Guidance for 10-15 hours weekly indoor training

Is there guidance for people who have 10 - 15 hours per week to train? I don’t do any racing but love spending time on the bike and getting faster. I have been using TR for 3+ years with success in general though on limited time, like everyone, due to work / commute. Without diving into much details, I now have a whole lot of time and was wondering how to go about planning my training for the next 9 months to 1 year. I hope to develop a bigger aerobic engine with more than high intensity low volume work while I can.

Using the (Base/Build/Specialty) cycle, I was thinking of using Traditional Base high volume, followed by only low volume build and specialty, but padding them with Z2 rides to reach my weekly hour budget. I was thinking the low volume (albeit long, 2.5+ hour/session) would allow little to no rest days most of the time. I tried looking for guidance in the Cycling Training Bible (5th edition) but they are unspecific about actual workouts, though, I did notice for athlete with more than 9 hours / week to train, there are no rest days at all:

What did your training look like prior to having 10-15 hours to train? How much indoor training experience do you have.

There’s a chance I’m reading this wrong but, having no rest day(s) is a bad idea. The body needs time to digest and adapt to the work you’re putting in. Adaptation doesn’t happen during the training. No rest could lead to a quick build up of fatigue and derail your training plans.

Personally I would look to divide your training time up into indoor and outdoor sessions. Why not save three or four of those hours for a nice endurance ride on a Sunday? Too much indoor interval work can be counter productive.

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I have been doing indoor training with TR for the past 3+ years. In general I use either of mid volume or high volume plan depending on how much time I have but my commute and work made it hard to maintain it for long. 2019 was rough year for finding time to train (see my calendar). I had 2 surgeries, and a baby, and end of year to beginning of 2020, working to get promoted (which worked out). My TSS over the past 4 years (which the gaps as explained):

I still plan on having Mondays off but I am considering the low volume plan so the need for recovery can be limited. For Sunday’s long endurance, where you thinking 4+ hours?

Taking a TR plan and padding it with Z2 is a pretty solid approach. Though if the 10-15 hours of training time is a permanent thing and you get through high volume base OK, I’d be tempted to go with medium volume build and specialty, not sure why you’d drop all the way to low.

Given that you’re looking at this over 9-12 months, could also be worth considering doubling down on base. E.g. do a full 12 week block of traditional base, which is going to get you adjusted to the increased hours in a manageable way. Then do another 12 weeks of SSB (probably MV padded with Z2) before going into Build. Maybe no need to do Specialty if you’re taking a long term view and not racing, you could go back to Base again after Build.

Also worth thinking about 2 other things. 1 is motivation - 10-15 hours of training is a lot, particularly indoors. Other is whether some of that time could be better spent on things other than cycling. E.g. strength or mobility work.

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As someone with essentially unlimited time to train, this is essentially my plan. I’m aiming to consistently be between 10-15 hours per week of riding. I also have time for strength and core exercises.

At the moment and currently on the third block of high volume traditional base and will be moving into SSB low volume when complete. From an intensity standpoint I know what my body can handle and recover from, generally 2 workouts per week. My other rides will be long zone 2 efforts throughout the week.

What reason do you need this many hours?
What are you training for?

I used to think this but started thinking differently of of. Hear my out. Sunday you go for a long ride of 4 hours and finish at noon. You decide to take Monday, and Tuesday you’re back at it after work at 5:30. You have had 53.5 hours off of the bike. Did you really need that much time? Did you really get fitter by taking that much time off? Would you have been better off getting on the bike Monday for 30-60 minutes of easy spinning?

Now I am writing this because OP is talking about increasing hours on the bike to 15 a week, and taking a day off while still trying to ride that much makes it more difficult. In my mind its better to have a couple days really easy of 60 minutes rather then having an off day just to recover. Also I feel that if you’re looking to increase hours like this you should not just be smashing intervals day after day.

This link I feel does a good job of explaining.

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The points you highlight are sound but, they work in the context of your example. What if the OP trains early morning? Quite a few TR users do. I do. If I ride on a Sunday and finish up around noon, I have a whole mess of things to get done before the working week starts. Not a great start to recovery. Then you factor in Monday as a working day and the additional stress that can come from the work environment. Tuesday morning, I’m back at it. Whilst I might not be on the bike, I’m not getting perfect recovery and I doubt many TR users do either.

I may not have gotten any fitter during my recovery period, but I have almost certainly enabled my body to relive itself of some fatigue, thus enabling me to go into the coming week and hit my targets.

The OP also mentioned that his situation has changed, for what looks to be a considerable period of time. It could well be the case that 4 - 4.5 hours of indoor structure is more than enough. Additional work could then be added via endurance rides.

If you’re working out early in the am you’re probably not going to be doing long workouts during the week. Still would have something of about 20 hours off the bike.
Article breaks down a lot of what I’m saying but in reality most coaches & experts who put these training schedules together know that as the hours of training per week goes up it’s better to have more days of training rather then less.

100% yes

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Thats fine if that is the case. Need to listen to your body, but if you are needing that time off every week then 15 hours a week if probably too much training. Most wouldn’t be able to average 2.5 hours a day, six days a week.

Here’s a semi-random four week block of all indoor training I completed at the end of April/beginning of May

Generally the approach that I’d suggest is lots of endurance with not much intensity. I also do recovery every third week instead of every fourth but that isn’t required, just something that fits my schedule

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Unintentionally, I’m basically at the 15hr breakdown in the chart with LV plans + recovery rides + z2 / free rides. I think it gives me intensity with the LV sessions and I have the freedom on the weekend to free ride, which often ends up being a long z2 ride. I personally prefer to add to a lower volume plan than do a higher volume plan and not complete scheduled workouts. I also feel better on Tuesday if I do an easy spin on Mondays vs taking the day off. One of the advantages for me of TR/erg mode is keeping recovery rides under control. For SSBII and SusPB I think the real trick is finding the schedule that gives you sufficient recovery to smash the important workouts.

During base (14-15hrs) my schedule is / was:
Mon - Lazy Mountain
Tues - LV Tuesday workout in the morning (60min) + Pettit or Pettit -1 in the evening
Wed - LV Thursday workout in the morning (60min)
Thurs - LV Saturday workout in the morning (90min) + Pettit or Pettit -1 in the evening
Friday - Pettit -1
Saturday - 4hrs Z2 / free ride
Sunday - 3hrs Z2 / free ride

During build (13ish hours?) I will be doing this to prioritize recovery for 2 of the workouts:
Monday - Lazy Mountain
Tues - LV Tues workout (60-75min V02) + Pettit-1 in the evening
Wed - Bald Knob or Pettit
Thurs - LV Sat workout (90min threshold/over-unders) + Pettit or Pettit -1 in the evening
Fri - Optional LV Thurs workout (60-75min threshold) or Pettit if smoked
Sat - 3.5 hrs Z2 / free ride
Sun - 3hrs Z2 / free ride

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Go outside? ride with moving scenery? :laughing: seriously I use TR a lot in the winter after work and if the weather is rubbish…weekends and summer - race (remember that anyone?),ride in the sun (top up my Vitamin D and mental health)

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I have been doing SSBHV/SuPB plus some additional endurance cycling (and running). Easy twelve to thirteen hours per week. Quite beneficial in terms of fitness gains.

Edit: I also don’t do rest days but rather an hour of active recovery.

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Three motivational factors actually:

  • This article featuring Alan Couzens on VO2 max trainability through increased volume rather than intensity
  • This podcast excerpt from TR on VO2max trainability
  • This video explaining the use of Fick equation to explain cardiovascular improvements to exercise

The gist of the article was that weekly volume leads to increase in stroke volume. Easiest way to do so was with low intensity high volume since it is the most sustainable, while high intensity helps increase VO2 max a bit further.

I have never tested my off the couch VO2 max, so the initial estimate I had were from TrainingPeaks software (WKO4+) and my Garmin (around 53 ml/kg/min). At my highest during training it was 67 ml/kg/min (again estimated at the time based on my weight of 132 lbs and FTP of around 260).

When I started cycling training, I went straight to high intensity and while the high volume plans always felt appropriate to me, I feel I have been shortchanging the potential benefits I would reap from developing a bigger engine through Z2 work.

Another thing I should point out is, I never actually hit a plateau so far but now that I can get 3.5 to 4h back from commuting (my company is planning on opening the option to WFH and occasionally come to the office), I thought missing this opportunity to develop the base while I can would be a shame.

Thanks for your answer. In general I do well with high volume… until a certain point (HV SSB is fine but HV Build tend to be fine for the first several weeks before I start needing to back off a bit). I suspect most of it had to do with the lack of sleep I was normally getting at the time (5.5 hours per night when I had my crazy commute and was stubborn on doing the HV plan).

Nowadays, I can barely believe how much sleep I have been getting (close to 8 hours + nap). It was unheard of from me for the past 10+ years of my life :-). I am really hopping to positively use this time to work on my engine.

Given that you’re looking at this over 9-12 months, could also be worth considering doubling down on base. E.g. do a full 12 week block of traditional base, which is going to get you adjusted to the increased hours in a manageable way. Then do another 12 weeks of SSB (probably MV padded with Z2) before going into Build. Maybe no need to do Specialty if you’re taking a long term view and not racing, you could go back to Base again after Build.

Interesting, I did not even think about that. I like it very much, mainly because the Alan Couzens article I had read mentioned the strong focus on low intensity for many years though with intensity sprinkled here and there. I have also been reading about how top pros to so little intensity in general due to their weekly volume being enormous.

As for using some hours to focus on other non-cycling work, I have mostly been doing Yoga and stretching a couple of times a week, but I could see how using strength training, could be useful (Cycling Training Bible 5th edition has a whole chapter on it)

This could work as well, for my Sunday ride. Definitely seeing some scenery would be awesome but the indoor / outdoor TSS has me worried recently because I noticed my HR being in the Z2 zone exclusively while power seems to be in the tempo zone.

I really like your example. It seems like 2 to 3 interval max per week but 6 days / week of workouts. A couple of questions out of curiosity.

  • I see you are tacking Z2 after intervals so, I suppose those are TSS fillers?
  • For pure Z2 rides? are you doing them before / after eating? or somewhat fasted when you start?
  • What plan did you start with? This seems like quite a custom setup, but like me you are fine with not doing outdoor rides
  • How do interval days on Friday and Sundays feel like when you had long z2 on preceding days? I was reading somewhere (though I can’t find the source) recovery hours for z2 is around only 8 hours. Note, I recover well in general and I am 39 yo, so it might vary?

That’s a boatload of hours indoors and really pushing what my body could handle doing with respect to recovery.