Effect of a longer commute with my training plan

Hey guys

I’m starting a new job April 1st, it’s a 25-30 km ride each way and pancake flat. Right now I’m only riding around town and delivering the kids, which is about 40 TSS each week, I don’t take into account at all.
But my plan (if we can figure it out with the kids etc) is to commute an average of four times each week. Riding that in zone 2 will be about 338 TSS (65 % IF), or 200 TSS riding it as active recovery (50 % IF).
The thing is that I don’t want to ride eight hours each week in zone 1, that is going to be mindnumbingly boring.
Would it be fine to do my Tuesday and Thursday workout (I’m doing General Build Mid Volume atm, and doing Rolling Road Race High Volume afterwards) on the way back on those days with zone 1 going to work, and drop the 1/2 zone 2 rides on Wednesday/Friday since I’ll be riding that as the commute?
Some quick napkin math says this would add about 100 TSS more each week for the build, and about 70 for the speciality since it already has two zone 2 rides, but the Tuesday and Thursday workouts don’t have a zone 2 component I could scrap.
Would that be too much or does anyone have an other good idea how I could plan this?

Consistent zone 2 isn’t anything to worry about long term. You might want to monitor how you are feeling right after you start up the commute so that you don’t overreach too much, but that’s about it. Cutting some endurance rides or sweet spot in the plan would probably be ok since you are getting it for free.

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This is a great use case for a Low Volume plan. 3 hard interval workouts a week + commuting gets you a very full week, and if you want to incorporate a workout into a commute to consolidate TSS that’s still possible.

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I used to have a long commute that I would bike, 45km each way. Here’s what I learned and some tips after a couple years:

  1. Podcasts and a HRM on the commute are your best friends to keep it under Zone 2.
  2. Unless you have a generous bike path or extremely low traffic, trying to replicate a TR workout during your commute and in (I assume) rush hour traffic is not going to go well (nearly killed myself trying to replicate a VO2 max workout one ride) - intervals on the trainer will always be higher quality and safer.
  3. See if it’s an option to only bike one-way a day. For me, this meant biking to work on Monday AM, taking the train home, then train to work on Tuesday AM and bike home Tues PM. Relentless Zone 2 is going to fatigue you, especially depending on the weather. You could also time it so that you only commute one-way or do a shorter commute on TR workout days and then double commute on the non-TR days.
  4. Like @aldenhart said, you’d be great on a LV plan, but I followed a MV plan doing this at one point.
  5. See if you can find a shorter “B” route. On days when the weather was terrible or I was tired or I did my swim in the morning or I was running late, I would ditch my car at a train station parking lot along the route and that would knock 15km off my ride into work.

What I think you should do is use your commute home on your TR workout days as a warm up, jump on the trainer once you get home and then you could skip the warmup for the workout. Or, you could also do the workouts on the trainer in the AM and jump into a fresh kit and commute as your warm down.

However, if your commute is low-traffic and you don’t have the time to do your workouts on the trainer, your plan seems ok to me! Just ease into the commuting by commuting 2 days a week the first 1-2 weeks to see how it feels instead of jumping into 4-commute days plus workouts. It would take me about 4-5 weeks to get back to full commuting steam every spring :slight_smile:

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Regard your points @EKF:

  1. I fortunately have a PM so that isn’t a problem, it’s just boring to ride zone 1 every time, so I’m just looking for something else.
  2. I actually have both. One route is seperated bike path the whole way, the other route is extremely low traffic. Even if a take a detour to make it longer I can choose between both bikepath and low traffic a million ways. Go rural Denmark!
  3. I’ve thought about that too, that way I can also deliver the kids one morning, ride home in the afternoon, ride the next morning and pick up the kids on my way home - doing a bit more work on the home front never hurts :slight_smile:
  4. I’m more into a medium/high since they have some longer and a bit different workouts for the main workout, then I’d just take out the zone 2 stuff and do that as commute. @aldenhart
  5. That’s not possible unfortunately, but then I’ll just take the car and deliver/get the kids. Making up for lost commutes/workouts shouldn’t be a problem.

Doing the commute and a TR workout after each other won’t be possible with the family, they need some time as well, and if I’m going to be biking close to 10-15 hours each week, I’m already stretching it :smiley:
Easing into the commutes wasn’t actually in my mind at all. Since the rides themselves aren’t a problem, but I can see that it would affect my TR workouts.

Thanks a lot for the replys guys!

Great to hear, I think I’ll stick with the initial plan then. If it’s too much I might just ride it in zone 1 or do a lower volume plan.

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We are actually talking about making the most of your commuting on this week’s podcast! It is happening right now, but you can catch the livestream here:

If you miss the livestream, the video will be uploaded to YouTube today and the timestamps will be added by tomorrow :slight_smile:

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Sweet I’m bringing back my 45km +660m commute rides into MV FD Tri plan. Look forward to the podcast.

@DanielAG

Used to ride 50km +260m to work, so not pancake flat and it had about 17 junctions or roundabouts that could interfere with my flow. I can’t say I ever found it boring, but it was hard 200-300km per week if I did two or three days bike commute. I broke it up by driving one day or taking a train, and running when I got there.

I tried TR at the time but there was no way I could add it on top, this year I have a hillier route and I’m blending it in taking each week as it comes. I think mine fits closest to a 2hr threshold interval session, with yours it sounds like you can speed up/slow down as you see fit…freedom! But take care you don’t overdo it at home and then can’t make the commute the next day!

(Also, leave all your clothes, washbag, spare pump, tubes and tires at work)

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50 km with 0 m elevation vs 100 km with 520 m elevation are far from each other. But I get what you’re saying. I’ll also be taking the car some days, if the weather is bad it’s also a good excuse to take the car and replenish the supplies at work.

I think I’ll try and incorporate the commute as part of the training as much as possible rather than doing the training besides it. 200ish km/6-8 hours pr week + 7-8 hours of TR would be way too much for me. But doing the commutes and including the Tuesday and Thursday workout into those, I’ll “only” be doing 6-8 hours commute/intervals and 4 hours of TR in the weekend.

When we’re hitting April the local club is starting as well, and I’ll be riding with them on Wednesdays and Sundays anyway. I’ll keep TR so I can get some quality done on my commutes and on the days that I can’t ride with the club.

As many others have said I think I need to keep a very close eye on whether I’m getting overtrained. As they mentioned in the podcast going too hard on the commutes is way too easy to do.

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Yeah sounds like the right approach to me - I would look at how you’re riding your commutes and choose TR sessions that provide a counter balance…So commutes likely to be Endurance rides, I’d look at VO2max intervals at the weekend.

Make sure you’re getting enough protein and carbs, rest and recovery to support all the work - sound great to me though :+1::grinning:

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Ok let’s try to talk about my experience. I have been following high volume plans for more than two years, combined with daily commute five days a week (about 15K each way). It works like a charm ! I don’t skip any session, but I am used to that now. For a beginner, it might be a good idea to skip the “recovery” session on TR and just focus on the three hard workouts first.

What I would do at the beginning so :

  • Monday : just commute
  • Tuesday : workout + commute
  • Wednesday : commute
  • Thursday : workout +commute
  • Friday : commute
    And your regular workouts on week-ends.

Another thing is that I found really easier to train BEFORE commuting in the morning. First, your legs will be fresher and your motivation is way higher than after a long day at work and a commute ride, even when you just ride Z2.

People are often nervous about having a very high CTL, but trust me, you can survive to way more than what you think you are capable of now…

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Haven’t listened to the podcast yet but my plan when weather permits, right now i’m finishing off sprint tri low volume, which will carry me to april where i’ll start oly distance low volume like this:

Monday - 23k to and 23k back commute + TR swim workout (easy)
Tuesday - Motorbike commute + TR bike workout (hard)
Wednesday - 23k to and 23k back commute + TR Run workout later in evening (medium)
Thursday - Motorbike commute + TR swim workou (hard) t + Calisthenics
Friday - 23k to and 23k back commute + TR brick Run workout (easy)
Saturday - TR bike workout (hard) + Calisthenics
Sunday - Off

Now i’m that doesn’t make me ready for my olympic distance tri, I DON’T KNOW WHAT WILL

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I commute like you describe as well, (I haven’t this season, but it is my norm) I ride 50K a day 3-4 days a week depending, and I use a TR Low Volume plan.

I drive in Monday, leave my car at work and use it as a mobile base of operations, so I have wheels at work during the week.

  • Monday evening I ride home, and back to work Tuesday (Basically 24k each way).
  • Tuesday evening I drive home and do a TR workout, then drive back to work Wednesday (early morning meeting).
  • Wednesday I ride home, then back in Thursday morning.
  • Thursday evening I drive home and do a TR workout.
  • Friday morning I ride in, and then drive home that evening.
  • Saturday long TR workout or good focused ride outdoors, group ride, race, etc.

My ride to work is generally down hill, so I can do it with a minimum of energy expense, leaving me generally fresh for my TR workout those days. I don’t try to do any structured style training outdoors, I just ride and I save the good workouts for the trainer. Because of the nature of traffic here in Austin, I find that it takes me just about the same amount of time to ride as it does to drive, and I have a really nice “therapy session” to boot. When I’m fully in this habit, my TSS runs around 500-600 per week, and since I’ve been recovering the last few months I haven’t been doing it, though I plan to start soon.