Best bang for buck to increase volume: increase number of workouts or increase duration of workouts?

Lots of talk about increasing volume to potentially break out of a slump. People are saying increased volume correlates with better results. I was thinking of switching from LV to MV plans, but wondering if increased duration of workouts is more effective than increased number of ~1-hour workouts.

I’ve been pretty compliant with my LV plans but seem to have reached an FTP ceiling and suspect I’m not performing as well during events as I’d hoped when relying largely on TR. So, I also want to try to ride outside more than I have.


The more I am reading into the subject the more it seems like adding easy volume is the way to go, not adding more intensity days than 2 or max 3 or adding more and more intervals


Going from LV to MV will increase the volume and the number of workouts.

Is the question if you get more benefits for doing two 60 min workouts vs one 120 workout at Z2?

Going from LV to MV will increase the volume and the number of workouts.

Is the question if you get more benefits for doing two 60 min workouts vs one 120 workout at Z2?

Yes, this is along the lines of what I’m getting at. The MV plan adds a 1 hr endurance ride and a 1.5 hr sweet spot ride to the calendar. I’m wondering if these durations are not as effective as doing longer durations at lower intensities.

I’m also thinking of swapping out the 1.5 hr sweet spot for a multihour outdoor ride and maybe that will give me best of both worlds.

I’m largely curious about what people changed out from LV that really worked well for them to increase their fitness and capability.


Yes, agreed. I don’t think I’d be able to sustain adding more intensity and will quickly burn out. It’s definitely not fun either.

It seems like you can do both in any number of ways. Double days, triple day, 3-4-5+ hour rides. It depends on one’s schedule.

Definitely get outside and ride for more hours. Don’t constrain yourself to the trainer because TR is trainer oriented. You can do a TR workout outside on your head unit and then ride any amount of extra at endurance pace. If the workout involves a lot of small changes in power, then just look at it and figure out the goal of the workout (sweetspot, threshold, whatever) and then just execute the spirit of the workout outside.


So what is your constraint? Recovery time? Or time available during the week? If you have more time and able to recovery you don’t really have to trade of to a lower intensity.

Back in my college days (running)… doubles were just what you did. I stuck with that training model post collegiate for a few years and then when I transitioned to the marathon also transitioned to doing more singles, but extended the duration. My over-all mileage actually dropped (went from 90-110 to more 80-95; still had some big weeks in there though). But the average run went from 30/60 to 75-80. So even though I lowered my weekly mileage the duration was extended. (Workouts stayed the same). I saw a nice jump in performance and RPE.

All that said I can’t say singles were better than doubles because one built on the other. But it is something you can experiment with. Add a couple doubles to increase volume. Then try to build on the duration (though this is my biggest restriction now with a career and family). But as others have said and additional intensity should be added thoughtfully. Start with an additional ride and then something easy. Be sure to assess along the way and be honest about it.

Seiler, in his ‘heirarchy of endurance training needs’ put volume/frequency as the most important. I’ve seen elsewhere, that all things being equal, you’d rather have 7 hours through the week that one 7 hour ride. Seems, as often as you can, with enough rest, is best; I’ve found that to be true for me.

Interestingly, he also notes that periodization is ‘probably overrated’. I could imagine it’s more about the mental benefit, and the sense of building to a crescendo.


IMO, for most amateurs, the best way to go is whichever is least stressful for your life.

So if you have a 60-90m block every day and to stretch that to 2 hours would mean that you now have to get someone else to pick your kids up from whatever or some other big schedule change, then you should probably just add another 60-90m workout on another day during that free block.

But if you’ve only got a good free afternoon 3 days a week and extra time on the weekends then you might be better off bumping those 3x60-90m workouts out to 120 and then another couple hours on the weekend.

For your specific case, I would maybe just stick to the LV plan but then go outside whenever makes sense for you and ride around in Z2. TRs LV plans are super low volume and most people will very quickly hit a plateau at 3-4 hours per week. But the jump from LV to MV is pretty large since it adds a lot of extra intensity as well as time. So I would probably do LV + extra Z2 time.


I think doubles are underutilized in cycling especially among time crunched amateurs. It’s like pros don’t do doubles so we don’t do doubles. My understanding though is that Euro pros often ride to some cafe 3 hours away, sit and eat for an hour, and then ride back home. It’s essentially a double.

It could be as simple as getting up every morning and pedaling some endurance for 30 or 40 minutes on top of regular training.

I listen to the Steven Magness podcast. Steve says they ran doubles out of necessity because of Houston heat. He would train early morning and then again late afternoon. Jon Marcus said that he was stalled out in college and then starting doing doubles without his coach knowing it and proceeded to move up to a new level. If one reads about any of the great Olympic runners, they all ran doubles or triples. They all had regular jobs so they ran before work, sometimes at lunch, and after work.


For me sticking to the LV plan was not enough. I even added outdoor rides to the mix. I found more benefit from MV plans. I do sub some longer outdoor rides when the plan calls for Z2 work. They usually average 3 to 4 hours even when TR schedules a 2 hour session. Being old, I have more endurance than sprinting power.
As far as events, if sticking to the LV plan, add workouts that concentrate on your weaknesses. I would mix it up. Some long rides. Some increased intensity stuff. Mixing it up is more fun. Variety is the spice of life or something like that.


I really like the points @AJS914 and @mwglow15 brought up – increasing volume can be done in a variety of ways, and the best way for you will be what works into your life most easily and with the least amount of added stress.

It could be as simple as extending your warm up/cool down during a workout, or you could do double days, or even tack on an extra hour (or more, depending on time available to train) to an already scheduled ride.

I also like what @Jesse_Vernon1 mentioned – ideally, space your training out a bit more so it’s spread out across your week. Frequency is important, too, and several “smaller” rides will be of more benefit to you than one “monster” ride.

We have some more tips on this subject in the following TR Blog article if you’re interested:

Hope this helps! Feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions.


re: periodization being “probably overrated”:

If you are trying to be in shape most of the year then yeah… it is probably overrated. But periodization is about peaking for one specific event on a specific day (i.e. NCAAs or a HS state championship), in which case, I find it absolutely necessary.

I have actually experimented with this. Summer is a time where high school students usually have less stress, more time and get more sleep. Also once the school year starts and then wears on, students stress levels increase, sleep quality declines and the fall crud makes its way through the team… usually right around championship season. So I experimented with “reverse prioritization” in that we really pushed the quality early then backed off the training intensity (and increased mileage) as life stress increased. It didn’t work out so well… and not surprisingly we almost universally peaked way too soon and felt flat at the end of the season.

In working with high school aged athletes I have also found that the window to hold form is much shorter than trained adults. After about 6 weeks (this is a general observation & varies +/- 2 weeks depending on athlete and training history) of VO2 and high quality sessions plateau and see a decline in performance. Once the decline happens there will be a string of bad performances until the end of the season. In my experience periodization is even more important at this age as youth just can’t hold form. In general, they burn hot and crash hard.

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When I was in college I did double too, I was also in my prime and I could absorb and recover from that work. Not to say it wouldn’t be beneficial these days, but I’m really not interested in that anymore.

As for the OP’s question, I’d say adding easy volume when you can and when it fits is what should be done. My coach’s advice is to time to my structured training when I’m able and that it all adds up. Same goes for sleep, add some sleep, it all adds up.


Recovery time and then when I’m available to train, but I definitely have a little more capacity in those regards compared to just the LV workouts (i.e. I know I can work more time in one way or the other). But I’m wary of burning myself out.

If you have the time on the weekends, I’d start simple and stick to what you’re doing but add a long and easy ride on the weekend.

If weekends are tough but you can add time during the week, I’d just add time to your warmup and/or cooldown.

I wouldn’t start with adding another hard ride. I’d start with adding time in the saddle. Once you’ve found that you can handle the additional volume, you can assess if you want to add more intensity too.


LV to MV has the same number of “Hard” workouts. And as things stands it adds a moderate and easy workout (but we know the moderate is to be replaced).

There are more differences, ssbmv 2 has 2 hard threshold workouts whereas lv only has one. The workouts also get longer


I have always found LV plus additional endurance to be very effective - I have not been training so much this year, but hitting the 3x LV workouts then doing a long weekend ride (and potentially squeezing in other endurance rides like the Baxters) works very well for me.