Another commuting and training question

Hi Guys,

I have been commuting for 5 years and my commute 50km/day 250km/week the route is 50% flat and the rest is rolling hill. I have power meter on my commute bike I accumulate about 400 to 500 tss/ week from commute only according Training peak.

Saturday is my rest day and Sunday I usually go for social ride for 2 to 3 hours. However I am willing not to go on my social ride so I can do my training on trainer rd.

I have 2 event that I am going to attend

My ftp is 210watt /60kg = 3.5w/kg I would like to achieve 4w/kg by 8 march 2020.

I am going to sign up for TrainerRoad the question is which training plan should I follow to achieve 4w/kg by march 2020?

From reading the forum. Should I choose sweet-spot base low or medium volume?

Building phase I assume is sustained power build since the event have long steady climb?

Speciality phase I assume is climbing road race

Do I need to cut my commute so it won’t interfere with the TrainerRoad training?

I used to commute to/from work a lot but there are some challengeswith using a commute for training.

  1. It breaks up your training into smaller rides which can decrease the effectiveness. I have an 11mi commute (one way) so I would train for an hour then ride the 30min to work and at the end of the day ride 35min home.

  2. The extra miles probably won’t hurt you much in base, I fact they’ll probably help but I find the extra fatigue to be hard to manage during build/specialty.

  3. Occasionally I’d be running late to get to work or going home and so I’d end up going harder than I should which can add additional fatigue.

That being said I still commute on my two easy days (Wed and Fri). It is so much more relaxing to commute on the bike rather than sitting in the car and that mental relaxation is worth a lot to me personally.


my commute is about 2 hours return and I agree with your point number 3 if I am running late I end up going hard on my commute. My guess when you mention extra miles are ok on base but not during build/specialty. Is it because during base the workout type are zone 2, 3 and sweet spot? and during build and speciality is more vo2 and harder intensity?

You could go SSB, SusPB, Century/climbing road race. Your events appear to be long distance sportifs so unless you are trying to ride them like races maybe the race plan isn’t best.

Alternatively you could take the full distance triathlon (full ironman) and do only the bike workouts.

Chose a volume that suits you and more importantly that you can complete. With the ride outside functions now you may be able to do some of your workouts as part of your commute. If that’s not an option I couldn’t imagine adding anything beyond low volume to a commute the size of yours.


Hi Jerry,

You’re in Melbourne, so I understand the lay of the land. If you are doing 50 km a day, I’d say you could pretty much skip base and go for build if you aren’t just noodling along on your commute. For the two rides you are planning to do (on my list too), Sustained Power Build sounds like the right choice. However, with those daily kms, you may be too fatigued from the TR workouts.


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Its doable to keep doing both! You can complete most of the workouts partially on trainer, then completed during the commute. So yourself ready to go in the morning, do a workout and head out the door. Saving the SS, threshold or any long interval work is easier done on the road.

I’ve been doing this for several weeks now (coz I have an unreliable car atm, so unplanned) and its going well. But I only have 40km return commute. Typically complete 50-75% of the workout on trainer, or 100% - if I have the time. Any scheduled easy endurance rides are just done on the commute.
Currently halfway GBHV and previously did the same for a few weeks in the SSHV bases too, total TSS has been ~ 100-200 more.

And good on you riding through the chill in Melbs! I’m in the top end and can barely deal with 12deg mornings lately :joy::+1:

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Thanks for your training suggestion. The 300km on October is more relax and there is no time limit, I have completed last year, 2017 and 2016 the 250kmversion. However the march event is more serious since it has a time limit of 13 hours. I would also like to finish less than 10 hours since you will got special jersey :wink:

I might still do 6 weeks of base, since my commute got some stop and start. I think i accumulate a lot of junk miles. Point taken regarding the fatigued. In low volume base how many hard intensity workout in a week?

Good to know that i can do partial work on the trainer and still complete the rest outdoor.

I rather ride my bike in cold/rain instead of catching metro trains :sweat_smile:

i use my commutes as workouts almost every workout. my commute is about an hour. so if a workout is under that i do the my intervals on the ride in and zone 2 on way home. if over an hour i just split intervals in 1/2 and do half on the way into work and other on the way home. so if it calls for 6x10 min sweet spot. ill do 3 and 3.

i know its not the best but still works. i went from ftp of 254 to 269 after only ssb1


So true :ok_hand:

Be sure to read through the “do outside” instructions for the workouts as well, usually easier to complete than trying to follow indoor versions.

And also would recommend doing the Base, the biggest gains are made there after all!

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That’s awesome!

Some good advice above. I would say though not to underestimate the fitness you get from all that commuting, even if it is somewhat unstructured. My training used to be really similar to yours - almost identical length of commute that I would do 4-5 days per week for about 5 years, supplemented by longer social or club rides at the weekends. Except I didn’t even have power on my commuter bike, it was a single speed and I basically just went as hard or easy as I felt like. Commuting into London so plenty of stopping and starting, also plenty of people to race when I felt like it! Had no idea about power but did a number of gran fondo/sportive events with good results.

I then got a deal on a Wahoo Kickr that was too good to turn down, first thing I did was a test, came out at 298W, I was 80kg at the time so about 3.7W/kg. I started trying to structure my riding more using HR and RPE from the TR sessions to guide my efforts outside and substituted 1-2 TR sessions per week. Made little to no difference to FTP, I continued to test in the 290-310W range over the next 12 months.

Then I moved cities and jobs, commuting by bike was no longer possible so I got myself a power meter and started making nearly all my riding structured and most of it indoors following TR medium plans (was running and swimming as well as got back into tri). FTP initially dropped simply because the extra structure wasn’t making up for the fact that my total time spent on the bike had basically halved. I ramped up the training as I settled into the new job, and by the time my total training hours (including run and swim) were in the same ballpark as what I used to do when commuting, my FTP was back in the same range as before, with the bonus that I’d dropped to 76kg thanks to the running so my W/kg was nudging above 4.

In February this year I decided to drop the triathlon and focus purely on cycling for a bit. Been following high volume plans with ~2 rides/week being outdoors, usually a long (4+ hours) group ride plus a Wednesday night worlds type session. Total time in the saddle is similar to my commuting days but it is now almost all high quality riding with very few junk miles, and I’m finally making some significant improvement beyond that 290-310W range . Last test was 336W, next one due next week and expecting to get into the 340s based on how workouts have been feeling at 336.

Sorry, this got a lot longer than planned, the TLDR version is that logging high volume consistently week in, week out, can get you to a very good fitness level even with lots of stops and no structure, so don’t be too disappointed if you don’t make big gains by adding in more TR sessions.

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Yeah I’ve found that once I get to the high intensity part of the plan I have to watch my fatigue closely. The extra commute miles tacked on to a workout make it hard for me to recover adequately. It is usually fine the first week or so but after a few weeks I find myself too fatigued to complete the hard intervals the way they should be.

But everyone is different so give it a try and see if it works for you. Just keep an eye on how you’re feeling.


Thanks for sharing your experience. :+1:

Hi Jerry!

How is it going? Are youre ftp rising?
I’ve been commuting 2x25km 4 days a week for about 6 months now, and I have gone from 285 to 316.
I am 79kg

I have a high volume trainerroad plan sort of just laying in the background, so that if I have the time I take the highest tss workout for the week I’m in, and try to finish it.
Also on my commutes, I will take it easy to work, and take a long way home on a road with little to no traffic, and try to be around sweet-spot a couple times a week.

I’m also trying to make my weekly tss higher than last week in the base phase. Its getting more and more difficult since last week was 757tss, next week will have to be about 780tss…

Plan is like this:
Monday sweetspot
Tuesday sweetspot
Wednesday easy
Thursday sweetspot
Friday easy
Saturday dropride
Sunday off

When build starts I will replace one or two sweetspots with above treshold workouts.

I just started sweet-spot high volume II.

I’m interested in hearing how you are doing


Hi my ftp now is about 220 but my weight is down to 58.5kg = 3.76 w/kg. my cycling activity is Monday to Friday commute 50km return. long ride 3hr+ on Sunday and Tuesday 1hr sweetspot

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