Following SS 18 plan workouts

I’m about 6 weeks into SS18 and am finding a few challenges that I could use your help with:

  1. workouts assume 5 minutes in zone 1 and then going into 36, 48 or 110 minute intervals - this is not always possible in California with stop signs, undulating roads etc. I often need at least 20-30 minutes to get to where I can start attempting 3x8 type intervals at zone 4 + 4 minutes in zone 2. Also, are these supposed to be done on flat roads or hills. I have a few 30 minute to one hour climbs where it is much easier to get into zone 4 than on a flat road - please advise.

  2. my workout today said 110 minutes zone 2 easy - I assume it’s ok to do longer than this 110 minute interval as again it took me 25 minutes riding at 100-130 bpm just to get to a road where I could start on 110 minutes in zone 2 from Napa to Calistoga on an undulating road with only one stop light. Often my rides end up taking 45 minutes to 1.5 hours longer than what the plan states because the plan assumes roads that don’t exist after a 5 minute warm up from my house:)

  3. dealing with wind - I mean significant head and cross winds - not sure what it is like in Boulder but it is windy in the north Bay and East Bay here in NorCal in the evenings when I work out and I’m finding on some of these interval workouts on flat or undulating roads or roads with less than a 3% grade that it is hard to get to 160bpm+ going into headwinds and crosswinds - even when going very hard. Please advise on what to do.

Also - I sometimes just run out of road for these workouts - meaning that after an 8 minute interval at zone 4 + 4 minutes in zone 2 that I have to turn around and descend in zone 2 (130bpm+) in order to then turn around and head back uphill to start the next 8 minute zone 4 interval (as the road is only 20 minutes long before it descends). I’m assuming this is ok to be doing the zone 2 on a descent as I can’t always be in a place where I have 36-48 minutes of uninterrupted roads or a sustained climb for this long.

The races that I do are typically 6-13,000 feet of climbing but none of the workouts give any information on flat vs. undulating vs. hilly vs. mountainous terrain so please advise on how to best select the right roads for workouts as the workout in training peaks doens’t provide any guidance.

Looking forward to Wildwest gravel and CO2UT gravel races in May and liking that I’m setting strava PR’s on days in zone 2 and setting times close to or better than local pro’s so something is working right!

Cheers from Napa

Hey Mark!
Just going to answer these in order:

  1. If adding in a bit of zone 2 will not impact your recovery/be too much, then do that until you get to a place where you can FtFP your intervals. You can wait to start your workout on your head unit or simply use the workout builder in TP to add in 20 min or so of zone 2 to account for that. Most athletes prefer to do intervals on a moderate grade, but it truly depends on what your races will be like. Since your race will have buckoo climbing then best to do your intervals on hilly terrain #racespecifictraining :ok_hand:t3:

  2. Again, if you are able to handle a bit more volume it is okay to add in some extra zone 2. However, 1.5 hours added is a bit on the high end. Ideally you’d ride interrupted, but thats obviously not possible for many athletes. So the best thing is just to choose a route with the fewest stops and if you do have to stop every now and thats ok. It won’t kill the workout, especially if it is just zone 2. Just be sure to pause your ride for the stops.

  3. Presuming it is a headwind, it should actually make the effort harder. If it is a tailwind, then probably best to do your interval in the opposite direction. Really, its about making the most out of it that you can. On race day, you never know what you will encounter so learning how to best hold your power and what you can do in different conditions is helpful. Also builds some mental toughness that’ll be helpful for CO2UT :wink:

We always encourage athletes to be proactive and do some research on routes in their area that will best. suit their workouts. If this is the best choice of road for you, then I would say it is best to do the 8 min interval, start to descend in zone 2 then begin to climb again in zone 2 before starting the interval. That way you are not adding in extra time between intervals.

Again, as I mentioned earlier. Do your intervals on terrain similar to what you are racing. So for you, that will be hilly, undulating gravel routes whenever possible.

Also HECK YEAH to those Strava PR’s. That could be a very good sign of things to come on race day! :raised_hands:t3:


I"m doing the same plan, I love doing my weekend rides outside but I prefer to do my weekday workouts on the trainer as they’re not that long and I find it easier to hold the prescribed power more consistently therefore I feel the workout integrity is greater, but that’s just me.


Thanks so much! Ok so in the future I do have a 50 minute climb in Napa that I can use for these (1x8 zone 4 + 1x4 zone 2) *3 type intervals. The 110 minute zone 2 are harder to do so I think I’ll do an undulating road for 1 hour+ and then climb for 50 minutes. Definitely a challenge to find the right roads since you don’t want sustained descents during these interval blocks. Appreciate your help!