Anyone train 20+ hours a week for a season, how did it go?

I’m curious if any non-pro has done this for a season and how it went? Did your fitness go to another level?

There are plenty of ‘time-crunched’ stories out there but I haven’t really found any of regular folks that went in the other direction and trained closer to that of a pro.

Would love to hear from you and how it went / is going.


Yes, started with 20+ in 2016. Massive bump in first year, plateaued afterwards. Did 30h base weeks and so. Can’t say it made a difference. And I don’t know if any my other attempts to improve performance (fasted training, low training, polarised training, zone 2 training, SST training, intermittent full moon training or whatever) hampered the effect of volume.
Folks with significant less training volume kicked my butt in races. And my problem was/is always that “no pain no gain” does not work for me. I’m not good at “pain” workouts, which I should probably have done more at some stage.

Overall, pretty disillusioned by what training can offer. Either you have the engine or not. Either you have the build for cyling or not. Genetics.


Yes, I am on it with an average of 23h a week at the moment - planned to increase to 25h over the next weeks.
I take a super simple approach by following my plan from TR (I am ultra endurance so a lot of sweet spot, some threshold and tempo and limited VO2) and add very long rides at lowest intensity. So I do the pain and just add long LI rides. Long rides mean 4-5+hrs. Pays off very nicely.
While training hard in my power zones the long rides feel like building concrete in your legs that allow you to extend the time riding closer and closer to your FTP significantly.
I am not a big fan of the FTP tests. Switched to using AIFTP and take it as it comes.
Training for an event next April though - so I cant tell you if and when there will be a plateau - but I am sure there will be one :joy::face_with_raised_eyebrow:.
Nevertheless I can see that riding long hours and still work hard is elevating you significantly. So if you have the time AND you enjoy spending that much time on the bike its s shot worth - from my perspective


A server has made 20h annual average for 3 years.

The improvements only came from increasing the work in interthreshold zones (Ferrari model) up to 6-7h per week (75-89% FTP) I managed to raise my 1.8-2 mmol to almost 5.1W/kg in August of last year, although without experience improvement in the 2@ ventilatory threshold with this approach, on the one hand logical and expected.

My biggest limitation is to be able to incorporate all the nutrients without affecting the volume of subsequent weeks, for this I must reduce the weekly volume and avoid large training blocks.
I usually do blocks of 4 days and 2 days off for better hormonal homeostasis and to give space to not saturate the adaptation signaling pathways.

The key handicap of GFs like XCM is the ability to ride at a high level without needing an incredible 20-30’, rather with 5’5-6 at the end of a 20’ climb it is a power that few people can sustain after exhausting 3-4h and substantial glycogen depletion.

Threshold work was assiduous, at least once a week, never at threshold, always below or substantially below, high intensity was minimal (maybe 10-12’ per week/Coggan zone 5) barring competition.
After the confinement I did a lot of work in 30-30 intervals, Giménez was at the end of the training, complementing with SFR and trying to improve my high-end power, avoiding the more pyramidal approach and SS thinking about improving my PBs in local climbs (sub 20’) since it was impossible to compete.

That year I registered my best data in long climbing (I consider all lengths >30-32’ ~) in almost 5.8 W/kg in 51’ of climbing (certain altitude) and 21’ at 6.5 W/kg in a climbing at a lower competitive altitude (my only one in 2020).

Any curiosity I will be happy to answer


I never actually done any structured training in 2013 but I finished the year with 16,000miles that was probably 20+ hours a week. Looking back at the calendar for this year I have exceeded 20h a few times its when I’ve took workouts outdoors and ended up with an hour+ cooldown :joy:


Reading posts like yours makes me feel like I know almost nothing about the science of cycling training and performance!


All of this has been based on personal experience, contrasting what works and what doesn’t work, avoiding immovable speeches or pragmatic people with useless training systems in certain circumstances.
I have tried to discern each step that I have taken with myself and my athletes, avoiding the placebo effect in these cases.

Rooting yourself in polarized plans or immovable thresholds makes no sense whether you are an athlete of 6-8h a week or 25.

1 Like

Is there a bot on this thread?


I feel like this statement should be placed at the top of all training threads here. Or simply - it depends.

1 Like


I am a regular reader of the forum, it has been a long time until I have dared to write in a thread.

English is not my native language, I use the Google translator, it can lead to another interpretation of my words.

I have no greater interest than contributing my knowledge and seeking opinions and training approaches of all kinds.

All the best…


Welcome to Europe people. Luckily Mayo is from Spain so far away from me :slight_smile:
5w/kg is just an invitation to the party. You are allowed to have an opinion around 5.5 and can give advice after nailing 6+ for 20+ minutes.
Brutal #&%÷^@ sport.

On a serious note volume is what takes to to your potential. If you are already there riding more will not do much. You will improve on side capabilities but not on the main engine.
If your potential is high, volume is the way to go.
If someone asks me about this I need two data points to answer. 4-5 min power and long power (30-50min)
Big difference-> great potential. Focus on getting the hours in. 6000-8000 hours would take most to their potential. Just ramp up gently.
If those two power values are close together focus on what exactly you are doing, specifics etc. Not much you can do unless you are new 2< years.
Very rough and simpleton but close enough.


How close is close?
Mine are: 460 for 5’ and 380 for 50’

1 Like

.Great precision in your comment, thanks for the welcome :wink::+1:t2:

Putting the grain of sand here, 4-5’ is a power test that is still difficult to maximize your displacement, I would opt for a longer test based on another 1’ test to assess glycolytic power.
6-8’ depending on the altitude and weather conditions that is carried out would be more prudent.
Then something longer like power you can hold at close to VT1 2mmol ~ one trained dude, close to 240’ well fed but seems like a really long time to ask for🤪

1100-1400h per year is the basic recipe for several years (10,000h) to reach your maximum potential, something unavoidable and that no one who boasts of reaching it (obviously professionals) can hide by substituting that for X training sessions in fewer hours, look, we tried but …

In response to the subsequent comment, the relationship between the 6’ test and the 50-60’ test would be exceptional if it reached 83%~.
Most world class people fight for 81-2%.

The fact that we later see savages in the TdF or other races is mainly due to other external factors that cannot be controlled with training.


You are pretty much done. 80% is close, 85% is woah, 90% is mutant.
This makes a lot of assumptions.
Some fine tuning needed. How is your spring? What can you do for 30sec, 1min? If very high we need to look at 5-6mins.
460 is how long exactly? 4 min, 5 min?
How many hours did you bank? If >3000 hours better to look at 5-6 min power.
Good 1min< power and >3000 hours. Better to look at 6-8 mins as Mayo suggested.
Or get a couple of reliable and well executed vo2max tests :slight_smile:

True for well trained people. They dont ask me anything. People who listen to me blow out at 4 mins :wink:

10000 hours rule applies here as well. I am around 6000 so there is still hope for me.

1 Like

460 is for 5 min exactly (from an interval set) my 30/60s are 738/547 (pretty weak, planning on working on it next spring)
Im pretty new (900h since feb 2021) so im not sure if that makes a huge difference

5min max should be an all out one time effort. If you did other efforts afterwards you did not go all in.

Up to you. But working on weaknesses is a myth. Except skills, knowledge etc of course.

Interesting. If both efforts are truly max that is.
Any other sports history. Sometimes people forget to mention 15 years of running.
And there is also data accuracy to look into.

Isn’t 5 minutes very dependent on anaerobic capacity if you’re truly all out? I used my numbers as an example here because im not sure that the 80% rule makes a ton of sense. I feel like 5 min / 30-50 min power often rise together.

Zero sports background other than some bike commuting and occasional rides with friends. Didn’t play sports in high school or college.

Do you mind sharing your progression? Where did you plateau? When you say you’re not good at pain workouts, does that mean most of your volume was z1/z2 and that you never really did intervals and/or threshold work?

I will say my best season was when I trained some 8-10 hrs/week, following a sweet-spot plan. Cannot make any comparisons based on power, as I didn’t have a PM back then and trained by HR, but the times on my favourite loops are saying that. I was also some 1,5-2 kgs lighter.
I did try upping the volume towards 20 hrs/week a couple of years ago.
No noticeable results, and looking back on it I see I did too little intensity during winter, ditching the 3*20/25/30 mins at tempo/SS. Wrong move. I guess some SS workouts, plus some sprints sprinkled in would have made the difference.
Another thing I would do differently is look closely at the nutrition side. I was definitely underfed at times and not able to sustain higher intensities.
I’ll probably not try that again, as I find it too mentally taxing, doing it besides a job (even working from home). Seems like all I ever did was work and bike.
I do train with a PM now and decided to set my volume in the 12 hrs/week bracket, following a LV SS plan, plus endurance rides. I’ll see how it goes. I’ll also need to drop those extra 2kgs.


It is an aerobic sport damnit.

It does not. There are no hard numbers. No constants, no fixed ratios. They are all made up. Some are observed averages. Correct for the population, false for each individual.
There is no 80% rule anyway. It is a range and average is around 80-85%. You are at 82 so “pretty much done”.
This ratio is usualy lower with high aerobic capacity. There is a reason for those sky high consumptions. Dr Hutch complained about this in an entire book (90 max vo2 and only 400w ftp)

Not for long. Not for everybody. Some realise their max aerobic capacity a bit slowly.

this is rough, unsofisticated and not for experienced. Because of individuality. Averages are wrong for each, right for all.

1 Like