Zone 2 trainer rides - thoughts on breaking the monotony?

Any hints for breaking up the monotony of zone 2 rides on a trainer?

I’ve completed the resistance plan and am in SS1 on the way to SS2 and SS3 before my August A ride.

Weather and work are keeping me indoors for the weekday workouts. Would love your thoughts on how to keep those zone 2 rides from wearing me out!

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It’s hard and that’s why riding outdoors can never be beat. Platforms such as Zwift have helped. Some group rides there are controlled and help pass the time.

You could do some work with your cadence, vary power from top end of zone to the middle, work on riding in a more aero position a la I’m the drops and etc.

Zone 2 is still the foundation of training so it’s important to get in and do. Though if most zone 2 weekday rides are indoors and it’s burning you out mentally you could cut back overall time. Maybe just keep them to 60 maybe 90 minutes.

Weekends are different and we have had many discussions on this forum about increasing your effort, meeting TSS goals cutting time and etc. But that’s more for the long weekend rides.

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I am in week 6 of the 18 week SS plan and yesterday had an Endurance with Sprints workout. It was only a max effort sprint for 5 secs every 10 minutes, but it broke the Z2 ride into 10 minute sections and did not seem as boring as usual. Might give it a try.


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Lately I have been plowing thru youTube videos and netflix. Sit 'n spin and enjoy. Podcasts are great too

Here is a nice training tip speaking of podcasts about keeping indoor training fun and still productive. Remember you are FtFP’ing and that sound be motivation enough - make it turn green!


This helps me a lot. I’ve also broken the pedalstroke into quadrants and focus on one particular quadrant for 1 minute then move on to the next. Also done some out of the saddle at low cadence for 5-10 minutes at a time. That’ll probably raise the HR a bit so not sure if that’s bad. I do it indoors because I tend to outdoors.


Zwift group rides can help in two ways - they are scheduled so you have a definite start time (no procrastination!) and they’re just engaging enough that you won’t spend every second thinking of quitting.

My strategy if I have a 2 hr workout for example is to plan out the timing so I do a 1 hour free ride than go right into a 1 hour group ride. There are regular “Sub 2 w/kg” rides with controlled pacing that work pretty well for me for zone 2.


Yeah Scott I find the same. it gets you to start since there is a ‘start’ time. I also look to do a warm up and cool down. So an hour group ride can easily turn into a 1.5 - 2 hour training ride, but not feel like a typical 2 hour trainer ride. But it’s all about finding the right group, that fits your pace and is controlled.


Yeah that’s the issue I’ve found this year compared to previous years on zwift. The slower group rides are too slow and the next “level” up group ride is just above z2 or more.

I’ve found this year that with erg mode off, some routes are really good at making you pay constant attention to your watts because elevation changes. That constant, having to pay attention as the grade changes and then adjust cadence or shift, has made the time go by a lot faster for me. Similar to doing a group ride where you always need to pay attention so you don’t fall off the back or look like a douche way off the front.


Thanks all - I’m recognizing my own OCD that when a plan pops up in Zwift I must ride it exactly to #FtFP. Particularly for a Z2 ride, that’s not really the case.

On some days when I’m forced indoors, I’ll look to break up the official workouts by modifying them in TrainingPeaks to force variation over the ride (e.g., zone 2 ‘over-unders’ varying the wattage within the ride while remaining in Z2) or even pulling in the endurance+sprints workout that Jim mentioned (which appears way at the end of SS3 in my plans!)

Other days, I’ll treat it as a road ride and focus on manually staying in zone 2 as I would on the road - either in a zwift group (same issues with finding a good group match) or solo.

Worst case, I’ll shift some zone 2 out to the weekends to kinda-mostly-sorta ftfp.


I’m the exact same way. I don’t have a power meter outside, so if I’m going to do a plan I want to follow the intervals (especially) exactly they way they are intended. So last year using fascat on zwift, I was doing all the z2 rides in erg and it’s definitely more mind-numbing that way. Doing the intervals I mostly have no issues staying focused using erg but for the longer Z2 rides I’ve been turning erg off and that has helped a lot and I’m still hitting my target keeping the power in the right zone a majority of the ride.

  • Tempus Feguit course is great for holding Z2 if you don’t want to worry about having to shift gears all the time.

Spring classics on youtube. Older the better IMO. I find that music makes the time pass faster than anything else. Also seems to help me power through the SS work.


For the first time, I’ve been all in on Zwift this winter which is going great EXCEPT I’m starting to miss watching one day classics on YouTube. That used to be my go to boredom buster.

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I’m doing both. If I’m indoors, it’s on Zwift. If I need it mentally, I fire up youtube, Flo sports, GCN, and occasionally Netflix and watch that over Zwift.

I use the companion app to keep an eye on upcoming intervals/power changes if that’s in the cards for the day.

It does mean I won’t notice nor respond to ride-ons, so apologies in advance.

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Erg and zone 2 maybe the worse idea. Good to get little bumps and stuff to stretch the legs a bit, get out of the saddle.

I also do find there is quite the jump in group ride efforts on Zwift. Either too easy or too hard. Lol. It’s amazing when you put a group of cyclist together how quickly it can turn into a race.

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I’ve found erg/workout mode & zone 2 to be helpful in training my legs and body on what zone 2 should feel like. Of course, I definitely hit too much of it to bore my brain out!

On the road, now that I have a power meter, it feels like the benefit comes at the end of the ride, when my RPE ticks up a bit to stay in (higher) power zone 2. I now work to keep the power in the range until the end of the workout.

So far, so good. I was ridiculously happy to turn TP green this past weekend with a 2.5 hr zone 2 ride where I magically hit 2.5 hours (after TP pulled out a couple of stops & the traffic lights) & my smoothed power was pretty much right on target (minus a couple of little climbs).

That said, it looks like Training Peaks just turns green based on time, not TSS.

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You can change what TP uses to grade compliance with planned targets among time, distance and/or TSS in settings e.g. I use TSS and time in that order.

From Help - “To adjust the priority of the data (Duration/Distance/TSS) used to trigger your color coding or turn it off completely go to your account settings > Layout > Calendar”


Thanks Scott - didn’t know that!

Of course, that just turned my last Saturday ride yellow. I totally over-cooked the TSS on a ‘group sweet-spot ride’. The group was a bit too fast for me and it showed - far closer to a zone 5/6 interval workout.

Ah well. That group is responsible for getting me out on the road this winter, so I’ll take that.

Would it be advisable or not advisable to split these 2 hour zone 2 workouts into two separate 1 hr blocks? For example, 1 hr in the morning and 1 hr in the evening. Put another way, is it more important to get one solid block of zone 2 or just reach the TSS for the day.

It not give you the same benefits. Yes you would get the same TSS in the day but the aerobic fitness you want to build is not the same as you are giving your body time to recover between the two.

One great way to see how you are doing and your aerobic fitness is by watching your heart rate. Throughout an endurance ride does your heart rate increase at the same power? When does this happen? Over time you want to see this point further and further into a ride.

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VeloViewer and Zwift Insider made a Zwift route ranking thing, it harvests from your strava which Zwift routes you’ve completed. There’s enough routes of different lengths to fit about any workout length you have. I’ve been entertaining myself completing them for the bonus xp and eventually you’ll need to get those long routes done, gives a goal to go long sometimes.

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