Cycling power zones | 80/20 Endurance

Cycling power zones

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  • #10464

    Hi there

    Is there a reason why the 80/20 cycling calculator has the top of zone 2 power at 83%, compared to the transitional 70% ?

    I feel that 70-83% of FTP isn’t “easy”, compared to the typical 65-70% that I’m used to for zone 2?

    Many thanks for your help.



    I created an account today to ask this exact question before I start my plan next week.

    I have always seen typical zone 2 power between 55-75% so 70-83% seems high to me also.

    I am completing a full distance IM plan so will spend a ton of time in zone 2 and want to make sure I not overdoing it.


    David Warden

    Interesting, we went 4 years and never had this question once, I’ve now had 4 inquiries in 4 weeks. I hope this means we’re recruiting more Coggan followers to our own cult.

    This has been my default response to all 4 inquiries, if it seems to be a canned response…. it is.

    First, there is no industry standard for “Zone 2.” It’s just the second tier in any proprietary zone system. Our Zone 2 could be another system’s Zone 1, Coggan lower Zone 3 includes the upper level of 80/20 Zone 2, and Coggan Zone 3 is mostly 80/20 Zone X, which we don’t use. The question could easily be reversed by asking why does Coggan Zone 2 include so much Zone X?

    I think the real question is: why does the easy of 80/20 include a zone 2 that starts at 70% of FTP? The answer is a) because we spend 80% of total time below VT it allows for a more aggressive “easy” and b) we prescribe 50% of our easy as Zone 1.

    Let’s assume two athletes each spending 5 hours a week cycling, one using 80/20 and one using Coggan. Let’s also assume that each athlete hits the middle segment of each zone for every workout in ERG mode. The 80/20 athlete would look like this:

    80/20 Athlete
    80% easy Zone 1 and 2 = 4 hours
    50% Zone 2 = 2 hours at 76% (middle of 80/20 Zone 2)
    50% Zone 1 = 2 hours at 60%

    Total easy average FTP penetration = 68% for 4 hours

    Coggan Athlete
    60% easy Zone 1 and 2 = 3 hours
    75% Zone 2 = 2.25 hours at 65% (middle of Coggan Zone 2)
    25% Zone 1 = 0.75 hours at 50%

    Total easy average FTP penetration = 60% for 3 hours

    In summary, the % of FTP done easy between the two is not that far off, but the total time spent easy is far more with 80/20. You’re 8% higher penetration into FTP with 80/20 but spending 25% more time easy. 80/20 can afford a higher Zone 2 because we prescribe so much more time in Zone 1 and avoid Zone X (second half of Coggan Zone 3) all together. Also, I thinking I’m being generous when I say 60% easy with other training systems, the default is 50% easy for most athletes.


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