The 10% Principle

Do you have a weekend ride planned, but part of you wants to get a workout in as well, besides just riding with friends?

Are you heading out for a ride, but just can’t stand the thought of intervals? You want to “just ride”, but deep down inside you know that you need some type of structured workout.

Many group rides end up giving riders a massive amount of time in zone 1, simply because there are times when you aren’t pulling and you’re towards the back of the pack.

Being on a group ride is just that, a time to ride WITH others, so don’t be the guy trying to dictate intervals to do, unless that was previously stated.

So, how do you get the most out of this group ride or solo weekend ride? Focus on making it an amazing aerobic workout. Try to stay towards the front, where you won’t get as much draft. If you’re strong enough and people allow you to stay there, stay on the front and pedal your bike! AVOID ZONE 1!


Many athletes look at their Zone 2 (endurance) ride on the calendar and don’t give it much credit. They think it just means that it’s an easy cruise and they can do whatever they want on it.

“It’s not an interval.”

If you look at it as one long interval, and give it the credit which it deserves, you will make massive aerobic gains on these “easy rides”.

Check out this post on what an actual endurance ride looks like (it might surprise you).

This post is a quick explanation on how to get the most out of your endurance cycling ride.


Fartlek rides accomplish the goal of a total system workout without structured intervals…go hard on the hills, steady on the flats, but here’s where you get the MOST BANG for your buck…aim for less than 10% or less total time in Zone 1. On paper, this sounds easy; in reality, it’s not.

It’s common for riders on group rides to spend up to 30% of their time in Zone 1!

Sitting in the pack to conserve is a great strategy for race day. But to maximize your training, minimize the amount of time in Zone 1 (which induces very little in the way of fitness gains). So keep those legs pedaling in Zone 2 or higher, and you’ll greatly increase your aerobic capacity whilst teaching yourself to stay on the gas, even though it’s not full throttle.

When Do I Ride In Zone 1?

If you’re on a recovery ride, probably after a long weekend of riding or after a long week of training, then you should ONLY ride in zone 1, and get passed by nearly everyone else riding their bikes. These recovery rides will keep your muscles loose and a good warm up for some stretching or yoga, and the blood circulation from riding EXTREMELY EASY will help you recover from your training.


If you are working on Max Watts Intervals, where you’re trying to hit all out maximum wattages, you’ll want to fully recovery between these efforts, and therefore be in Zone 1 for a bit. This is especially true when you are working really hard anaerobic efforts, anything 2 minutes in duration or less; you want to full on recover between the efforts, for at least 7 minutes, before taking another crack at it.

If you are in a bike race, you want to be in Zone 1 as much as possible!! You don’t want to work in a race if you don’t have to, so most races should have a TON of zone 1, as you conserve, follow, and only expend energy at key points in the race.

It’s not who pedals the most, but who pedals the hardest when it really counts, that wins the race.

Are you ready to become a stronger and faster version of your current self? Contact me if that sounds like a transformation you want to see happen. I was overweight and feeling like a blob before I found cycling. Things have changed in my life and I am so grateful for that; I’d love to help you reach as many of your goals as possible, no matter how small or grandiose you think they are. No better time that today to GET STARTED!