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Accumulating time in zone (power) - what to shoot for

Old 11-08-21, 08:36 PM
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Accumulating time in zone (power) - what to shoot for

I was looking back through my event rides since I got a Powertap in the summer of '19 and noticing the time-in-zone distributions. When i do an event ride, I TT it, trying to get my ET as low as I can. Of course I ride some solo, some with others, moving in an out of groups as the ride goes on. I think my distribution is not unlike what one sees on a long race. On one particular ride, using the 5-zone model, my distribution in zones 1 through 5 was of the pattern 4-3-2.5-1-1.

I'm now far enough into my October-August schedule to see some accumulated time in zone. I wasn't consciously planning on it, but my accumulated times just happens look about like the above event distribution, which might be auspicious. .

Does anyone watch this and if so, what do you look/strive for if anything?
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Old 11-09-21, 05:34 AM
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I use Best Bike Splits as a pace guide to long event rides (usually hilly centuries). BBS never targets anything above Z3 on climbs and Z2 on flats. But in reality I end up with a far more lumpy split. A quick look at my last 7 hr event with 3000m elevation on Strava:-

Z1 : 47% (Active Recovery)
Z2 : 19% (Endurance)
Z3: 15% (Tempo)
Z4: 10% (Threshold)
Z5: 9% (VO2 Max and above)

The above pattern tends to hold for most of my Sportive rides. The longer the ride the more it biases toward the lower range as you would expect. Here's one from an 8.5 hour event with 4000m elevation:-

Z1 : 52% (Active Recovery)
Z2 : 23% (Endurance)
Z3: 16% (Tempo)
Z4: 6% (Threshold)
Z5: 3% (VO2 Max and above)

What I try to do is economise my efforts on the flats and downhills and push a little harder on the climbs, as that's where the most time is lost/gained. I try to avoid going over threshold, but most of my events have very steep climbs, so there are times when I need to, especially when in a strong group.
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Old 11-09-21, 05:42 AM
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A TT looks a LOT different! Here's a 20 km full gas TT:-

Z1 : 5% (Active Recovery)
Z2 : 1% (Endurance)
Z3: 5% (Tempo)
Z4: 27% (Threshold)
Z5: 62% (VO2 Max and above)

My relative strength is MAP/V02 max by the way. So I can ride these short TTs well above my relatively low threshold power.
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Old 11-09-21, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
I use Best Bike Splits as a pace guide to long event rides (usually hilly centuries). BBS never targets anything above Z3 on climbs and Z2 on flats. But in reality I end up with a far more lumpy split. A quick look at my last 7 hr event with 3000m elevation on Strava:-

Z1 : 47% (Active Recovery)
Z2 : 19% (Endurance)
Z3: 15% (Tempo)
Z4: 10% (Threshold)
Z5: 9% (VO2 Max and above)

The above pattern tends to hold for most of my Sportive rides. The longer the ride the more it biases toward the lower range as you would expect. Here's one from an 8.5 hour event with 4000m elevation:-

Z1 : 52% (Active Recovery)
Z2 : 23% (Endurance)
Z3: 16% (Tempo)
Z4: 6% (Threshold)
Z5: 3% (VO2 Max and above)

What I try to do is economise my efforts on the flats and downhills and push a little harder on the climbs, as that's where the most time is lost/gained. I try to avoid going over threshold, but most of my events have very steep climbs, so there are times when I need to, especially when in a strong group.
Yes, my upper zone efforts are also usually from burning a match here and there to stay with a stronger group. One comes out ahead on that in the long run.

My question in the OP however is how does your distribution of zones in training line up with your distribution on your goal rides? Or do you even keep track of that? Thus if your goal rides were only short TTs, would your training look more like that in your TT?
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Old 11-09-21, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Yes, my upper zone efforts are also usually from burning a match here and there to stay with a stronger group. One comes out ahead on that in the long run.

My question in the OP however is how does your distribution of zones in training line up with your distribution on your goal rides? Or do you even keep track of that? Thus if your goal rides were only short TTs, would your training look more like that in your TT?
Ah, I see what you mean. I do a lot of indoor structured interval training in ERG mode, so my training zones vary a lot depending on the specific workout I'm doing. My outdoor training rides are mostly longer endurance rides of 3-5 hours, so they tend to look much like my events.

Some examples:-

45 min MAP/VO2 indoor workout

Z1 : 45% (Active Recovery)
Z2 : 7% (Endurance)
Z3: 7% (Tempo)
Z4: 5% (Threshold)
Z5: 37% (VO2 Max and above)

45 min team TT simulation indoor workout

Z1 : 26% (Active Recovery)
Z2 : 11% (Endurance)
Z3: 29% (Tempo)
Z4: 21% (Threshold)
Z5: 14% (VO2 Max and above)

3x25 sub threshold workout

Z1 : 22% (Active Recovery)
Z2 : 8% (Endurance)
Z3: 48% (Tempo)
Z4: 21% (Threshold)
Z5: 1% (VO2 Max and above)

75 mins with multiple anaerobic sprint intervals

Z1 : 45% (Active Recovery)
Z2 : 12% (Endurance)
Z3: 6% (Tempo)
Z4: 10% (Threshold)
Z5: 27% (VO2 Max and above)

So, as you might expect, my workouts just target specific zones and don't really correlate with my event zones, except for longer outdoor endurance rides.
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Old 11-09-21, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Yes, my upper zone efforts are also usually from burning a match here and there to stay with a stronger group. One comes out ahead on that in the long run.
Same here. Sometimes have to decide if a group pace is sustainable, especially early on when people tend to get carried away. Having a power meter really helps to keep check on what is realistic and what is likely to be a train wreck an hour or two down the road. I'll often burn matches on steep climbs too. Usually have no choice with 20%+ gradients. On longer steady climbs I tend to sit at my own sub-threshold pace and totally ignore everyone else!
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Old 11-09-21, 01:29 PM
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My flat DE century looked liked this:
Z1: 12%
Z2: 56%
Z3: 25%
Z4: 4%
Z5: 1%
Z6: 1%
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Old 11-09-21, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
Ah, I see what you mean. I do a lot of indoor structured interval training in ERG mode, so my training zones vary a lot depending on the specific workout I'm doing. My outdoor training rides are mostly longer endurance rides of 3-5 hours, so they tend to look much like my events. <snip>
I'm looking for other riders' accumulated totals over long training periods to see if those long-term totals look like the A rides for which they are training. My training ride totals, perhaps accidentally, do match up rather well to my A rides. Does a hard-core crit rider have the same experience? Many riders on here emphasize sweet-spot, sweet-spot, sweet-spot. I would then expect the rides for which they are training to have a lot of sweet-spot and their accumulated totals to be similar. Or if all you did was short TTs, would your training totals look more like a TT ride? Or is this all nonsense?

Do you see what I'm inquiring about? Here are my indoor totals for the past 28 days:



These totals are a low on the high end because it's just November and I haven't been doing much high end..
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Old 11-09-21, 04:05 PM
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Last 90 days.



This is probably not a completely accurate chart because I don't have PM on my CX bike, so there's a chunk of high intensity work missing.
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Old 11-09-21, 06:01 PM
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intervals.icu plots this really well and will give you the distribution categorization for any period you specify. I aim for a pyramidal yearly/season distribution. For individual rides I try to polarize them as much as possible. Either mostly easy with minimal surges, or accumulating as much time at intensity as possible.
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Old 11-10-21, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I'm looking for other riders' accumulated totals over long training periods to see if those long-term totals look like the A rides for which they are training. My training ride totals, perhaps accidentally, do match up rather well to my A rides. Does a hard-core crit rider have the same experience? Many riders on here emphasize sweet-spot, sweet-spot, sweet-spot. I would then expect the rides for which they are training to have a lot of sweet-spot and their accumulated totals to be similar. Or if all you did was short TTs, would your training totals look more like a TT ride? Or is this all nonsense?

Do you see what I'm inquiring about? Here are my indoor totals for the past 28 days:

These totals are a low on the high end because it's just November and I haven't been doing much high end..
Okay, looking at my A-Events vs accumulated totals over the last year:-

Z1 : 47% vs 40% (Active Recovery)
Z2 : 19% vs 25% (Endurance)
Z3: 15% vs 17% (Tempo)
Z4: 10% vs 11% (Threshold)
Z5: 9% vs 7% (VO2 Max and above)

So reasonably close overall. Note that the above totals do include my event rides, but there are only half a dozen of those vs hundreds of training rides and indoor sessions.
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Old 11-10-21, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
Okay, looking at my A-Events vs accumulated totals over the last year:-

Z1 : 47% vs 40% (Active Recovery)
Z2 : 19% vs 25% (Endurance)
Z3: 15% vs 17% (Tempo)
Z4: 10% vs 11% (Threshold)
Z5: 9% vs 7% (VO2 Max and above)

So reasonably close overall. Note that the above totals do include my event rides, but there are only half a dozen of those vs hundreds of training rides and indoor sessions.
Helpful. Thanks for your time!
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