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.

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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.

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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…


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

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.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.


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

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.

Funny - had exactly the same thought :joy::face_with_monocle:

[quote=“GreenSquare, post:17, topic:78152, full:true”]

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.

The more you increase your aerobic capacity (5-8’ efforts) you teach your body to empty the tank very quickly with all kinds of substrates, this brings with it a substantial drop in economy and therefore longer yields are affected.

For this reason, specialization in cycling materializes much more when the tests are really endurance (>4h) since the efficiency of the individual ends up equaling the field and the MAP becomes less relevant.

Otherwise, with all the VO2 max man world records, it would be easy to take the high-parameter Norwegian on duty and train him to his limit, be it 80-85% to ensure the tour podium, but that’s not the way it is.

Gross efficiency falls as your displacement increases, lactate power is limiting and the “pool” of fibers is something genetic that has not yet been deepened enough.

Your validation may make sense in subjects who are not highly trained, but for high-level athletes it is not like that at all.

Good time to revisit the meaning of reaching one’s full potential.

  • I start riding
  • first my vo2max starts to increase. To a lesser amount my “threshold”
  • my vo2max reaches to my ceiling. I realized my potential there.
  • I keep riding
  • my threshold gets closer and closer to my vo2max
  • soon I peaked there too. No more threshold for me. Here all ramp tests, 8 mins, 20 mins etc. All that bs is done measuring me.
  • I keep riding. Because why not. I am not disheartened by same test results all the time.
  • I can stay at my threshold longer and longer. Over an hour sometimes. See where do the phrases like “a long time”, “~1 hour”, “35-75 minute” come from.
  • I stagnate there too. No more vo2max, no more ftp, no more tte for me.
  • But I keep riding. Because I am thick like that.
  • I start repeating my ftp for my tte (almost) twice in a ride. No more I am done for the day after an all-out climb.
  • I now can do 2 or even 3 days like that. 2-3 big climb around ftp, around my tte. 2 or even 3 days. I am dead at the end but doable.
  • Years has passed now. I clocked over 8000 hours. Can I improve? Not according to usual bs out there. I am peaked 5 years ago. According to them I reached my potential and stagnated ever since my 2000th hour years ago. I kept riding only for the love of the sport
  • I did my first stage race in the mountains. I defended myself for the first 3 days, not losing much time and staying in top20. Destroyed most of the competition on the days 4 and 5 getting into top 10. Last 2 days were bad. I faded badly, making it to the finish at 14th place.
  • Came back for more the next year. This time I fade much less on the last days, finishing a respectable 8th.
  • My vo2max and ftp are the same for the last 8 years. But I have learning disabilities. So keep riding.
  • This year I clock my 10.000th hour. I do that stage race again. Finishing 9th place. Unlike previous years I feel pretty good afterwards, taking the family for a trekking holiday.
  • Now, I reached my full potential. Only way is to go down.

And all this takes 10k hours.


Ha ha. Love it!