Free riding to hit targets - when to put intensity

I’m curious what is the best way to structure a free ride. Back-load intensity, Front-load, or spread evenly, or “it depends”.

To give an example, if I have 180 XSS ride taking about 3 hours for something like mixed breakaway specialist, is it best to…
Back-load (ride 90 mins Endurance to get Low Strain without swapping physiology out of Zone 2. Then do 90 mins with the intervals to pull it into the focus.)
Front-load (do 60-90 mins of intensity, then ride easy till XSS reached
Spread evenly (spread intervals throughout the whole 180, likely meaning longer recoveries

Not specifically a Xert specific answer but the common suggestion is to do the key work component (intervals) and then add Z2, sub LTP to increase to suggested XSS.

I think you’ll find varying answers on this - I could see both ways being beneficial:

  • At the beginning, you’ll be most fresh, so you will be setting yourself up to push to the best of your fitness on the hard intervals and then ride sub-LTP afterwords to use up all the lactate.
  • Saving intervals until the end of the ride will allow you to practice your nutrition strategy. You will also be tired (and the ride difficulty will already be higher), so you’ll be practicing your ability to express your signature late into a ride or when difficulty score is higher.

Thanks. I’ll take that as an it depends on my goals or needs at the time/ keep some variety of both.

For me it’s more about starting irregular intervals whenever traffic and terrain permit and continuing until the XSS goal for the day is reached. Or until I’m cooked if Focus Duration target isn’t an endurance level ride.

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