2 to 3 hours training per week

Hi everyone!

I’m a father of two kids: a 3 year old daughter and a 4 months old baby son. Until our second son was born, I was able to do 2 to 3 one hour training sessions indoors and one long ride during the weekend. Since our son was born 4 months ago, I haven’t been able to train at all. I can free up some time here and there for an indoor session, but without a plan or without any goals, I find it hard to train…

As of today, I would like to start training 2 times a week: my girlfriend is giving me 2 sessions of 60-90min to train :slight_smile: Occasionally, I’ll be able to do a longer weekend ride, but that will be very occasionally I guess.

Now my question. With only 3 hours to do sports, would you spend it on cycling or would you spend it on f.e. running? Cycling is time intensive and I don’t know if I can make any progress with only 2 interval sessions a week. I’m having a hard time to decide to continue cycling or to ditch it for running for a year or so, and start cycling again when I have at least 5 hours a week for it.

I would spend it on cycling because I love riding my bike. At least in the months where riding outside is feasible.

If I had to choose something else, I would either play basketball or lift weights. This is completely down to personal preferences though. I loathe running.


I think it comes down to which activity you enjoy more…given the limited time available (and many of us have been there), you are basically looking at maintenance fitness vs. improvement, regardless of the activity…which is fine. Family takes priority.

So which activity is going to give you more enjoyment for your limited time availability? IMO, that is the answer, not which one will give you more “progress”.


Cycling is one of the most volume dependant sports there is. If you want to remain competitive, pick a low volume sport. If you love cycling, just ride your bike.

Running is significantly easier to develop in 3hrs a week than cycling.


I’m in the same boat . Basically I’ve rearranged my day and sleep habits to assist with job / family . Best way to avoid distractions is to basically limit the possibility of it happening .

I wake up 5 am small carb meal ( 2/banana) but I already have prepped 100 carb drink and clothes the night prior

Jump on trainer by 515 - can do about 45-60 work out ( I usually opt to go 45 mins ( simply do alternate workout ) which get me off bike by 6 or so and then prep the kids and myself to get to work by 7

Realistically if this is something you can adjust to then you can do as much days per week as you like ( I do low volume and add a workout )

If your significant other thinks and sees you committed to this day after day then she’ll be more willing to give you that time in the morning

Keep instagram and YouTube to recovery periods on the bike and so avoiding it during the day has done wonders to over mental health and maximizing time management to dedicate to kids and significant other

I then pay back the same time to her to allow her to also get a workout in or do something constructive.

This will obviously limit you night to goin to bed pretty early but I rather and feel better having finished one of the hardest parts of the day early on than having come home already exhausted and almost materializing motivation to get on the back

Hope this help

From a dad and a doc


Think of this period as about fitness and NOT training. Do what you like on the day. Don’t stress about needing to commit yourself to either running or cycling. If on the day you feel like running- go for it. Same for cycling. If your cycling is indoors mix up the riding for how you feel / the energy / motivation you have


What are you training for?

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Don’t worry about “training” as such, just think of it as chunks of “me time” to do some fun exercise. You’re not training for Olympic glory, so you’re exercising for mental and physical health. It’s infinitely better than knocking back a couple of beers to take the edge off dad-stress… Being a dad is hard work, and a long game. Be kind to yourself and stay happy and sane and everyone wins.
You can get a lot of value out of a 30 minute run (+2 minute ready time and 5 min shower) or 60 mins on the trainer (+2 minute ready time and 5 min shower).


Get the 3yr old on a bike trailer…(if you have local routes with no cars and weather permits).


First off congratulations. Going from one kid to two is a big change… you are now in man to man defense!

I am also a parent of two… though a bit older now… I can tell you it gets “easier” as they get more self-efficient (though new challenges always seem to pop up). One thing we did that was a huge help in maintaining some form of exercise routine was get a BOB Ironman stroller (non swivel). This allowed for runs (bike path or trail) with other Dads as well as some awesome family hikes. This also allowed me to take my oldest out for a run which helped reduce some “kid stress” in the house.

As already mentioned above I think it is essential that parents still plan time for themselves (both Mom and Dad obviously). This doesn’t mean be selfish or go on all day rides but exercise and a healthy lifestyle is important to not just your physical health but your mental health as well. Take the time to make sure you are giving your partner time to do what she needs to maintain her self identity as well. That may be a run. bike ride or even a girls night out.

Best of luck with the little ones and on the bike!

Running is more efficient timewise so it also lends itself better than cycling to both limited time per week and squeezing in a workout since you can do it anywhere any time and 30 minutes is plenty of time to get in a decent run.

You’re not going to get great at anything on 3 hours a week but you can get really fit in a general sense. I’d think about mixing it up and expanding your repertoire of activities. If you run, ride the trainer, get some kettlebells and learn a selection of body weight exercises you can do at home or wherever, you can get in great shape and probably get in way more than 3 hours a week even with your restrictions.

Get creative and think less about being “a runner” or “a cyclist” and more about being the dad who shows up 15 minutes early for day care pick up and does burpees in the parking lot :wink:


When we had our 2nd, I switched to riding in the morning before everyone was up. Haven’t looked back since. The 4:45 am alarms sucked at first, but now I kind of enjoy my hour and half of me time in the morning.

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Congratulations on the kids!

I would spend my time on the bike/trainer partly I am less likely to pick up an injury on it but mainly because I prefer cycling.

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Limited to only three hours a week, I’d do one 120min endurance ride and one 60min hard VO2 max ride. I wouldn’t expect to become a drastically better cyclist by doing this, but It would make me happy just to ride the bike and it would lead to some improvements. The other days I’d make sure to take good care of my diet and my sleep, and I would do some push-ups, sit-ups and plank variations regularly.

Best of luck to you!

I think I’ve been so lucky with my partner and 2 kids, she and now they (are old enough)understand that I just don’t function well without being able to get on the bike. I’ve got up at crazy early times before now to get my fix before a day of family stuff or gone to bed late to get my session done. And my partner sees that, knows I need it and over the years has given me more slack to do stuff. On the flip side I’ve given her time to go on spa weekends, book club night, a quiet coffee in a cafe or whatever else she wants to do with her friends whilst I look after the kids.

Being able to bike consistently I am absolutely certain has helped me deal with stress at work, deal with stress in the rest of life, kept me off anti-depressants and kept me healthy.

Isn’t Trainerroad low volume made for this? 3 to 3.5 hours a week?

Or like the others suggest ride the bike when it suits or run when it suits and keep a rough eye on what you eat the rest of the time.

this is fantastic advice that I will +1

If my girlfriend “gave” me 2-3 hrs per week in which to cram my hobby, my mental well-being, my fitness and my cycling- I would spend them on Tinder looking for a new girlfriend :thinking::rofl: :wink:

Of course that’s a joke…

Well, at least half a joke.

Like, don’t abandon your kids or anything but- parenting is as much inspiring as it is indulging.

And your time is not hers to give!!

(I have this argument on my cycling mates WhatsApp group all the time so I’m used to getting flamed for it :rofl::rofl: I think my mates actually now use me as a kind of ‘worst case scenario’ with their significant others. “see! I could be a selfish git like Crosshair!” :rofl::rofl:)

Edited to add- I don’t think I am selfish. My wife and the boy spend around 25hrs a week on their pony habit. So there’s plenty of time to get my 8-10hrs cycling in.


@Crosshair gets it :rofl:

All this said, my bro majors on running as he’s never really got into biking and he keeps fit enough on 3 X 1hr runs per week to enjoy decent mountain walks and do the odd 10km/half marathon when time and commitments allow.

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Ex runner here. If you like running then run. It’s a bit less expensive . When the cartilage in the knees goes away pick up cycling again. By then you will have a lot more time


Subscribe to Jasper Verkuijl on YouTube for inspiration too. The guy is a pilot. Hires bikes between flights to train all over Europe. Has two kids. Runs a seemingly profitable YouTube channel. And has a 400w ftp :sunglasses: