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Zone 4 Days

Old 08-09-22, 03:52 PM
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Zone 4 Days

So about how much time is typical doing zone 4 (lactate threshold) effort on a "Zone 4" workout day?

Coggan writes that Zone 4 workouts are "typically performed in training as multiple 'repeats', 'modules', or 'blocks' of 10-30 min duration".

I did some Zone 4 climbing "blocks" today, governed by the terrain (Mt. Hamilton Road). "Block 1" was about 35 minutes, followed by a short descent. "Block 2" was about 20 minutes. Then I headed down, and the last return "block" was about 8 minutes. I felt fresh enough to do more, but I figured that 60 minutes of Zone 4 was adequate (and I'm watching out to avoid overtraining).

Garmin Connect says:
  • Training effect aerobic: 4.3
  • Training stress score (TSS): 161
  • Intensity factor (IF): 0.914



Any recommendations? Am I being sensible, or just overly cautious?
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Old 08-09-22, 08:50 PM
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My daily z4 is two blocks of 15 minutes with 15 minutes of high cadence z3 "break" in between.

Twice a week, I do 1 hr 15 minutes z4, no breaks preceded by 45 mins of two z3 blocks and one z4 block for warm up. All this, indoor training. I feel I can still do more time but free time is pretty limited.

I have two rest days a week which may include a lower back massage from mom Massage helps a huge deal. My lower back can be in pain and after the massage, it's mostly gone.

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Old 08-10-22, 01:03 AM
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I always laugh when I see a z4 workout prescribed that is maybe 4x8 or something. That's barely more than Vo2 and for pros, they probably do do 32 minutes or more of Vo2.

I agree with your point on overtraining. Yes z4 is technically defined by 1 hour max, but actually doing that is a lot of stress so I wouldn't want to do 2x40 too often, or at all. I started my z4 block earlier in the year with 2x15 then 2x20, 2x25, to 2x30 which I did a few times.
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Old 08-10-22, 04:25 AM
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Terry.....your 7 day load is over 180 TSS/day with pretty high intensity? What is your TSB and CTL? You mention frequently your concern about overtraining. If your FTP is set correctly, this is a very, very high load. Not saying it is too high because I have been there and higher myself. But I'd say your playing with fire, if FTP is correct.

As to Zone 4, I tend to do them just over FTP and for 8-10 minutes on a certain climb. But rarely do those but sometimes.
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Old 08-10-22, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Terry.....your 7 day load is over 180 TSS/day with pretty high intensity? What is your TSB and CTL? You mention frequently your concern about overtraining. If your FTP is set correctly, this is a very, very high load. Not saying it is too high because I have been there and higher myself. But I'd say your playing with fire, if FTP is correct.

As to Zone 4, I tend to do them just over FTP and for 8-10 minutes on a certain climb. But rarely do those but sometimes.
I tend to agree with this. I'm actually surprised someone that assuming their ftp is set correctly and is busting a 1000 TSS/week has to ask this question. If I were spending that amount of time/effort I would make damn sure it was spent perfectly.

Z4 is pretty broad, from including high quality sweetspot all the way to your 20min PR power level. I personally feel like reading Slowtwitch and places is that you go for the "more time" earlier in a training cycle and go for "more quality" that is event specific closer to the event.

So for TT for example, you might try to get in a LOT of Z4 sweetspot time earlier in training. Like, a whole lot. Then closer to the event, dial it back to 2x20's, 3x15's, under/overs and such. My Z4 is 40w wide. There's a lot of variability in workouts you can design or leverage in a breadth of 40w. From 2hrs down to probably 35min.

The answer is "it depends" on the phase of training IMO.
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Old 08-10-22, 08:53 AM
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I did not want to comment on training because there are so many approaches and some athletes respond better to volume than intensity and the biggest unknown is what type of event Terry is prepping for. I suspect his FTP is higher than thought and intensity is a little lower than indicated. I tend to respond to approaches advocated by ignacio san millan, seiler, couzens, maffetone, etc. but clearly I am in the minority because I have tons of time on my hands and it works for me.


https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/z...ance-athletes/
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Old 08-10-22, 11:51 AM
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I agree with the above - it varies. Varies with who you are, how old you are, what you're trying to do, where you are in your training cycle. I've found that failure is the best teacher, success not so much. Experiment and see what happens after a few months. Disaster? Success? Watch your HRV and HRs. Everybody's different.

I've found that an hour of Z4, distributed throughout the zone, with 20' of Z5 per week, and with a good bit of Z2 and Z3, not so much Z1, done for a few months, will allow me to do most anything I want to do - have fun with the group, do 400k in the mountains, event rides, whatever. Not racing success, just fun. Racing success is another story entirely, one I've not pursued, being lucky to not have sufficient talent for that, and thus avoiding many issues over the decades and now still at it..
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Old 08-10-22, 02:43 PM
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Being cautious about overtraining? Have you ever actually over trained and experienced it? You might just be too cautious and not doing enough to be what you can be.

Overtraining when it's recognized isn't a bad thing. Just lets you know you've bumped up against your limit. When you do it a few times you'll know better how hard you can push things to stay just on the good side of it.
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Old 08-10-22, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Terry.....your 7 day load is over 180 TSS/day with pretty high intensity? What is your TSB and CTL? You mention frequently your concern about overtraining. If your FTP is set correctly, this is a very, very high load. Not saying it is too high because I have been there and higher myself. But I'd say your playing with fire, if FTP is correct.
Thanks for your feedback.

I reckon my FTP is set somewhat low, as I haven't done a true all-out, 20-minute FTP test. I'm just going with what Garmin estimates automatically, which right now is 2.98 W/kg.

Can you explain what TSB and CTL are? I'm not familiar with those terms.

As far as total training load goes, Garmin Connect tells me I am staying within the green "optimal" band:


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Old 08-10-22, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I did not want to comment on training because there are so many approaches and some athletes respond better to volume than intensity and the biggest unknown is what type of event Terry is prepping for.
I've signed up for an uphill time trial in October. About 3 miles long, average 5.6%.
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Old 08-10-22, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Thanks for your feedback.

I reckon my FTP is set somewhat low, as I haven't done a true all-out, 20-minute FTP test. I'm just going with what Garmin estimates automatically, which right now is 2.98 W/kg.

Can you explain what TSB and CTL are? I'm not familiar with those terms.

As far as total training load goes, Garmin Connect tells me I am staying within the green "optimal" band:


​​​​​​I'm assuming you know what TSS (training stress score) is?

ATL is Acute Training Load. It's what you've done recently. In TSS. This is a gauge of your fatigue.

CTL is Chronic Training Load. It's what you've done for the last while. Also in TSS. This is a gauge of your fitness.

TSB is Training Stress Balance, it's the difference between CTL and ATL.

Those are old skool bike guy terms, Coggan stuff. Garmin's Training Load feature is entirely different. It gets a similar name because it's trying to answer the same question, but it works completely differently. The Garmin one is an estimate of how much excess post exercise oxygen consumption is going on based on HR data.
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Old 08-10-22, 05:39 PM
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Garmin is useless for monitoring fatigue.

It has my FTP off by at least 40 watts and has had my VO2 max off by 20 ml/kg in the past.

Bottomline. If you are feeling good with your training and the results are showing good as well, keep with it. 1200-1400 TSS load over 7 days is a ton. Garmin has me at just over 700 TSS for 7 days and my preferred package has me at about 490 TSS or about 70 TSS per day down from the mid 80's.

1200-1400 TSS/week would be a load typical for a Kona Ironman at a high level but their IF averages are more like 0.65. So, it is likely Garmin also made a mistake on your FTP as they do on mine. For instance, I did 401 watts for a little over 10 minutes and they bumped my FTP up from 268 to 269 watts. That is beyond stupid. I do not trust garmin at all.
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Old 08-11-22, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Garmin is useless for monitoring fatigue.
I don't even see a fatigue report in Garmin Connect.

But here's what Training Peaks shows at the moment:
  • Fatigue (ATL) 92
  • Fitness (CTL) 53
  • Form -38
Fatigue and fitness has been rising for weeks; form is fairly constant. But other than some low-level soreness in the quads, I feel fine.


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Old 08-11-22, 08:25 AM
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definitely more reasonable overall loads in trainingpeaks. Your ramp rate (increase in load per week) is about at the limit. Looks like 15-20% per week. A lot but not crazy. If you feel worn down, you have certainly earned a couple days rest and a recovery week. I used to be able to do 12-15% but am more only like able to build up at 5-10% per week, I don't know why. Age?
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Old 08-11-22, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I don't even see a fatigue report in Garmin Connect.


It's when the black line is above the green bar.

This feature gets the name "training load" because it's trying to answer the same questions as the TSS system. This is one of those questions. It's just presented differently.

Which one works best for a person tends to depend on lifestyle. If cycling is the only exercise you get, the TSS system will probably be more precise for you - as long as your FTP is reasonably correct. If you run, swim, etc, then your power data only tells you anything about your cycling and the Garmin system works much better because it's holistic.
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Old 08-21-22, 08:32 AM
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The huge issue with ramp rates is folks get into the mentality that if you take some time off during a macro or mesocycle. Thing is, you HAVE to in order for the body to adapt and realize gains.

Easiest way to understand that is to imagine a person who rides 6 days a week nonstop for like 3 months never going below 90% of their weekly TSS. That's IMO the wrong way to do it.

It's not a straight line between starting CTL and goal CTL. It should have a few peaks and valleys as it increases over time. The valleys being larger rest periods, in other words a week with perhaps 50% your weekly TSS.
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