Different ways to add more volume?

I am currently in sweet spot base low volume two and due to the corona-lockdown I have more time to train. With low volume, I usually train for about 7-10 hours a week. Now, I still want to stick to low volume as it has only three workouts per week. I also join zwift group rides which keep me motivated as I really like the social aspect of cycling. Given my addiction to zwift group rides, 3 intense trainerroad workouts per week is enough to keep me motivated to follow the plan.

Now, I want to increase my volume to approximately 15 hours a week or more if time allows. I am open to double days and I have the option for long endurance rides on the weekend or on some weekdays. There are multiple group rides on zwift which makes me want to join them everyday(lol) but I prioritize my trainerroad plan over those. Here is my calendar from last week:-

Mon: Bluebell
Tue: 1h40m endurance ride
Wed: Palisade
Thu: 1h40m endurance ride
Sat: Jepson
Sun: 5-hour endurance ride
Total TSS: 679

What are the ways through which I can add more volume? I find that doing an endurance ride immediately after a TR workout is too demanding. I did Mary Austin today and then wanted to do a 1 hour endurance ride after that. 30 minutes in and I pulled the plug (finishing Mary Austin was my priority and my legs were pretty cooked after the workout).
I would like to see more sample 15 hour or 15+ hour weeks. Lastly, I am aware that the only volume I can add are endurance(zone 2) rides.

My first question is, where are you fitting in your rest and recovery? How is your body absorbing all of your hard work?

Whilst not adding volume, I’d be looking to combine your two shorter endurance sessions to create a rest day. You could then do a three hour ride and try to complete a VO2 session afterwards.

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Assuming you can’t stretch out your shorter endurance rides? Have you tried doing some endurance riding prior to your TR workouts?

I do take a day off per week and that day is completely off the bike. I have one more week of loading and then comes the recovery week. So what you’re saying is that I need to ride my bike 7 days a week? I will try doing some shorter endurance rides before the TR workouts but I hope it does not affect the quality of the TR workout as that is more important for me.

That’s not at all what I’m saying. I can see that currently you have Friday free, which is great. I’d recommend that you keep that free.

My suggest was to combine the Tuesday and Thursday workouts (if possible) and add VO2 (Bluebell) after that ride. That would free up more time for recovery and allow you to accommodate an additional session.

Ohh ok I get it now. I will give that a try!

You could always add an easy 1 hr-ish ride (something like pettit or lazy mountain) first thing in the morning. These aren’t too taxing, so you could easily add them every day.

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Here are a few recent weeks for me. These all come out to around 14-16 hours. You can see I’m prioritizing the hard intervals and then extending my cooldown at the end. Usually my limiter on the extension is available time, not fitness.


I would provide the caveat that I have a decent history of this type of volume. These three weeks are all in the 750-850 TSS range. If you don’t have a history of this type of training volume I would encourage you to avoid adding volume to this level. Just because you have the time doesn’t make it the right decision.

If you want to increase volume because you suddenly have the time don’t bump up dramatically or you risk burning out fast

One alternative way to push the margins without increasing TSS are to add fasted rides. Make all your endurance rides first thing in the morning before you’ve eaten. See how that goes - you’re adding some small gains with lower risk of burnout. All of the rides in my screenshots are morning rides, and I don’t eat until 60-120 minutes in to any of the endurance efforts.

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It’s going to be hard to go from 7-10 to 15 especially with all the TR and Zwift intensity. Do it slowly. If you going outside to increase volume, do some long easy multi-hour rides and really stay off the gas.

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If you continue with that progression I think trying to do Mills or a V02 workout the day after a 5 hour z2 ride could be really rough. I want to be rested for a high quality V02 session so I put a recovery day before it. Since September I’ve been doing low volume plans and bumping up to around 11-13 hour weeks. This is roughly what my last time doing that week looked like:

Mon - Lazy Mountain
Tues - 60 min V02 (i.e. bluebell)
Wed - 60 min SS / Threshold workout (Jepson)
Thurs - 90 min Threshold workout (Palisade)
Fri - Lazy Mountain
Sat - 4-5 hour endurance ride
Sun - 3 hour endurance ride

Lazy Mountain on Monday gives me some recovery before the V02 workout, then the others are in decreasing intensity / training load. YMMV depending on your personal abilities, I’m relatively not good at VO2 and need extra recovery time after. I’m good at threshold and can push through them even if not feeling great.

That gets you to 13 hours, maybe add Lazy Mountain or Pettit or similar IF z2 ride Wed / Thurs mornings and that gets you to 15. Or do zwift group rides but keep it in check.

That schedule worked for me for SSB I/II and the first half of SPB. The second half of SPB was too intense for stacking like that and I changed Wednesday to z2 and pushed the 60min SS/threshold workout to Saturday morning and incorporated it into my long ride.

If you going outside to increase volume, do some long easy multi-hour rides and really stay off the gas

not going outdoors anytime soon but I will join easier group rides on zwift. I usually join B group rides which average 3.0w/kg so I will join C rides which average anywhere between 2.5 to 2.7w/kg which is a considerable reduction in intensity.

I also found a short 45 minute endurance workout called “Birch” on trainerroad so I will try that after my upcoming 1 hour Vo2 session. @trpnhntr I usually do 600 to 700 TSS but they were mostly endurance rides with 2 workouts per week. Anyways, this is my last week of SSB Lv 2 and then I have a recovery week so I don’t feel hesitant to add some more volume :smiley: . Thanks for showing what your week looks like… I see that you are picking a longer version of a workout and also raise the intensity during the cooldown phase.

@Craig_G so you do 3 intense workouts on back to back days? That must be pretty hard! I usually try not to do that to avoid burnout. So a recovery ride is better than a day completely off the bike for you? Thanks for sharing what your week looked like.

I found it a little easier to do the V02 on Tuesday, the 90min on Thursday and the remaining workout on Wednesday. Originally I did the 90min on Wednesday but felt a little more recovered by Thursday to hit that workout hard. YMMV, but I think I might feel more tired on Thursday if I did 1:45 of z2 vs 1:00 SS workout on Wednesday. Fatigue builds over the days and finding the right order to have high quality sessions did require a little experimentation with the order.

I was able to push through the first 4 weeks of SPB like that, but after the first V02 workout in week 5 realized I was going to have to make some adjustments. So Wednesday became 1.5hrs z2 for the rest of build.

Re: zwift group rides: I have found KISS, flat BMTR, and MGCC rides to be pretty well behaved and on-target, so I will incorporate those into my schedule for z2 rides. Other rides I either avoid or try to exercise self-restraint, which doesn’t always go so well. Sometimes its hard to restrain myself stick to 3.0wkg on a 3.0 group ride when everyone is pushing 3.8-4wkg. I think it is a matter of finding rides that support your goals and doing those instead of any random group ride.

Good luck with the 15 hours.

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Thanks! I ride the 3R steady rides on the weekends(B group) and I will use those rides to my advantage. Joining a C group ride tomorrow after my VO2 max workout. I will for sure pull the plug if I don’t have the mood to do an endurance ride after that workout. Given it is a sub 2.5w/kg ride, I am pretty positive.

Yes, the KISS at base, BMTR centuries are pretty good. I have done those rides! I don’t find any MGCC rides that fit my schedule but it is not an issue :slight_smile:

Yeah, 3R rides I’ve done were all very ‘well behaved’ and people stick to the advertised pace. I also like DIRT rides and find them fun, but they are a little less well behaved and tend to break into more groups. But my inability to restrain myself and stick to my desired pace is more of a personal failing than the rides. I think the rides I prefer are also pan flat and that helps with the group sticking together and maintaining a consistent pace. Hills wreck group cohesion.

How did the ride go after your VO2 session?

It is sometimes difficult to stick to a desired pace especially on the hills. There are always riders going over the specified w/kg who drag the group and create a single file forcing everyone to push harder. I usually stick to the beacon in that case and majority of the riders are cooperative.

I didn’t ride on the trainer after my VO2 max session. I went on a short ride outdoors on my MTB(not on strava or TR) around the city before my VO2 max session so I counted that as an endurance ride. Lasted for 30 minutes and the intensity was zone 1 as I did not want to push hard. I was able to complete Spencer +2 which had 3 min VO2 max repeats which got my HR at 180’s pretty quickly. It was definitely a tough workout. I was pretty confident as I remember doing 5 minute VO2 max repeats back when I was doing the century specialty last fall which which kept me close to 200bpm(my max HR is 206).
I see that it can be a big challenge doing an endurance ride after this workout or even before workouts like these because they are meant to be intense to compensate for the lack of time availability. I will see how this is going to play out on the build phase. The workouts look a lot more intense compared to SSB Lv2 for all build phases. What zwift rides specifically are you interested in?

Oh and another advantage is that the 3R ride every Sunday which used to be 100km on 10 AM ESTis now 160km due to the COVID-19 related “lockdown”. Group rides do play a large part in increasing the volume and without group rides I will most likely loose motivation.