Hi. I have 3-4 evenings per week available for structured training (currently sweet spot), and in addition I do around 1.5h commute (low intensity, but with some steep sections where that is not possible, 40-50 mins each way, depending on weather, around, 50TSS per day) 2-5 days a week.
I like to have a plan to know and prepare mentally for what is coming up the next days.
How should I set up a training plan? Should I Ignore the commute and schedule 3 days a week, or add something for 6 times a week, and substitute in the commutes? or something else?
I do about half my riding on commutes. My coach is pretty good at fitting in training sessions that work with the stop-start nature of the riding.
A lot of people will say just use the commutes as filler, but we’ve had pretty good success putting some structure into them.
Until this week I have done one of my weekly workouts on my commute I use the Alternates feature originally to shorten them to 45min and changed them to outdoors, but for the last block I used the new TR feature that lets you change the whole blocks workout to 45mins (or any time in fact) and changed all workout there in one go to an outdoors default. Edit its also RPE.
I did the work out indoors this week though, as its getting a bit greasy out there for a VO2MAX session.
You could consider reducing your high intensity sessions to twice a week and utilise the polarised approach by switching to volume rather than intensity to drive your adaptations.
As for the hills on your commute , consider changing your gearing or reduce your speed to stay within your desired zone. It might help to switch your focus from speed to quality time spent in zone?
Using heart rate or RPE for zone 2 is fine and I don’t religiously follow each workout as I am endeavouring to increase my zone 2 rides in a sustainable way whilst my body adapts to the increased volume/stress. So far this strategy is working well and is underpinned by quality calories and increased sleep.
I’m coming to end of my first 8 week build block and not only am I very happy with my progress with improving power numbers but the added benefit of dropping weight and not carrying the fatigue i had from last years SSBMV.
My commutes take just under 1 hr ( mostly up hill) there and 45 minutes back. This means I swap some of the suggested workouts utilising my travel time and tss to select a desired workout. Again I’m not too focused on this aspect as my over arching aim is time in zone 2. Stay flexible and don’t stress the small stuff. As long as you’re nailing the hard workouts but these really do need to be hard. Another aim in time is to operate at the higher end of my zone two but only when my body is ready for the increased load.
You don’t need a power meter and you can complete the post workout TrainerRoad survey as normal.
For some context I’m 56 and have one rest day per week and I’m averaging 10 hrs a week with the aim of pushing my training hours to 13-15 per week by the end of spring.
I’d have a similar commute, albeit without the hills and only 2 days a week. I’ve been trying to keep to “zone 2” on it (no power meter on the commuter at the moment). For the lead up to my spring A event, I’m following the Masters Plan, and it’s 2 hard workouts a week.
fwiw I moved the two “easy” endurance days to one day and 45 minutes each as outside workouts, and then I plan to put carter or west vidette on the other day. It’s week 1, so we’ll see.
On my remote days, I train in the morning, without having to get up at ridiculous a clock - generally after the children have gone for the bus.
I’m taking the exact same approach. I have 33km each way so doing this commute max of twice weekly. Rather than try fit intervals into my commute I stay well within Z2 using mostly HR and RPE. IMO commuting in dark, potentially wet weather and busy roads is a bit dangerous and stressful so solid Z2 just works very well.
Then I will try execute one quality hard workout during the working week and maybe one at the weekend.
If you like commuting then I would definitely not drop them, just make sure you separate your hard workouts sufficiently and don’t ride too hard on the commutes in case you compromise quality of your workouts.
Welcome to the forum!
As you can see, this is a great place for questions like these. You’ll get lots of feedback!
In my opinion, if you’re already getting in 3-4 evenings of structured training each week, I’d probably try and keep these commutes as easy as possible. It’s nice to be able to take in your surroundings, enjoy the ride, and arrive at work without feeling like you just finished some traditional VO2 Max intervals.
I agree with what @slowmart said in regards to gearing. What kind of bike are you riding? What do you have for gearing now? In so many cases, lower gearing is the answer to keeping the effort low and sustainable. It’s nice to have the option to easily spin up the hills in your area if possible.
Also, how steep and long are these hills? Are they the type that you could ride tempo up for a few minutes or the type that requires you to stand and muscle your way up for a shorter time? This is important to consider.
Depending on your gearing options, I’d say that these commutes could replace one of your harder (say, Sweet Spot, maybe) workouts during the week.
The ultimate goal here is not to overdo it and keep some joy in your riding. If there is a way to keep these efforts low, that’s my first recommendation. If you’re going to have to work a bit to get up the hills either way, it’s mainly a question of ensuring that your workload outside of the commutes is at a sustainable level to allow you to commute without trouble and still knock out your workouts at the end of the day.
I’d be happy to help you figure this out further if you’d like!
Let me know your thoughts!
Wow! Thanks for all the great tips!
I’m using a gravel bike for commute. I’ll get a bigger cassette to keep intensity
down in the hills, which are more “kickers” than long climbs (7%/70hm and 11%/30hm).
I promise not to chase e-bikes
My commute road isn’t suited for any structured outdoors training
(roundabouts, crossings, schools, bus stops, sharp corners, traffic, pedestrians, narrow bridges, …), but I’ll try to look out for some workouts which I could do by taking
a detour on the way home. If it gets really windy or roads get deep snow, I’ll
substitute a sweetspot with the commute
So far I have been able to follow the hard indoor rides, so I guess
that means the commute has been slow enough. I’ll be careful if I
start to have problems with the hard indoors workouts.