Maximizing Performance with Zone 2 Training: The Key to Consuming Nutrition During Long Rides and Races
Last week's training tips covered the basics around periodization. This week we are going to take a deeper look into base training or what is commonly accepted as zone 2 training.
What is considered Zone 2 training?
Zone 2 training is typically performed at an intensity level between 60% to 80% of your FTP (functional threshold power), so make sure you have a good understanding of what your FTP is and use it as a guide for setting your target power levels during each session.
It's also important to listen to your body and adjust training plans as needed. If you're feeling fatigued, consider taking an extra rest day or reducing the intensity or duration of your training sessions. The goal of this training plan is to help you build endurance and increase your ability to use fat as a fuel source, so don't be afraid to start with shorter, less intense sessions and gradually build up as you get stronger and fitter.
Zone 2 Training: The Nutrition Element
To perform at our best, it's important that we take into consideration the caloric requirements of each workout. This not only helps prevent over-eating, but also ensures that we consume healthy and nutritious food that supports our training goals. Consuming junk food after a workout may provide a quick burst of energy, but it will not support our long-term goals and recovery
Five benefits of training in Zone 2 base training for cyclists:
Increased endurance: Zone 2 training helps improve your aerobic capacity, allowing you to ride longer and stronger at a sustainable pace.
Better fat burning: Zone 2 training trains your body to use fat as a fuel source, which can help you conserve glycogen and delay fatigue during longer rides.
Improved recovery: Zone 2 training is less intense and less stressful on the body than higher intensity training, allowing you to recover more quickly between sessions and reducing your risk of injury.
Increased efficiency: Zone 2 training helps improve your economy, allowing you to ride faster and farther using less energy, which can help you perform better in races and other high-intensity events.
Improved mental toughness: Zone 2 training can be challenging in its own way, as it requires you to maintain a steady pace for an extended period of time. This can help improve your mental toughness and resilience, which can be beneficial in a variety of cycling scenarios.
Sample Zone 2 Training week:
Let us take a look at what a sample zone 2 training week could look like during the base training period.
Here's a breakdown of the days per week and time commitments per day:
- Monday: 0 hours (rest day)
- Tuesday: 1 hour 30 minutes (90 minutes of upper Zone 2 training + 3x4 minute intervals at 110% of FTP)
- Wednesday: 30-45 minutes (easy recovery ride)
- Thursday: 1 hour 20 minutes (60 minutes of upper Zone 2 training + 2x10 minute intervals at FTP)
- Friday: 0 hours (rest day)
- Saturday: 3 hours (long endurance ride)
- Sunday: 1 hour (easy recovery ride)
The long ride on Saturday is a great opportunity to practice consuming nutrition during a challenging, multi-hour ride. And on Sunday, an easy recovery ride of 60 minutes will provide a final opportunity to practice consuming food and drink while riding at a lower intensity.
By incorporating Zone 2 training into your weekly training schedule, you can practice consuming adequate nutrition during rides and build the endurance and stamina needed to perform at your best during races. So give it a try and see how it can help you reach your cycling goals!