Concurrent Programming--Balancing Training Stress

Hello All! I’ll do my best to be succinct in hopes of some helpful opinions/advice/discussion.

Background: 35yr Male with ~2yrs of essentially daily high-mileage running experience (70-85+mpw / ~3hr marathon PB) up until last Feb, where injuries sidelined me to the point of switching 90% to cycling. Currently, riding 9.5-12hrs of volume per week with TrainerRoad indoor for most of my rides–in last week of General Base High Volume Phase 2. Typically, two higher intensity sessions per week (Sweet spot, threshold, some VO2max/sprint). Running at best 5-10mpw. And for the big monkey wrench…lifting weights very seriously 4x per week for the last 2months. I have many years of background in strength sports way before I got into endurance stuff–however, totally dropped all of that when I got into endurance training (running) over 2 years ago. I’ve decided to put muscle back on my frame, even if it slightly diminishes my endurance performance. For two reasons…it’s very difficult for me even without lifting to keep my bodyweight down below ~150lbs at 5’9". I’ve been in a constant state of tracking food intake to keep my weight down and I’m tired of it. Second reason, is simply aesthetics and just missing legit lifting/bodybuidling/powerlifting.

In the last two months of intentionally, carefully programmed resistance training focused around compound lifts (squats, OHP, rows, RDLs, weighted dips/chins) emphasis on progressive overload (typically linear progression) and a modest calorie surplus…I’ve gone from 145lbs up to about 156lbs. All of my lifts have drastically improved. I’ve maintained the exact amount of endurance work via Trainer Road as I was before, with very very minor modifications. Along with the bodyweight and strength increases…my FTP has increased significantly in the last couple of months too. In fact, even my relative FTP has increased when accounting for bodyweight. I am really striving for a 4w/kg FTP at some point in time, but currently am only at ~3.25w/kg.

I’m 100% natty, and in fact one of the reasons I decided to intentionally gain weight via calorie surplus and lifting was because the sheer amount of pure endurance volume I Was doing via running the last 2yrs absolutely crushed my total testosterone to <190ng/dl. Although I have been making substantial hypertrophy/strength gains in the presence of 9-12hrs/wk of strutctured Trainer Road cycling, I do think this is going to flatten sooner rather than later–particularly, as the training loads increase in the weight room…too does the overall structural and neurological stress.

My current issue and/or area of difficulty is that I have a very good grasp of periodization/programming for strength/hypertrophy (it helps that I also hold an MSc in ex phys). I have Trainer Road AI handling much of my programming for cycling. However, things get mutually affected when programming both concurrently…and there’s no good way to communicate that to Trainer Road. Do you have any potential insights or experience in successfully managing hybrid training? I have very clear concurrent goals–1. bulk/gain up to 165lbs at roughly 2-4lbs/month gain via current calorie surplus and RT. 2. Increase maximal loads for compound lifts (e.g., 1RM for squat, OHP, weighted dips/chins). 3. Increase FTP…at this point I’d be okay with just absolute FTP focus on holding/increasing relative FTP when I eventually go in a calorie deficit when I hit my goal bulk weight.

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Welcome to the forum, you’ve failed in doing so, lol. You’ll likely get more help/better responses if you have short and precise questions rather than a deep backstory.

My advice. Periodise.

Spend, say, 3 months focusing on aerobic work and put your lifting back to maintenance. Hitting the major movements/muscle groups once a week (spread over 1 or 2 sessions) with 2 or 3 sets at a 7 or 8 RPE should keep almost all of your gains.

Then, for the next 3 months, focus on lifting and put your riding on maintenance. As much easy endurance riding as you can fit in. Once a week incorporate 30 minutes TiZ of threshold or 45 minutes of sweetspot.

Repeat as necessary.

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Hey there and welcome to the TR community!

First, as you noted, strength training and endurance training can be at odds with each other at times. Going for a squat PR in the morning while trying to knock out a tough interval session on the bike later on can be complicated. :sweat_smile:

To get the most out of each sport, you’d probably have to periodize/prioritize which one gets the most attention for certain blocks of training, as @Helvellyn said. Focus on maximizing gains in one sport for a bit while the other one goes into maintenance mode, then switch focuses for the next block.

If you’re looking to keep up with weight training during a “full” annual cycling plan, try to maximize strength gains during the Base Phase, while focusing more on strength maintenance during the Build and Specialty Phases.

For periods when you want to prioritize strength work over aerobic training, we offer cycling Maintenance Plans, which can be found here.

Regardless of which sport you prioritize at a given moment, you should pair your harder interval sessions up with your harder gym days. Try to keep your harder days hard and your easier days easy. That way, you’ll get the most benefit from your recovery days, allowing you to hit your more challenging sessions better rested.

This article might help you out with some more tips on integrating strength training to your cycling plan:

Hope this helps – feel free to let me know if you have any additional questions!

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