A year of low volume … where to next?

So, 2021 was my 4th year of ‘training’ but my first of taking it really seriously and being consistent.

I pretty much stuck to a year long low volume plan, with some runs, outdoor rides, and strength training as well as TR, and went from FTP of about 290 to 320 (4w/kg to almost 4.5w/kg).

I came to the sport fairly late. I’m 34. I’m conscious I’m on the cusp of a declining ceiling, but (hopefully) nowhere near that ceiling.

My ambitious goals for 2022 are FTP of 350, and perhaps lose a few kgs to get to about 67-68kgs (currently 71-72). I really want to break 5w/Kg.
I enjoy climbs, especially of 10mins or more. I have some strava segment and some race goals in mind for 2022.

I work 40 hours a week over 4 days, and my schedule is quite predictable. My work is fairly sedentary.

I’m tempted to just keep going doing what I am doing next year, but would like some advice about where I could make the most gains. Perhaps it’s time for me to get a real coach.
I’m only just starting to race and look forward to doing some road and XC races, as well as some duathlons in the next 12 months.

As well as a TR low volume plan I add in maybe 1-2 additional ‘train now’ rides each week but am reluctant to commit to mid volume as I don’t think I’d be able to stick to it.
Here is what a typical week looks like for me, I train almost exclusively in the morning before work.

1.5hrs TR workout
30 mins strength

1hr TR workout
60-90min endurance run (sometimes a second TR ride instead of run - usually endurance)

30 min strength
(I count this as my ‘rest’ day)

1hr TR workout
60-90min endurance run (sometimes a TR endurance ride instead)

Long outdoor ride - typically 3-4 hours. Often with several climbs in 4-15 min range - I will go for KOMs on the climbs and generally endurance pace in-between

40-60min interval run
30 min strength (sometimes)

Another outdoor ride maybe 2-3 hours OR a ‘train now’ TR endurance ride for 60-90min

I’m pretty good at sticking to the schedule but probably about half the time I take the Sunday as a rest day, as my weeks are often 700-1000TSS and I feel like I just need a rest!

My sleep is OK, usually 7 - 7.5 hours a night. I’m an early waker and find it hard to fall back to sleep.

My thoughts for improvement are:

  • Do less running and more cycling if I’m serious about upping my FTP. I have no serious running goals - I just enjoy it. I sort of see it as getting some “endurance” exercise that’s a bit more interesting that TR endurance rides, and easier / handier than an outdoor ride
  • get some weights. My ‘strength’ training is basically lunges / squats / push-ups / sit-ups with some hand held dumbbells to add a bit of weight (I actually do the “bikini body guide” on the advice of my wife!!).
  • choose 1.5hr TrainerRoad road alternatives instead of the 1hr rides when I am given a 1hr ride - this is an easy modification that will give me a bit more volume
  • add in more endurance rides - either outdoor or TR. I think I’d struggle to add more serious intervals and be able to recover

These all seem like modest modifications to the plan - but if it’s working - should I mix it up? Very happy to hear some radical suggestions!

Here’s to 2022!


Congrats on the consistency and the increase.

Strength is great, get some dumbells or kettlebells and go to town.

Running can help with your muscle mass/bone density too since there’s impact. But as you said, maybe have less of a priority on it.

Whatever keeps you going on the bike in a consistent manner, keep doing it.


Bull, you are nowhere near it :wink: I am 46 and have been improving every year and whilst I am probably at my ceiling a lot of folk older than me put me to shame. Your plan seems a good one though :+1:


Poppycock. I’ve been riding and racing for 30+ years and I am stronger now than I ever was. A lot is through smarter training and more volume, but the results are undeniable. You are just scratching the surface.

My advice to most riders like you is simply to add volume. If you are getting the intensity you need now, then find ways to add more overall volume. Can you add 15 minutes of Z2 riding at the end of your current TR rides? Do that.

Can you add an hour of Z2 riding on the days you don’t currently train? Do that.

Can you sub out one of the weekend TR rides for a 2-3 hour endurance / tempo ride? Do that.


Looking at your schedule, goals, and ideas for ‘where to next’ it seems like you’re still figuring out how to make the most of your fitness. Your w/kg puts you probably near the top of most of your competition, and your ftp / weight is in a nice sweet spot to be competitive in a lot of different disciplines.

You’re already doing a ton of stuff and you had very solid gains in your ftp so there’s no need to reinvent the training plan when the current one is treating you well.

Spend the next year racing and figuring out what matters, and what you want to do more of, and use that to inform your future training plans.


Thank you for all taking the time to read my post and give your feedback.

I will try adding some more volume in the form of endurance, and get practising my racing skills!


When you start racing you’ll find it messes up your schedule somewhat. A race generally takes more recovery than even the hardest workout. An upcoming race forces you to rethink the days beforehand.
So I’d suggest sticking with your current plan and learn to integrate racing into it. Try lots of different types of race and see which you enjoy most.

Good for you man! If you wanna focus on cycling more why not stick to just one day a week of running. Give yourself a little more recovery time plus extend the rides with some additional endurance.
One way I look at it if it’s still working don’t mess with it. Some great advice already above my only advice was really cut it down to one day a week of running and get a little extra recovery time or extra time riding. Also it’s good to have a couple goals if you have an event to do even if it’s just a fun event.

I’d replace your long weekends with:
Friday - 3-5hr long w efforts as you have it
Sat - 3-5hr long w efforts
Sun - off
Monday - easy

Only if you compare yourself to pros, and of course performance will decline with age but less than you might think (at least for time trials). I’m on the eve of the big six oh am almost back to my peak aerobic fitness of 4 years ago (only 6 years road cycling). It’s never too late.