Split up Zone 1-2 workouts? | 80/20 Endurance

Split up Zone 1-2 workouts?

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    I might have missed or forgotten this from the book and site articles (apologies if so!), but I wondered, for the sake of making a weekly workout schedule work with other parts of the “life schedule”, is there any downside (any at all) to taking any zone 1-2 workout that isn’t considered the “long”, endurqnce workout of the week for that discipline, and splitting it into two workouts of half the duration? So, for example if I have CRe9, with 60 minutes of Z1 on the calendar, would doing 2 workouts with 30 mins at Z1, fit into my weekly schedule, have the same fitness/training impact or would the impact be degraded?

    The broader question: When is it ok, if ever, to split a workout into two, and when should it be avoided (what types of workouts, what zones they are training, etc.) and *not* be compromising training impact?

    Matt Fitzgerald

    I don’t think there’s a downside to this type of adjustment. Physiologically, the difference in impact on your body is minuscule, and not entirely negative. And sometimes practically trumps physiology anyway.


    Thanks, @Matt. Can you elaborate a bit more on when I can split a long workout into parts, either all scheduled to be completed in a single day or scattered across the week, and when I should not do that? Any specific scientific studies that are helpful on this question? What kinds of workouts can be split up and what should not be? If you want to look at specifics, I’m in Half Level 2. It’s my understanding that a race simulation which gives me a sense of the exhaustion, my power/pacing, and completion of a workout that somewhat resembles the race makes sense as a priority to keep intact. And I wouldn’t expect to split a workout up in the middle of intervals – so a bike like CCI14 with 4 x 7 mins at Zone 3, I’d keep all of the intervals together. But how about the 30 mins of Zone 1-2 after the intervals, or what about a 2 hr run like RAe11 in week 15? What if I did that run as 2 – 1 hour runs? I had made an exception in my original post for “long/endurance” – to keep them intact, and didn’t focus on any workouts with anything above Zones 1-2 in it, but now wonder if those too could be carved up into parts if necessary without any real degradation in training quality and adaptation. What are the guiding principles, beyond weekly volume and weekly zone distribution?

    On a related note about scheduling, is it suboptimal to move a swim or two swims to the Monday day off, and not have a single day in the week with a complete break from training? What’s most often done for the 50+ working triathlete? And if they move one or two swims to Monday, are they able to do this week over week (so then with zero days off) or more as an infrequent scheduling solution?

    Matt Fitzgerald

    There’s no relevant science in this area. Nearest thing I can think of is a comparison of the effects of doing leg extensions once a day every day or twice a day every other day. In the absence of science, common sense rules. I would definitely avoid breaking up interval sets and long endurance sessions if at all possible. Dividing the occasion 2-hour run into two 1-hour runs is okay–certainly better than shortening it to 1-hour–but if you do this habitually, your raw endurance will take a hit.

    With something like CCI14, I’d probably just do the intervals, cool down, and call it a day, not worrying about the extra low-intensity riding. Hardly seems worth sweating up another pair of bike shorts for!

    Your second question has a much simpler answer: https://www.8020endurance.com/understanding-the-difference-between-rest-and-recovery/

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