Zone 2 training

I’m what Xert call a “GC Specialist”, well specialist is perhaps a bit strong. I’m a veteran; read, old-timer weekend warrior who enjoys training. I can see the advantages of using Xert for many, but how do you get Xert to suggest a polarized Z2 plan? I understand the concept of “Moderate 1-2” etc but the suggested workouts do seem geared to sweetspot rather than polarized…or am I mistaken?

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Xert is hybrid polarized by default –
Sweet Spot, Threshold and Polarized Training … By the Numbers – Xert (

You can bend Xert to your will through your selections and filter options.
If you want less tempo/sweet-spot intervals during endurance workouts, scan the recommended lists (Including Load More) for mostly blue and less aqua or green. Or use Filter and set to Pure Endurance and look for the same.

Most Xert endurance workouts that include tempo/sweet-spot intervals, pass through that zone rather than hang there like traditional SS work (X minutes at X%). IME that makes a big difference.
OTOH if I want easy/easy I go for blue. :smiley:

As far as Athlete Type goes, make sure to experiment over time by either changing type or use Filter to modify Focus for the day. That is how I discovered some of my favorite workouts.

Yes, I’ve been playing with that option.
I’ve using the free version of Xert of and on for for several years now always leaving because I found it too complicated and lacking for my needs. With the advent of the AI Beta version I thought perhaps things had changed so decided to try the paid version. I have to admit, I still find it overly complicated and if I have to keep scanning to find focused workouts I fail to see the point of it. However, having said that, I’ll stick with it and hopefully my learning curve will overcome my misgivings. Thanks for your reply RidgeRider2

You mentioned you set Goals to Challenge with Athlete Type to GC Specialist.
That’s going to give you harder workouts at that Focus Duration whenever form calculation is fresh/blue. Plus, TL will increase over the 4 weeks based on your ramp rate setting (IR).

If you’re not seeing enough yellow/tired on the Planner for your means, drag the Recovery Demands slider to the right. That will lower the strain on those days.

You may have noticed during my 120+ day phased progression experiment, I selected from the top four entries most of the time and I am not a fan of traditional SS. :wink:
If you like/dislike workouts over time :+1:/:-1:, your liked favorites float to the top of recommended lists in the future.

What type of how-to videos/instructions are you looking for?
I can add something to my Onboarding topic if that helps.

Thanks for this very positive answer RidgeRider2.
Basically let me say I am fairly IT and training savvy but as I mentioned, Xert confuses me.
So my wish would be a video focused on step by step first time use, not features, but how to set it up and use it as a non elite cyclist on a PC. How to create a plan properly. (I’m past racing)
I’ll read your 120+ article. I’ve also had a really dreadful past 12 months, so basically starting from scratch again.

It’s worth remembering that you don’t have to do any of the recommended workouts, if you read the training advice given for a particular day, you are free to interpret that to suit your needs/wants, so you could do one of the recommended workouts, which will usually match the advice given. However, for something like a recommendation for ‘Endurance’ , you can just either go outside and ride ‘zone 2’ or free ride on Zwift ,again in ‘zone 2’ (Xert has a different model with 3 energy systems, but essentially the traditional zone 2 is what you are probably after) the issue with this is that to acquire the recommended XSS for your chosen ramp rate will take longer than if you were to do a sweetspot workout.

The key to Xert isn’t necessarily to just pick from the recommended workouts, but to look at the advice for the day and use your judgement on what works best for you to follow that. If you have the time, then I suspect those longer ‘zone 2’ rides are a better match for endurance training, but if you’re stuck indoors then compromising a little by doing sweetspot work is fine. It’s probably worth reading up on ‘Focus’ or watching some of the videos about it, as once you get your head around that, you’ll be much better placed to take on and use the Xata advice for your own ends.

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Thanks for your input Sean.
Yes, I think you have a point. I was probably looking for the traditional “training plan” with Xert tweaks whilst choosing GC Specialist as my type. Unfortunately, with 1 meter of snow outside, cycling is a no go at present for me until April time and coming from a horrendous 12 months I need to build slowly again so was probably looking for an easy fix. However, having said that, I do find Xert somewhat confusing, hence my looking for advice from you experts. :smiley:

The main advice I could give you is to look at the fitness needle on the Training page, as long as you are keeping that between 10 o’clock - 2 o’clock you are on target. Unfortunately (I dearly wish there was) there are no quick fixes to gaining fitness, it’s always going to be a balancing act between intensity and duration, hence why sweetspot became so popular.

I find setting things a little low (such as improvement rate) and adding extra as/when I can is better for me than constantly trying to chase a deficit, also be aware that Xert doesn’t schedule in traditional recovery weeks like other apps, so when you’re ready for a break dial things back a touch, change improvement rate to taper and also alter your freshness (in goals) maybe to reduce the demands until you’re rested .

If you really want to gain a good understanding of Xert, I’d select a TED 120days program and let it take you through the three phases, during the base phase you could experiment with seeing how free riding ‘zone 2’ gains you xss against some of the sweetspot workouts, I’ve found a mix of both works quite well for me.

1 metre snow sounds grim, makes my rainy ride to work I’m about to do now seem less daunting.

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I’ll look up TED 120days program.
Yes, sadly getting back is getting harder and harder these days. I’ve just taken 3 weeks off with a couple of gym visits and now some easy Z2 rides on the turbo. I had noticed that Xert doesn’t allow for recovery weeks and it also doesn’t automatically have a “build” phase but goes straight into training for, in my case, GC Specialist. I had thought the AI Beta would have picked up on that. I had also hoped it would generate workouts based on my poor performance in 2023, Anyway, you live and learn. :grinning: