5 consecutive days on, 2 off...anyone tried this?

I’m sure I’m not the only on in this situation…but I’m trying to figure out a good balance of family obligations/keeping the wife happy, while progressing with my training.

Has anyone tried training M-F with the weekend off? I’m well aware of the importance of recovery, but at least on paper, I could fit 1.5-2 hr rides M-F pretty easily and have the weekends free for family stuff. I’m sure a weekend event or occasional long weekend ride won’t be a problem.

Just wondering if anyone has tried this (other than Nils van der Poel I think :exploding_head::rofl:). I figured I’d aim for a LV plan and suppliment Z2 where needed.



@Jonathan was doing this. Not sure if he still is.

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Yes, it’s something I’ve done if I have commitments at the weekend before.

I often do a mini-block of intensity Tuesday to Wednesday anyway (Tues and Thurs TR, club ride Weds), I usually do Z2 Monday and Friday off but what I’ll do is pull the TR weekend ride back into the week.

Depends what your “5 days on” will look like anyway, if you are doing LV, hitting the 3 TR workouts on odd days (Mon Wed Fri) with Z2 filler on even days (Tues Thurs) should be OK.

Just try and make sure you have decent recovery :slightly_smiling_face:

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Being there for the family is the priority. Riding is for fun and health (and while I hate missing rides) we gotta make sure to make sure we life balance is priority, not the training.

You can do fine off this model. Buy in and make it work!


You’re so right! Not trying to make this like my wife is anticycling or anything!! I love a big ride, but time away from family is a challenge. Luckily I have a few big rides that require travel so we can take mini vacations!!


It’ll work but depends on how many hard workouts you have a week. I have two hard workouts a week I like a rest or recovery day before in order to perform my best. But if you find fitting it into 5 consecutive days works for you and quality if execution doesn’t suffer then go for it. I’ve certainly moved my workouts into a M-F block where I know I won’t be able to do any on the weekend.

Consistency is the key. If it enables that, you are on the right track long term fitness wise.


5 days on is no problem. I typically do 6 days on, so 5 is definitely doable.


I do something like that in that I make sure I knock out all my key interval and long ride sessions M-F.

That way I’m free to do any kind of ride I want or no ride at all on the weekends depending on what’s going on in terms of family stuff.

I’ve come to really like it. Feels great to finish that last session on Friday and makes the weekend rides if I am able to squeeze one in all about fun.

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Niels Van der Poel won gold medals and set world records with 5 on / 2 off. Often it was 3 off for extra recovery.


But he’s also world class. I was wondering how 5 days on would work for an average dude with a dad bod :rofl:

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I do this during the school year. Ride M-F with the weekends off. I do LV with easier z2 rides T/Th. Worked real well once I got into the groove of it. I get my rides in at 5am daily and then am able to have the slow family weekend mornings and not worry about getting in the bike when hanging out with the kids.


5 on and 2 off is fine as long as your 5 on is the right mix. In my experience, 3 hard days a week is ideal. 2 interval sessions and one long hard ride. The 2 filler days are endurance work that slot between the 3 hard rides. I regularly hit 700+ tss per week on 4-5 days of work. The vast majority of that TSS comes from the 3 hard days. I’m a 50+ guy and I think having 2 days off in a row really sets me up well to nail that first interval workout of the week.

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I feel like if you structured like this:

Monday - Hardest intervals (could be hard mentally or physically)
Tuesday - Zone 1/Zone 2
Wednesday - Zone 2 (as long as you can)
Thursday - Zone 2 (not as long as Wednesday)
Friday - Hard intervals

Could switch Tuesday and Wednesday - but just keep it easy in between the super hard days and you should be fine to recover enough. Only way to know if it works is to try!

And Neils VDP must have an INSANE ability to recover (and he doesn’t have kids) so…no other mortals could do 5 days of threshold like him.

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I like this set up!

Thanks all for the tips! Definitely going to give this a shot.

It will make you world class for sure!

Experiment and find out!

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You’d obviously have to scale it to your abilities. :slight_smile:

I know a hard hitter that works out 5 days a week, only rides 2-3 days per week and maintains a solid 275 watt FTP. He’s not weight challenged either so he moves pretty fast on 275 watts. Here is what he typically does:

Mon - swim for an hour
Tues - ride for an hour (he does like 20 minutes of FTP intervals - I see him do like 3x7min)
Wed - gym - 1 hour weights
Thursday - ride for an hour (he does like 20 minutes of FTP intervals)
Saturday - 2+ hours of endurance

Talk about being fast on a minimum effective dose - 6 hours per week and only 3 bike sessions. That was his winter schedule. In the summer, he swaps out the Saturday for a group ride and sometimes does a midweek evening group ride.

He doesn’t do any progressions. He basically does everything wrong. :slight_smile:


Seems perfectly reasonable and logical…will almost surely produce improvements.

Will it be “optimal”. Who knows and who cares…if it works for your family / schedule and you are still improving, sound like a great solution!!


OP, I have done it since February after reading that speed skaters manifesto. However, I didn’t train anything like him. I rode the trainer Tuesday through Friday for 1hr and then rode outside for 4-5hr on Saturday, with Sunday and Monday completely off. I did an interval session on either Tuesday or Wednesday (on trainer followed by weight lifting) and put intervals into Saturday too (2 intervals sessions per week). All other riding was low to mid z2/endurance.
I’m not a pro and was already very fit, but I sustained around 5w/kg on this schedule, which was what I was at last summer with a different training scheme. So, you can be very fit on a plan like this. I averaged 9hpw pretty consistently, and did maybe 9-10hpw last summer. I don’t think I’d be as fit if I did M-F with no long ride tho. My long ride Saturday was the bread and butter and everything else was really just recovery in the scheme of things.
I did it for the same reason that you’re looking into it for (family and work obligations).

I just took a week off break and now I am riding Tuesday-Thursday for 90min, workout on Wednesday, and 4-5 long ride with intervals on Saturday (as usual). Weight lifting legs on Sunday with Monday and Friday off. Might add a 30-45 super easy trainer ride Friday eventually.
Good luck!

PS: I have been riding for many years and used to race with a coach. However, when I was younger and coached, I basically rode Tues-Thursday, Saturday or Sunday (4 days of proper riding). Sometimes easy on Sunday and Monday with light weights on Friday. Tuesday and Wednesday were intervals. Tuesday through Thursday was 1.5-2hr. Saturday was 3 hr and sometimes up to 4hr. Less training than you would think. It’s really more about training hard and recovering right than volume volume volume like you hear. Many just don’t train hard enough or train hard too much (and don’t recover properly). Obv lifestyle is huge too (eating right and sleeping enough).

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I ride/train by commuting ~1 hour each way 5 days a week, then take most weekends off for housework and family. It can work and recovery is not an issue if you build in easier and harder days, or in my case hard and easy mornings/evenings. Usually I’ll do 3 hard days a week in the afternoon, trying for MWF or Tue/Thurs/Fri. You can build a ton of fatigue later in the week knowing you have two days of rest coming. It works, listen to your body, start with a couple days intensity and the rest as much Z2 as you can handle


Not something I’ve ever committed to, but I’ve always treated my weekend rides, not matter the LV scheduled length or importance, as flexible. Sometimes the whole plan week gets compressed within 5 week days and sometimes the Saturday gets pushed to Sunday or Monday. I also commute to the office more days than not when I’m not telework.

I have yet to consistently fail the Tuesday workout due to Sunday or Monday rides or workouts. And this spring I coached two futbol teams to the tune of 4 weeknight practices and 2-3 games on the weekends. I simply tried to “build volume” when and where I could. Some weeks I got my 7 hour goal of saddle time and some weeks I hung my head in shame at 3 hours…