What matters is the overall calorie balance - the amount consumed via eating/drinking less that expended through normal daily metabolism and exercise, irrespective of what fuel substrate we used to fuel our effort.

However, it might be for some people that they are capable of metabolising more calories overall by doing longer rides at lower (but now low) intensities, than shorter rides at higher intensities which end up being so short due to excessive fatigue.

But once you have an exercise time constraint, then the only way to metabolise more overall, is to lift the absolute intensity (and to a much smaller extent, the relative intensity as well).
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Re: Zone 2 training....do short periods work as well?

Postby Bigpikle » Mon Oct 29, 2012 22:17 pm

Alex_Simmons/RST wrote:
amaferanga wrote:
bahzob wrote:- You should be doing 20 minute intervals at FTP or above.


Plenty of other parts of your post that I'd take issue with, but this is simply wrong.

+1

One might do intervals at that level at times, but it is neither compulsory nor necessary to make tremendous gains in fitness and it can in fact be counter productive to attempt to ride that hard every time you do such training.


This is my experience as well. Doing these at or above FTP means more fatigue for little if any benefit, so you cant do them as often. Do them at sweetspot, 85-88% of FTP, means you can do these sessions day after day if you want, accumulating good quantities of time at L3/4 without creating so much fatigue that you have to take a rest day or do an easy day. I do like to occasionally do a 100-105% FTP session if I know I have some forced rest days afterwards though, like a work trip or something that keeps me off the bike to recover.

Have spent the last 3 weeks racking up lots of sweetspot 2x20 sessions day after day, with a only a few days off, and this simply wouldnt have been possible if I did them at FTP or above!
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