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zone 2 cycling

Riding Stronger, Living Longer: Zone 2 Training’s Incredible Benefits

It seems that recently everyone has been talking about Zone 2 endurance cycle training. In the dynamic world of cycling achieving peak performance and lasting vitality is a shared aspiration. Among the various training techniques, Zone 2 endurance training has emerged as a game-changer for both enhancing cycling performance and nurturing longevity.

In this article, we delve into the science-backed benefits of Zone 2 training, shedding light on how it can revolutionize your cycling journey and positively impact your overall well-being.

One of my many challenges as an Online Cycle Coach is to help the client understand the benefits and stick to that intensity. For many, they think that riding “slow” will not make them faster and it can be hard to change their mindset.

GCN Why Riding Slower Makes You Faster: The Secrets Of Zone 2 Training

I have found that once they witness the benefits which can take some time they never look back! For any of the cynical athletes who don’t believe it’s benefits on cycling then it has also been proved by many medical doctors like Peter Attia and Iñigo San Millán to improve health and longevity.

GCN Zone 2 & Beyond: Training Secrets From Dr Iñigo San Millán (Tadej Pogačar’s Coach)

Understanding Zone 2 Endurance Cycle Training

Zone 2 endurance training in cycling refers to a specific intensity level of cardiovascular exercise that is used to build endurance, improve aerobic capacity, and enhance overall cycling performance. It’s part of a structured training approach based on heart rate zones. Zone 2 typically corresponds to a specific range of heart rate or power output, which is usually a percentage of your maximum heart rate or functional threshold power (FTP). The exact boundaries of Zone 2 can vary depending on the training methodology and the athlete’s individual fitness level, but it generally falls between 56-75% of FTP and 60-70% of your maximum heart rate.

Don’t have a power meter or Heart Rate monitor? You can still ride at this intensity based on feel. You should be able to hold a conversation, not as easy as sitting in  a chair but not out of breath and struggling.

The Benefits for Cycling Performance

  1. Enhanced Aerobic Capacity: Zone 2 training targets the aerobic energy system, enabling your body to efficiently utilize oxygen for energy production. This is acheived through improving mitochondria function. This results in improved oxygen delivery to muscles during rides, ultimately boosting your endurance capacity and delaying the onset of fatigue.
  2. Increased Fat Utilization: Training in Zone 2 encourages your body to rely on fat as a primary energy source, conserving glycogen for higher-intensity efforts. This adaptation is crucial for longer rides and races, as it helps prevent the dreaded “bonking.”
  3. Improved Efficiency: Zone 2 training helps enhance your pedaling efficiency and technique. By maintaining a consistent cadence and focusing on proper form during these rides, you’ll develop a smoother pedal stroke that maximizes power output.
  4. Increase FTP: Becoming more efficient in Zone 2 will increase the power at all the zones above including FTP.
  5. Recovery and Adaptation: Endurance rides in Zone 2 promote active recovery. They increase blood flow to muscles without causing excessive stress, aiding in recovery from more intense training sessions and reducing the risk of overtraining.

The Longevity Connection

  1. Heart Health: Zone 2 training is an excellent way to promote cardiovascular health. It strengthens the heart muscle, improves circulation, and lowers resting heart rate, reducing the risk of heart-related diseases.
  2. Weight Management: Riding in Zone 2 promotes fat loss due to increased fat utilization. Maintaining a healthy weight can contribute to a longer and more active life
  3. Joint Health: Endurance training is low-impact, reducing the strain on joints while still providing a challenging workout. This is especially beneficial as we age and joint health becomes increasingly important.
  4. Stress Reduction: Cycling in Zone 2 has a calming effect on the body, reducing stress hormones and promoting mental well-being. Long rides offer opportunities for mindfulness and relaxation, contributing to a balanced life.


Zone 2 endurance training isn’t just a strategy for cycling performance; it’s a path to holistic well-being and longevity. By cultivating a robust aerobic base, you’ll not only elevate your cycling prowess but also pave the way for a healthier, more vibrant life. So, saddle up and embark on a journey that intertwines the joy of cycling with the promise of lasting vitality. Your body, heart, and mind will thank you for it in the years to come.

James Walsgrove

My cycling career started in 2005 when I purchased my first road bike and I was immediately hooked. Since then I have completed numerous cycling challenges including Ironman, Lands’ End to John O Groats, Mt Ventoux (all 3 ascents), London to Paris, the BBAR challenge which included a 12hour TimeTrial and more recently the Mallorca 312.

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