More zone two than the System training plans

There seems to be a resurgence of the benefits of Zone 2 training on line recently and whilst that theory has never gone away completely, more and more the benefits of such an approach is coming to the forefront. Apparently the main reason that the training plans in Systm generally concentrate on high intensity is for time crunched cyclists but even that nowadays seems not a reason to exclude Zone 2 rides, even short ones, each week, in fact to the point of concentrating on them more that the HiiT sessions. I have read so much recently that has made me start to wonder whether some of the plans should concentrate more on either ends of the zone ranges and dispense a bit more with the middle/threshold workouts zone 3 (grey area workouts)that litter most plans. I am on the TT plan at the moment and there are endurance rides shown on that but there are also loads of threshold 90% + of FTP efforts as well that apparently do little in effect to help your fitness. I know I can do what I like with my plans to fit in with zone two whilst missing out Zone 3 but I am curious why there is so much concentration on Zone 3 threshold training in most plans when the science and actual results from athletes shows the opposite.


What is on your plan, sounds nothing like what I’ve got?

@Coach.Neal.H has posted several times about how we can get most of the adaptations from riding at threshold slightly lower intensities that cause less fatigue.

I just checked my stats on for all the SYSTM workouts I’ve done in the last year, less than 10% of my time was spent in Z3, 25% in Z4 or above. 12.2% in sweet spot.


I was wondering this same thing, but was listening to a podcast that talked about most of the studies that said this only looked at (1) too much time in zone 3 (what you call grey zone) and not enough zone 2 vs (2) “polarization” (lots of time in zone 2 and some above threshold, and none in the middle), the polarization had clearly better results.

However, when they compared “polarization” (say 80% zone 2, 20% zone 4 and above) vs what they called “pyramidal” (80% zone 2, 15% zone 3, 5% zone 4 and above) there was no difference. So it appears to not be about spending no time in zone 3, as much as it’s about making sure to get enough zone 2 time and not overdoing it.

This was music to my ears because while I enjoy plenty of zone 2, I also find I get better results from some sweet spot training more than too much zone 4 and above, so think I’ll be trying the pyramidal model for a while. Easy enough to adjust the training plans to make this work.


I believe the SYSTM plans are more pyramidal. I think what you’re talking about is the context of tempo is “junk miles”. It might be worth listening to the video below to put “junk miles” in context. Dylan also explains that the evidence is favourable for both polarised and pyramidal training. At the end of the day the plans are a starting point, you can always adapt them to what you want or need, or talk to a coach about it.

Personally I am doing much more zone 2 this winter, not so much the traditional base building as I’m also including one MAP session a week and will increase that to include a second threshold session in the coming weeks. It’s a type of training I’ve not really done before so I’m hoping the change in training stimulus will give some gains.


On the TT plan (3:1) there are usually 3 sessions of what I would call high intensity, some higher than others, one endurance ride of 1 -4 hours depending how far along the plan you are ( the 4 hour one would be better broken down into 2 x 2 hours over two days) and the rest are approx middle of the road…Threshold/FTP ones. I am not saying that zone3 should be dispensed with altogether but I was just saying whether should zone 2 workouts be increased at the expense of a bit less zone 3. Today I added the GCN power torque workout as an extra to my calendar (20 efforts of 40/20’s) + I added 5% to my stats across the board as I wanted a tough HiiT workout and surprisingly enough showed that as a threshold workout??

I think the general consensus is that the Systm plans generally are pyramidal but for me I don’t think Zone 2 is given enough airtime. I will carry on with the TT plan but may just add in some more zone 2 on suitable days


This is exactly what I’m doing with the plan I just started.


I am already on the 3:1 plan with strength training as well and often add a session now and again but never on the rest days, which are never complete rest as that is when the strength is scheduled. At my age (69) according to the Wahoo minions I should be doing the 2:1 but I am retired, have no issue with the stress of the workouts and can easily fit them in and have plenty of time for rest… Happy days!!


Two things to note.

  1. It appears that it is Zone 2 HR, not Zone 2 power that is important.
  2. You need to be continuously in Zone 2. An interval session, whose IF averages Zone 2 is not a Zone 2 ride.

See the following two videos. Iñigo San-Millán is a sports scientist, and a personal coach for Tadej Pogačar.


I know this, no going over, no coasting etc. I have been researching Zone 2 info since getting into cycle training two years ago, Stephen Seilers research is what kicked this off. This wasn’t my issue. My comments were directed at the point where I thought there wasn’t enough concentration on Z2 workouts in training plans. There are many Z2 workouts within Systm that anyone can add or replace other workouts with but not for a newbie or anyone else who is not familiar with the the latest( well not exactly as this has been known for donkeys years) training systems and just relies on a fixed training plan


SYSTM plans are not Z2 focused because of time constraints and their main offering is <1hr video based workouts. In the summer when it is light in the evenings here until 10-11pm I swap out a lot of the higher intensity workouts on my plan for longer Z2 outdoor rides.

I don’t think Z2 training is very complicated apart from fitting in enough volume to get a decent training load.

My training year is reversed, most people think of getting in base miles during the winter but that just doesn’t work for me when its dark at 4pm and I don’t want to spend 2-3hrs sat on a stationary trainer alone in the garage. Conversely in the summer why would I want to do hard interval workouts indoors when I could be riding outdoors.


Hi, curious to know where you get this from. Keen to see if for myself. Please point me to this information.

I’ve never seen/read nor had this notion you state is the main reason of SYSTM training plans. I have seen and read that to be the notion of TrainerRoad plans, but not SYSTM. Hence why I am curious to read it for myself.

Hi, just on the subject of data on and adding to my comments about a Hiit session being recorded as a threshold one. Presumably this is because of adding the warm up and warm down time to the session which in effect reduces the effort if the whole time is counted. You have still done a Hiit workout though so can this be manipulated within the app. Thanks only discovered this app a few months ago and still trying to get my head around it

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If you look at the instructions on any of the
endurance workouts you will see the statement that says that their main focus is on high intensity workouts


I don’t make the connection to your statement that SYSTM plans are for time crunched athletes. I at best would read that as SYSTM is notorious for high intensity workouts meant to make you suffer (since most of the training workouts stem for The Sufferfest days) but that they also offer workouts not of that order. Irrespective if one is time crunched or not.

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To clarify, the SYSTM product that I feel is worth paying for above their competition are the videos, most of which are under an hour, rather than the structured plans.

Compared to a pro we are all time crunched, none of the plans are more than 14hrs a week or have Z2 rides more than twice a week.


I regularly ride the Endurance [time] no-vid workouts. These are great Zone 2 workouts.

However, before the switchover to SYSTM, the only one that existed was Endurance+ which is only 90 minutes long. The rest of these workouts were added along with a raft of other no-vid workouts when SYSTM was released. Previous to this, most of the workouts - and most of the workouts in the training plans - were the Sufferfest videos. Only a small handful of these were over 60 minutes, and almost none were over 90 minutes - and those were mash-ups and definitely NOT Zone 2 workouts.

Now that these have been added they are still not included in many of the workout plans unless you choose one of the long endurance ride plans like the Full Century or 200+ Gravel plans. Otherwise, most users will never see any of these workouts. Not to mention many who do have complained bitterly about being asked to ride long no-vid rides on their trainers and prefer to ride outside.

SYSTM is now trying to expand their options to include longer rides, but SYSTM/The Sufferfest has long been geared towards time-crunched athletes. Hopefully Wahoo continues to expand the options for those who have the time and desire to do these longer Zone 2 rides. I for one have complained about the lack of longer rides and have been modifying my training plans to include these long rides for quite some time, now. These longer Endurance no-vids have been a boon to this effort. But they have not been around for very long. I hope to see more longer offerings added and more longer Sufferfest style videos, as well. The Cobbler has been one of my favorites ever since it was introduced. Tho, it is also not a Zone 2 workout, either, but can be more easily modified to be one than many others.


Have been looking to do more zone 2 rides following the recent discussions and videos around the benefits and had never looked in the no vid section before. Thanks for the tip, will do one of these tomorrow…


Here’s an article from Wahoo that specifically refers to SYSTM style workouts being for time crunched athletes. There may be others, but this is what I found.


Thanks for your informative reply. I have no knowledge of the original Sufferfest workouts etc being only a new user of Wahoo Systm. It’s good to see then that longer endurance workouts, albeit “no Vid” have been added over time, maybe some longer videos to go with them could be in the pipeline too at some point too? I must admit that I hadn’t looked at the Full Century or 200+ Gravel plans either. cheers

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