Finding the time to train with a busy schedule is a challenge. Some time-crunched cyclists barely have enough time to get on the bike for an hour, three times a week. If you are short on time, TrainerRoad has a plan that will work for your schedule.

For more information on low-volume training check out Ask a Cycling Coach Ep 241.



Determine How Much Time You Have

We’re often asked, “how much time should I devote to training?” For cyclists that don’t have to worry about a busy schedule, the answer is pretty simple. The volume of your training should be just enough to elicit adaptations and match your ability to recover. However, for time-crunched cyclists, the answer isn’t as straightforward.  

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The first step for any busy athlete is to determine how much time you have by asking yourself how many days can I train and how much time do I have to train on each of those days. Be honest about your availability. Unrealistic schedules will only hamper your consistency and pile on mental stress. Be sure to factor in how much time it takes for you to get ready and on the bike too. 

Training Plans for Time-Crunched Cyclists

With an honest assessment of your available training time, you’re ready to pick a training plan. TrainerRoad has a cycling training plan that can work for your schedule, even if you have less than two hours per week to ride. Below are the plans that we recommend for Time-Crunched Cyclists. 

Time Crunch 30

For athletes with about 30 minutes to train in a day, the Time Crunch 30 training plans aim to provide a useful yet brief training structure for riders on very limited training schedules. Each week is built around a series of half-hour workouts consisting exclusively of high-intensity intervals that will warm the rider up briefly, offer a challenging but necessarily short main set, and then a very short cooldown. The low-volume version has three workouts a week, while the mid-volume contains five. If all you have is 30 minutes of ride time, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better workouts than these.

A sample week in the Time Crunch 30 Low-Volume training plan
A sample week in the Time Crunch 30 Mid-Volume training plan.

Time Crunch 45

The Time Crunch 45 training plans still cater to time-limited training schedules but afford a little more stress and potentially more productivity. As can be expected, the warmups are short, the recoveries are brief, and the cooldowns flash by pretty quickly. But the work intervals still retain the focus, just like the longer versions of each Time Crunch workout. The low-volume version of the Time Crunch 45 training plan offers three structured workouts per week, while mid-volume has five workouts. 

A sample week in the Time Crunch 45 Low-Volume training plan.
A sample week in the Time Crunch 45 Mid-Volume training plan.

The Time Crunch training plans are designed so that you can make the most of what you have. Will they make you stronger? Very probably, especially if you previously lacked structure or consistency. If you’re used to higher training volumes, these plans can do wonders for retaining the fitness you’ve already built. 

Plan Builder

If you have more than three hours a week to train, choosing a low-volume plan using Plan Builder is the best option. This will have you on the bike for three days with hour-long workouts during the week and typically a 90-minute workout on the weekend. Plan Builder will account for your available training time, experience, and goals to design the perfect plan for you. Using this option will progress you through each training phase—Base, Build, and Speciality. 

This is a low-volume training plan using Plan Builder with three workouts per week.

For more cycling training knowledge, listen to Ask a Cycling Coach — the only podcast dedicated to making you a faster cyclist. New episodes are released weekly.



Why Athletes Around the World Use TrainerRoad to Get Faster

Over 9,000 reviews in the App Store. An average of 4.9 stars. The highest rating of any cycling training app. Over 16 million workouts completed and counting. 100 different training plans and over 2,000 different workouts that are used to automatically build a custom plan for your goals and experience. All because we focus on one thing: helping you get faster.

Want even more proof? Check out over 1,700 stories and FTP improvements for how TrainerRoad has helped athletes get faster and explore everything we have to make you a faster cyclist at TrainerRoad.com.

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Jesse Fortson

Jesse Fortson lost over 145 pounds with TrainerRoad's help. He uses his experience as a teacher and race mechanic to get faster for crits, gravel, and marathon XCO races.