Back-to-back days

From time to time I have to do back to back days of hard(er) workouts. I sometimes struggle (mostly mentally) to get through the second day. And I am not 100% sure if it effects the rest of my training week/block negatively . As an example, this week I have to do Fang Mountain (5x9min over/under) and Lion Rock (4 sets of 3x5 min threshold w. sprints). Should I just push through both of them and hope for the best, or is it wise to decrease the intensity of the first workout by maybe 5% so that it effects the rest of the week less.

I think it could depend on how your body reacts to hard efforts. For me, I actually seem to feel better the day after a hard workout than I do 2 days after when the DOMS really sets in. It sounds like you may react differently though so how have you felt in the day or two after the back-to-back workouts when you’ve done it? Maybe you can answer your own question if you’ve found yourself wrecked or skipping later workouts in the week. I’m going to be trying back-to-back workouts on my next training block–hoping it goes well :crossed_fingers::grinning:. My week will be setup as E-H-H-E-E-H-H with the weekend being long run with Tempo efforts on Saturday and longer bike w/optional brick run on the Sunday.

Depending on a few things (age, fitness, longevity as an athlete and training history), going back to back with these difficult workouts can be detrimental. At 41, I struggle with short turnarounds (say, 13 hours) between 90 min over/under sessions and 2 hr sweet spot sessions. I doubt I would be as sharp trying to pull off Lamarck the day after Spencer.

The answer to your question about scheduling largely depends on the rest of the week. For example, if you need to go Hard - Hard, but have two days off after, then by all means try and execute the workouts as fragged. If you’re trying to go Hard - Hard - off - Hard, I’d try sliding the week around a little bit. Maybe make a six-week training block into a seven week block, or a three week block into a four week block, and schedule the hard workouts several days apart. You could add easy/short rides in between if time allows and get more overall stress without sacrificing freshness coming into your key workouts as well.


evryones different but no rest days with running (and swimming?) doesnt sound sustainable


It’s a balancing act for sure :wink: . Especially when it comes to intensity. Monday is lightest day with just a swim in the evening so I go from Sunday morning to Monday evening as my “rest day”.

Im not a coach, actually FAR from it but I’ve heard fairly consistently from those I respect that you need a rest day, in other words as little activity as possible definitely no training to really foster your training adaptations. You’re training so much to get stronger but you may be actually hampering those efforts with no off days. YMMV

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I appreciate the concern. I’m mature enough in my training to recognize when I do need extra rest or to back off–and actually take the rest :wink:. I have recovery weeks built into my plan as well so it’s not go-go-go week after week.

A year or so ago I was told by work that I “had too much PTO”, so I started scheduling random Fridays off. I usually work 1/2 day Sat as well, so I started scheduling those off too. When I started Ironman training last year, I decided I would schedule every other Fri/Sat off, and do a 3 day “training weekend”. Some times I’d do back to back 100 milers, or 100 on Sat, and a brick on Sunday. It worked well, I got my volume up and I seemed to recover well. This past weekend was the first of this year’s. Friday was core work out, weights, Dade (9x2’ VO2max intervals) and 8 mile run on an Alter-G treadmill (unloaded to 75% body weight); Sat was Longfellow - 78 miles on a Stages spin bike (bad weather, nearly went bonkers); Sunday was Gibraltar (40 mi) and a 10 mile run. I try to optimize recovery from each workout - pound the fluids and salt, eat a ton, take naps (if my dog will let me), go to bed early and do 30 min sauna sessions to boost blood plasma volume, HGH and testosterone levels. Granted, Monday I was a little knackered, but today (Tues) I did weights, 2500 meter pool workout and Spruce Knob (2x30 min intervals). Wasn’t sure how I would do on the bike workout, but was able to hold 10-20w above the target watts on both intervals. We’re all different. As long as you listen to your body and be smart about it, I think it’s a good way to get in some serious volume. Knowing your FTP and what watts (and corresponding HR) you should normally be able to hold is a good way to check your recovery level. If I wasn’t able to hold the watts on the first interval, I would not have hesitated to pull the plug and make it an easy spin day. My two cents worth


Reply @AustinPT is that true about saunas? Sounds great if so, my apartment block has one so I can easily fit a sesh in everyday if it’ll give me those benefits.

If I am planning back to back days of hard workouts I try to space them further apart. First one AM second one late evening. It works out as a lot of extra hours between workouts that should help.

I did do 3 hard consecutive days up to yesterday (Spanish Needle -3, Antelope +5, Baird +6) and it was very telling on the body finishing up last night tbh.


From what I’ve read (and Chad has mentioned the same during podcasts), yes. Most of it comes from Army research. The two protocols I’ve seen were 15 min pre workout and 15 min post or 30 min post. I usually do 30 post. Look up thermogenic
conditioning on you tube, Rhonda Somebody gives a good review. I read a lot while I’m doing it to pass the time. When I first started I was finishing David Miller’s book and he brought it up, so apparently the pro peloton has caught on to it

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That’s basically going to take some experience from you. I’d try to press on with those two, and then maybe bump one of the lower intensity rides down a bit to make it a bit easier.

And just to add to the other part of the conversation with @wyku many triathletes don’t take complete days off since you’re always trying to balance 3 different sports. Learning how to properly keep the easy days easy and the hard days hard does take time and some honest self-reflection.

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I did this last year during cross season when I was doing the Cross Specialty plan. I moved the Thursday workout to Wednesday so was doing Tue/Wed hard, Thurs easy (easier?), in order to better simulate the Sat/Sun back-to-back racing during the season. The second session was definitely more challenging than if I’d had that easier day between.

I think what I would do is try both workouts at 100% and see how it goes. If you wind up not completing one of the sessions, be honest with yourself whether it’s mental or physical. Either way, I think dialing down a bit while maintaining form is preferable to having sloppy form or not completing the workout.

I would plan to do the first workout at 100%, assuming you’re able to, and then use as many small tricks as you can to help make it through the 2nd, and follow up by adequate rest. So things like fueling well before/during, having some caffiene, putting on loud music, hydrate well, picking a time of day you find it easiest to ride, etc.

If you know from experience that you’re not able to complete the 2nd workout, I would question the necessity to double them up. If you’re not planning on being fresh enough to complete a workout, I’d think it best not to do that workout at all, and instead do an easy day.

If you have a forced break for the following days where you don’t have much option, I’d just lower intensity on the 2nd workout, and/or take extra short breaks during intervals, as needed. Also, consider swapping the order of the rides, if one appears to be more key for your training than the other. Definitely do the one you think is most important first, regardless of whether or not it’s normally scheduled first.

I always do back-to-back(-to-back) hard days — off/H/H/H/off/H/H. Works for me, even though I’m “older”. You get used to it but you have to have rest days. :+1:


Same here (again) as @Captain_Doughnutman, another old man doing RHHHRHH on the trainer - the volume on the trainer isnt enough to really fatigue me, I can more less recover in 24h and if I havent I train anyway becasue I know its only an hour or so and training with sore/tires legs Illicits other benefits both physical and mental

My rest days are strength days as Im still rehabing an injury

How much harder could you go on your hard days if you had an easy or moderate day in between? Could you get more gains from adjusting your schedule? I’d say this isn’t as important during base, but, during Short Power build or Criterium, shouldn’t you be so wrecked after a hard day that you aren’t able to do back to back days?


No idea where this ideology comes from but it’s nothing to which I subscribe. :no_good_man:

Coggan. Scroll down to the power zones and see his description of each zone: Power Training Zones for Cycling

Guess I’m doing my workouts wrong. :man_shrugging:

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