Steady endurance or tempo riding is a path to injury and fatigue


I think the key is the variation and perhaps taking a 5 minute break in the middle of it to fill the bottles, etc. It seems to me from what has been said here and in the podcast, that it’s the steady, long ride that is the problem. Standing for a minute, doing a lower cadence, a higher cadence, an attack on a hill and then going really easy for a minute, all of these will reduce the risks of overuse injuries. That’s been my takeaway so far.


Ok. I always choose a course with hills like watopia figure 8 and go hard up the climbs always sure to stand for at least 30 seconds, then have a little rest before going back up to cruising speed. There is also one or two breaks for water refills and bathroom. Maybe I don’t have to worry then?


I’m not saying don’t do long rides. I do long rides for sure. Today 3hrs and tomorrow 4hrs. BUT, don’t ride steady. It’s the steady, tempo rides that just make you tired and stress the tendons. So for me, I generally don’t do anything for longer than 12 minutes at a time and within that 12 minutes I have lots of variation.

Standing, seated, high cadence, low cadence, changing power zones from Z3 to Z5+. It’s really hard to do this on the fly (while riding). You need to plan out these rides in advance and have a purpose. Otherwise you will fall back into Z2/3 @ 80 RPMs.

For example, I like to do what I call dirty tempo. It’s a 10 - 12 minute effort.
50" @ Z2 (266 watts) around 80 RPMS / then standing 10" @ Z4+ (400 watts) at 80RPMS+ .

then recover for a few minutes and do the next “tempo” effort

Try another 10’ broken down into

  • 3’ seated @ Z2, 100RPMS ,
  • 2’ standing @ Z3 70 RPMS,
  • 3’ seated @ Z2, 100RPMS ,
  • 2’ standing @ Z3 70 RPMS,

Can you see how something like this would put less stress on the tendons, while actually accomplishing something in the workout? You can practice transition control between standing / seated and between high cadence / low cadence.

Hope this helps.


Oh @dfriestedt, thank you! That helps a lot and makes much more sense. These things I can do and kind of do them already but will now make sure I am more deliberate about them. :grinning:


I agree with Marc’s and Drew’s comments. You can also “sandwich” your workout for the day, so ride for 20 min freely, do the workout, then add more saddle time after and make it one longer ride with lots of variation.

On the planning side, though, doing 3h+ rides every weekend is not necessary, even with the events you have planned, and definitely not at this point in the season. You are better off doing more condensed workouts instead of riding 4-5 hs every Saturday, for example. That will not make you faster. You are better off doing 2 harder rides of 2hs and 2-3hs on Saturday and Sunday, respectively (if your schedule allows). You have a solid aerobic base, you don’t need to be building it anymore, just maintaining it. And if you want to workout more, do some strength and yoga (off the bike stuff). I don’t do any winter sports either.

Again, just be careful not to be holding a stress load as high as you would during the outdoor season. We will start building volume later in January. I can only advise you to take it easy for a few weeks and follow the program… it’s up to you to follow it. But I guarantee you that riding 4-5 hs every week from now until March/April will only build fatigue and be detrimental later on in the season.


So I did a harder 3 hour ride today that began with the SST workout and I liked it! I varied power and cadence and also worked on keeping steady power but varying cadence in a rolling part of the course. All the variation made it much more interesting though I didn’t get to zone out much :grin: Afterwards I was definitely tired but didn’t feel as wasted as I usually do so I think this is good!

I would love to be able to do two harder but shorter rides over the two weekend days but Sunday is the only weekend day my husband has off so I am off bike and spending time with him. I do strength and or yoga on Sundays, but maybe I will do both? Strength first followed by easy yoga for some good stretching.

I will make sure I don’t do 4-5 hours every Saturday, promise! And my TSS so far is about 200-250 lower than what it was in summer since I am not doing any outdoor rides and came to my senses and decided not to do the SweatFest race series :grinning:


@dfriestedt has some great points that everyone should consider. It is one of the reasons we try to vary the efforts in the longer rides. For triathletes, the needs are a bit different than those of cyclists. You don’t need to respond to attacks and cover moves. You do, however, need to surge to pass people. That’s why we rarely do any long steady-state work, unless it is on a recovery ride. Then, the target is just a ceiling to keep you in check.

Probably the most important point that Drew made is the need to recover during recovery. I generally miss most of the stars for recovery periods when doing workouts on Zwift. I recover at an effort that allows me to recover. That being said, not all recovery is the same. Don’t confuse letting off the gas of an SST interval during over-unders as recovery. I’m talking full-blown recovery when you are rolling at 50-60 percent of FTP.

As for setting up your week, you can see that Drew doesn’t take an off day. He does a core/plyo regime on days without rides. I generally do the same, no off day or one every three or four weeks, but I also have to throw in swimming and running. Not everyone can handle that load due to their life-work-training balance. Make sure that you don’t overcook yourself and don’t get the proper rest. One thing that I know Drew does well is get his sleep. It is very difficult to hold that kind of schedule if you don’t eat properly and don’t get enough sleep.


I like picking an event that will take a similar time as my endurance ride and if I feel I have more in the tank I push if I don’t feel like pushing and want to ride with friends then I pull it in a ride with friends which removes some of this steady state stuff. I was just having a conversation with a friend about treating indoor endurance rides like IRL do an event at a similar effort but at least it will have ebb and flows and add the natural variation that we need I think and that seems to be the consensus of the thread.