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  • Zone 2 on a turbo trainer…
  • vlad_the_invader
    Free Member

    …my god, that was painfully boring.

    Garmin tells me I’m not doing enough low aerobic activity so I tried an hour of Z2 on the turbo, whilst watching Netflix

    I’d rather not do that again and just use the turbo for shorter, higher intensity stuff so can I count walking the dog as Z2 activity??? 🤨

    (A minor injury is stopping me from riding outside at the moment).

    weeksy
    Full Member

    Depends how fast you walk 🙂

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    I agree that zone 2 is boring as hell and indoors.

    To walk at zone 2 would be pretty quick, more like jogging IMO.

    Swimming is a good zone 2 workout for me.

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    My commitment to proper structured/polarised training is starting to waiver, mostly because zone 2 is such a pain in the arse.

    Indoors it’s boring and uncomfortable, outdoors it’s boring and restrictive (riding even moderately hilly routes with your pals? You’ll be out of Z2 then!).

    That being said, I experimented with the ‘conversational’ intensity test (although I was by myself in the garage, and the spiders are crap conversation) and my Z2 is a little harder than I had previously been riding on heart rate alone, felt like very easy sweetspot instead. Made 1hr on the rollers just about bearable.

    Kryton57
    Full Member

    If you use Zwift try one of the ZZRC/ other group rides available. 100k usually lasts 2:40h and you can sit in a group at Z2 all the way. I find the dynamics of working in a group enough to keep it bearable.

    cookeaa
    Full Member

    I only really bother with Z4 on the trainer, I don’t see why a brisk Z2 walk wouldn’t ‘count’ if you wanted to, so long as your achieving the load and intensity you plan requires.

    mrlebowski
    Free Member

    Z2 on a turbo is tough. I’ve done 3hrs before with back to back films, -3 & sleet. But that was like being lobotomised…

    Wahoo/Sufferfest has some workouts with films based around cycling to ease the tedium but there’s no denying it’s dull..

    MSP
    Full Member

    Weirdly I find it more difficult and uncomfortable if I am watching something ie netflix or using zwift, while time can just fly by if I am listening to an audiobook or some chillout music. Also I gauge my z2 by the upper end of what I can manage while breathing through my nose.

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    Also I gauge my z2 by the upper end of what I can manage while breathing through my nose.

    There was a link in one of the recent Zwift threads to a GCN video where Simon Richardson tried this. He found nose breathing ‘too easy’ which meant he could ride beyond Z2. I found similar (think I can almost ride sweetspot whilst nose breathing).

    I’m also curious about the physiology of nose breathing vs. Z2 as I think it lowers your perception of lactate or improves your lactate clearance or something?

    crosshair
    Free Member

    What Kryton said 👍🏻

    Find a Zwfit group ride and start arguing with the ride leader about the pace through group chat and the time will fly by 🤣

    I did 5hrs last weekend in two 100k sessions, plus a bit extra on the easier one.

    Pace partners are awesome too.

    Then it’s just a question of all the tricks. Vary your cadence often, stand up regularly. And have a wide range of positions. I have aero bars on my Turbo bike so I can roll my hips for a bit and slump on there. Pick a part of the route you are following and commit to holding one position for all that time then switch. I usually have podcasts playing for Z2 work- ones about Z2 are even better as it’s positive reinforcement of what you are doing 😀

    This weekend I got outdoors both days and I have to say- it really wasn’t any different. It requires more than enough concentration to keep changing gear to stay in zone that time flies by either way.

    crosshair
    Free Member

    As for the dog walking- one of Inigo San Milan’s messages about Z2 is that for diabetic and pre-diabetics and of course generally unfit folk, even jogging will be Z3!
    In his TEDX talk he says “the multi-billion dollar fitness industry aren’t going to try and sell you walking! They are not going to do that!”. So yes- brisk walking could easily put you in Z2 depending on your current fitness 😀

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    Assuming you have some sort of hills nearby then Z2 walking is easy to achieve. For the OP – how fast does your dog walk?

    crosshair
    Free Member

    There’s a good Evoque podcast with Adam Hansen when he talks about rocking up to the first race of the season fit enough to win (he had to make a deal with the guy in the break after he punctured so didn’t actually win) on a diet of mostly hiking because his team didn’t send him any wheels for his bike 🤣🤣🤣

    Aerobic fitness is pretty transferable- I just like cycling because I’m full of metal and healed bones so walking/jogging/running aren’t so good for my joints.

    crosshair
    Free Member

    He’s quite hard to listen to in this one because of his moist mouth noises 🤣

    jameso
    Full Member

    No way I could do enough time on a trainer to get Z2 time done, it’s ok for short, effective sessions.

    Z2 on the bike is a real pleasure though. An excuse to relax and ride steady, adds a bit of interest to the ride trying to keep it in Z2 on a hill. Low cadence, high gear Z2 hills are a good thing for strength development.

    Walking brisky would do it too esp if hilly – break into a jog on the downhills.

    Also I gauge my z2 by the upper end of what I can manage while breathing through my nose.

    For me this works, roughly, generally enough years of riding Z2 with a HRM means I just know what my breathing is like there and can manage my pace fairly well w/o the HRM. But I read that to be effective Z2 rides need to stay in that zone so accuracy helps and it can become a game of adapting routes, knowing and regulating effort and learning how your HR lag affects it, etc.

    crosshair
    Free Member

    I think the other thing about Zwift is how you frame it. Some people think of it as their racing platform or a HIIT tool. But it’s easiest to think of it as a place.

    In town it’s Waitrose roundabout 🤣 Few group rides I do outside take place that don’t at least go past there. So just add the Zwift worlds to a list of local training routes in your memory bank.

    Then don’t even think of the turbo as being hot or hard or boring or different- just consider where you are heading today, Waitrose or Watopia 🤣🤣🤣🤣.

    Ultimately, to get fitter- a pedal flies up and you push it down again wherever you may be at the time.

    n0b0dy0ftheg0at
    Free Member

    Try the permanently running pace partner rides, or the ongoing Tour of Makuri, group rides, adjusting an erg workout so it stays around your z2 etc.

    nickc
    Full Member

    I never do Z2 on a turbo it’s just too boring and painful. Luckily where I live is pretty flat and I can get all the Z2 I want on the TPT

    Daffy
    Full Member

    you can watch a film on the turbo in Z2 – you can’t do that in Z4.

    How can anyone get to Z2 when walking?

    stumpy01
    Full Member

    I live in one of the flattest parts of the country. On Sunday morning, I went out for a ride & tried to do a steady Z2 pace.
    I watched the recent GCN video & definitely think that this is something that I need to do more of.

    One of the things mentioned in the vid was that going above Z2 even for a short time meant your body switched to glycogen burning mode, rather than fat burning & it could take 30mins or so for it to return to fat-burning.
    But – even with it being as flat as it is where I ride, there were still times on inclines where my heart rate would start to come up & I was worried I was going to drop out of this fat burning mode, so was really crawling along.
    I can’t imagine how you would easily train like this if you live somewhere even moderately hilly, without using a turbo trainer.
    For reference, Sunday’s ride was 41km with 85m of climbing. Some people on here seem to do that just to get to the end of their road.

    On Zwift I reckon 2hours would be do-able for me if I had a selection of music & podcasts. I could probably do longer, but not sure I’d want to.

    footflaps
    Full Member

    I used to do loads of Z2 on the turbo when I used to race (before Zwift etc). Watched the first several seasons of 24, all of BSG, and a whole load of other US TV shows on DVD. Three 40 min episodes back to back was my two hour session. Did that 3 nights a week after work all through winter.

    The main issue was I’d get engrossed in the TV and stop pedalling…..

    trickydisco
    Free Member

    Also don’t forget zones can change. When i started training my zone 2 was 125 – 144

    and this was my ramp test results (which by the way that zone 2 area is appaling. At 127 bpm 43% of energy is coming from fat
    Screenshot-2022-11-14-at-09-49-26

    after about 6-8 months of training my zone 2 changed to 140 – 158. This was based on my % of fat utilization

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    my heart rate would start to come up

    The useful thing about the GCN video for me was that it highlighted that Z2 was maybe a higher HR than I thought. I used to work to 139BPM using the British Cycling % of max HR zones, but going by ‘conversational’ intensity I think I can get up to 150BPM.

    Is still annoying though as it means weekend rides need to be very flat, but I want to go out and explore at weekends which inevitably means hills!

    Maybe the most useful take-home from the video was at least trying to start the ride with as much Z2 as possible before you get to any hilly bits, treat it as a very extended warm-up…

    ta11pau1
    Full Member

    On Zwift I reckon 2hours would be do-able for me if I had a selection of music & podcasts. I could probably do longer, but not sure I’d want to.

    Tbh for me it’s not the boredom, it’s the discomfort that limits how long I can sit of the trainer.

    Sit with a pace partner and I’m happy to go for hours but my body can’t take that long. I’m going to build a rocker plate in the next few weeks to help alleviate that pain.

    Haze
    Full Member

    If you’re using Zwift then I find it helps to have an objective, climbing the Alpe will take you well over an hour at Z2 (Road to Sky) or Ventoux around 2 hours…but generally I only ride these when it’s too grim to go outside for a couple of hours.

    DickBarton
    Full Member

    I’m apparently suffering High Aerobic Shortage – not quite sure what that means on how to focus on it to improve, but I’m struggling with Z2 on turbo as well – just mind-numbing…however, I’ve been real lax over last 2 weeks and managed to miss my training session for various reasons (and can’t be botheredness!)…so I need to get it back under control again.

    I’m hoping Z2 can help improve my aerobic stuff if I mix in a few hard efforts as well – like a minute or so in Z4 then back to Z2 and repeat several times.

    footflaps
    Full Member

    I’m hoping Z2 can help improve my aerobic stuff if I mix in a few hard efforts as well – like a minute or so in Z4 then back to Z2 and repeat several times.

    If you want to build your aerobic system, then just train that. Ignore Z4…

    Before and after of a winter riding Z2 and pretty much nothing else….

    [url=https://flic.kr/p/2gHZ4xE]Lactate test results[/url] by Ben Freeman, on Flickr

    thecaptain
    Free Member

    The question I would ask is whether it is more boring than watching Neflix on the sofa?

    More usually treadmill than turbo for me, but I’ve run through a few things I wanted to watch, but didn’t really want to just sit in front of. Rugby internationals and the Olympic curling final come to mind, but also some non-sport things. Basically anything I want to watch that my wife doesn’t. I can usefully fit in an hour or two of steady state that way, especially when the weather is poor.

    trickydisco
    Free Member

    If you want to build your aerobic system, then just train that. Ignore Z4…

    this x1000! you will ruin the training session by movig out of the zone multiple times. My aerobic capacity improved loads even after doing only 1hr zone 2 rides (twice a day at times)

    molgrips
    Full Member

    I can do 2hrs on the turbo and Netflix. No more though.

    jameso
    Full Member

    The useful thing about the GCN video for me was that it highlighted that Z2 was maybe a higher HR than I thought. I used to work to 139BPM using the British Cycling % of max HR zones, but going by ‘conversational’ intensity I think I can get up to 150BPM.

    after about 6-8 months of training my zone 2 changed to 140 – 158.

    OT a bit but Z2 seems to have different meanings between running and cycling or who’s zones you’re working with.

    Trad HR Z2 is 60-70% of Max HR or the equivalent if working of threshold HR (about 66-77% of max HR for me I think, mainly as I’m more sure of my threshold than my max these days). The upper end of Z2 is your aerobic threshold.

    Q is then, does it change much with age or fitness? I didn’t think so, not on the trad zones anyway. As far as I understood it if you train well you may produce more power at that level or at your threshold but your HR at those levels won’t change. I may be wrong.
    The borderline of aerobic and anaerobic levels may go up as you get fitter or you may simply be able to hold a conversation at a higher level of output because you’re using o2 more effecively.

    Anyone know?

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    I’m hoping Z2 can help improve my aerobic stuff if I mix in a few hard efforts as well – like a minute or so in Z4 then back to Z2 and repeat several times.

    Apparently this approach is a big no-no. You don’t get the benefits of the Z2 work as the Z4 work effectively switches your body to a different ‘energy system’ (can’t be bothered trying to paraphrase the various videos on the subject) so you don’t get the benefits of the Z2 work, so it just becomes several minutes of Z4 with lots of recovery. Basically a very inefficient Z4 workout.

    Hence my frustration with the Z2 approach when outdoors, one misguided burst of enthusiasm and you lose a lot of the benefits.

    crosshair
    Free Member

    Some great posts 👍🏻

    As I’ve said elsewhere- in a few weeks I’ve added 20w to my z2. And unlike HIIT, I feel better and better the more I do. Instead of craving sugar and a recovery week- I can run a calorie deficit and actually want to ride more and more.

    It’s also such practical fitness too.

    I’ve been doing as Friel suggests and still splitting my week up into either breakthrough or recovery rides. Breakthrough Z2 is ISM stylee right on the edge of the ‘talk test’, low Z3 watts and high Z2 HR.
    Then in between I do easier Z2 which is high z1/ low z2 power and low z2 HR.
    I pursuaded a couple of locals to join in yesterday and we ended up doing a 38 mile loop at 20mph still!

    It’s like race walking- it feels odd at first to deliberately limit your performance but once you get adapted, you can go faster than many people can run 😉

    crosshair
    Free Member

    Inigo San Milan Z2 is like old school Friel Z2- it’s a proxy for 2mmol lactate and distinctly not attached to a percentage of either FTP or max HR (which are based on average statistics so may or may not be optimal for an individual).

    Your HR can change day to day anyhow based on loads of factors.

    The progressive overload is built in if you ride to the “talk test”- because as you get fitter your power at that RPE will be higher and higher.

    jameso
    Full Member

    I’m hoping Z2 can help improve my aerobic stuff if I mix in a few hard efforts as well – like a minute or so in Z4 then back to Z2 and repeat several times.

    The fastest way to raise your output in Z2 may be to train fully at Z4/5 an hour a week, simply because Z4/5 work raises your ability to produce and hold power and that ability will be seen at all HR levels.
    I also thought for reasons mentioned above that Z2 work should be uninterrupted Z2 for 2-3 hours, maybe more. It’s an adaptation stage rather than a training stage and it needs to be held at that level.

    What Z2 training does (if I understood some of Joe Friel’s work) is give you more of a base to tune up, a bigger capacity and better scope for later development. There’s a lot of discussion about time crunched training and sweetspot work that might shortcut this base+build way of thinking though. I do see results from Z2 followed by HIIT as part of a fairly polarised approach to riding but I’ve not tried the time-crunch alternatives. Either go slow or all-out and keep the all-out riding to an amount you fully recover from, rarely riding in that middle ground pace.

    trickydisco
    Free Member

    Q is then, does it change much with age or fitness?

    Yes, read my post above. I had a few fitness tests when i was training measuring lactate thresholds ,metabolic rates and power. Initially my zone 2 (the main area where i was energy was coming from fat) was rubbish. at 125 bpm i was only using 43% from fat. my zone 2 was 125 – 144. With lots of zone 2 training this moved to 140 – 158. This was the zone i was predominatley still utilising fat as an energy source.

    jameso
    Full Member

    As I’ve said elsewhere- in a few weeks I’ve added 20w to my z2.

    Is this purely through Z2 work? Interesting if so. I might be spending so much time in Z2 I don’t see the gains (but I do feel better 6 weeks into weekly Z4/5 trainer sessions) or it may be that I do creep above Z2 too often so some sessions are not as not as effective as they should be. I don’t have a PM to judge results though, just how I feel/recover on hills etc.

    old school Friel Z2- it’s a proxy for 2mmol lactate and distinctly not attached to a percentage of either FTP or max HR

    I need to read on that as it might explain the above. I use trad HR zones mainly, and HR levels based on % of threshold.

    crosshair
    Free Member

    @Jameso Training at higher intensity will definitely drag your FTP up yes 👍🏻

    Which of course, drags all your percentage-based zones up too.

    What I think is being better explained by Inego San Milan and Seiler etc at the minute (although it’s in Friels books too) is the presence of another threshold. (Your aerobic threshold or VT1 amongst other names for a similar spot).

    So when you raise your FTP, you could actually be dragging it up away from your first threshold. Ie the gap between the two could be getting bigger. Which isn’t accounted for in percentage based zones.

    The philosophy of this training is to push your lower (aerobic/VT1) threshold UP as high as you can first.

    Basically it’s old school base training better explained.

    ISM encourages you to ride right at or slightly over that lower threshold which is actually very similar to a Friel AE3 workout in his latest edition of the Bible.

    Edit- yes, I’ve done one Zwift race and everything else has been Z2 since end of September.
    Although it’s been so enjoyable I did do 42h in October 🤣

    footflaps
    Full Member

    I need to read on that as it might explain the above. I use trad HR zones mainly.

    See if your local Uni Sports Science department does blood lactate tests – they often want guinea pigs for students to work on. Cheap way of finding you real zones based on blood lactate.

    Kryton57
    Full Member

    There’s some good videos on GCN about Z2, how it promotes mitochondrial build, energy efficiencies and supports the higher efforts.

    Also re the above IIRC it takes 30-40 minutes for “systems” to revert if you go over Z2 for a short time I thin 1-2 mins, so for full efficiency of a Z2 dont go over.

    There’s a reason the Pro’s do so much of it.

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