How to correctly progress to higher volume without overtraining

I’m fortunate enough to have a ton of time on my hands to dedicate to training up to 2 hrs Sun-Fri and then up to 5 hrs on Sat. I’d love to get to the point where I’m doing 5-6 rides a week and then lifting 3 days in the form of double days.

My goals/priorities are the following:

  • Have fun & enjoy riding outside (especially on Sat)
  • Getting to the Sprinter level on Chad’s strength goals (and maybe exceeding a little bit)
  • Improve my mobility
  • Get faster on the bike to be faster than my friends (I don’t race) and get respectable Strava times

I envision the end result will be my weeks looking like: TONS of Z2, save the hard day for the outdoor Saturday ride where I might try to smash a climb segment and then 1 Vo2 Max workout a week.
But for lifting, still perplex how to get this incorporated.
I also don’t know how to “build” into this. Maybe Z2 + Outdoor Ride without a Vo2 max workout and lifting 1-2 days a week?

If anyone has any advice would def appreciate

Edit: Realized I didn’t put my current training. I’m going through Mid Volume with Saturday either being the week’s hardest workout or riding outside, but I’m currently finding myself incredibly fatigued trying to keep up with it.

Posting to follow, since I’m in a similar situation.

I’ve been on TR for almost a year now (love it!) and never even knew about the various levels/Chad’s goals page. I’ll take it to heart. I’m guessing that since I’m a 100+kg gran fondo recreational cyclist who isn’t interested in racing, that I should start at perhaps quarter/half the weight values for the Level One and then work upwards from there… Presuming I can achieve the Level One, then I can continue on with Level Two…

You don’t say how many hours you train at the moment? Am I right thinking you have ~17hours/week available to train?

Personally I find double days work best when you combine the bike intervals with weights days, then the following day off, or very easy.

If you are a beginner lifter or have had time off you are going to be very sore for ~48hrs after each session lifting for a few sessions/weeks until your body adapts.

I have used linear progression plans like Stronglifts 5x5 (2x a week) with good success, and this will get you relatively simply, safely, and quickly to those strength goals.

Also - yes to Z2, I like to keep it to 2x interval sessions a week (1x Vo2 max e.g. 4x5min and 1x threshold e.g. 4x8 - usually they last 60-90mins inc warm-up/cool-down and maybe a little Z2 afterward). You can also experiment on the longer rides with extensive low tempo intervals which will help with muscular endurance.

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Usually you’d use some kind of periodization where you start out with the focus on progressing your lifts supplemented by only easy riding and then once your goal races (or just spring/summer) gets closer you back down on the lifting and add some intensity on the bike.

In your scenario, for me this would look like 2-3x lifting per week supplemented by easy riding. Maybe 1 high intensity session once every 2-3 weeks, but only to maintain some intensity, not to progress it.

Then, once riding season is 8 weeks out I would decrease the amount of lifting sessions to just once per week and add in 2 interval sessions per week.

Added to the edit, I’m going through MV + trying to lift whole body workouts 2x a week and then vanity muscles another day, but seem to be hitting a wall in terms of fatigue. I think I might be starting to head down the path of overtraining cause bike workouts have become insanely hard for me.

After the Gran Fondo event next week I’m going to probably take 2, maybe even 3 weeks off the bike and try to get off to a fresher start.

So you’re saying do hard bike workout + lift and then Z2 other days?

And I think you’d be surprised. Your legs are going to be pretty strong after all the biking.

This :point_up_2:

I don’t think this is the recipe for success. That is, trying to do everything all the time.


When running in college we did strength work 2-3 days a week until our championship phase. Why do you think it’s not a good idea?

Accepted wisdom seems to agree with that approach. If lifting weights is complementary to cycling then it makes sense to me to do it afterwards, and doing them on the same day means you can have a proper recovery day afterwards.

I do early AM intervals, then weights same day at lunch or in the evening.

2 solid interval sessions coupled with 2 weights sessions and the rest Z2 is not a bad recipe for year-round fitness in my opinion. Listing periodization would be progression in the off-season with higher reps or more sets, in-season transitioning to maintenance - less reps/sets - less fatigue but maintaining the strength. Completely stopping the bike and/or weight lifting for more than a week will result in a precipitous decline in performance in either or both disciplines in my experience.

If I have a force break e.g. holiday/work ramps up, rather than 100% off the bike/weights I would reduce the total workload drastically, but keep some intensity for maintenance. I would do 1x interval & weight session a week, 1x simple solid session like 2x20 @ ~90% or 4x8 @ 103% for example will keep you ticking over, while allowing you to freshen up. Maybe 1 longer easy Z2 ride (like .6-.7 IF) every 7-10 days as well, that’s 3-6hrs/wk total. Couple of weeks like that you should feel fresh and strong.

I think that depends on your training history and the intensity distribution of workouts. I am a triathlete and my week typically consists of double days 6 days a week (runs & bikes in mornings, swims & strength in afternoon/evening). It has taken me 3 seasons to build up to this. The key is to build slowly. When adding days it needs to be adding low intensity days (and easier than you think it should be). As your body gets use to the extra volume you can start adding some intensity. Recovery is key! If you are not recovered, do not be afraid to skip or modify workouts. Extra recovery is better than extra volume or extra intensity.

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  1. Running and cycling - not the same
  2. You were younger in college
  3. Meals prepared for you… walk into a dining hall
  4. Etc.
  1. Correct. Cycling is a non-impact exercise. Why are weights bad again?

  2. This is absolutely true and youth covers a lot of bad choices (like going to bed at 2 am when you have a 5:30 am workout). But as we age we lose muscle mass. Isn’t strength training even more important?

  3. I lived in an off campus and prepared my own meals.

  4. Are there other reasons to not lift and cycle?

Potential for fatigue and overtraining. I think lifting is a huge benefit, but it’s extra volume and extra stress and can lead to overtraining if the whole plan isn’t looked at holistically. You can’t just carte blanche lift on top of your existing plan, especially as you get older and don’t recover as fast.

Personally, I’m still a fan of a LV Plan, supplemented by at least one long endurance ride and lifting. I like the flexibility of being able to move workouts around and go for a ride when the legs feel good, and then take a rest day when I need it. I’ve even considered a polarized plan where I switch to just two intensity workouts a week with more endurance.

Does TR offer lifting plans? If yes, maybe they offer instructions on how to incorporate them into their cycling plans?

@Sinicity if you’ve got ample time to also sleep 10hr per night, you can probably do the schedule you propose, if you lay it out reasonably intelligently.

Just listen to your fatigue level, and desire to train, as canaries in the mine with regard to overreaching.

When desire to train is dropping, you’re walking towards the cliff, but you can’t see over the edge yet. When desire to train has bottomed out… you’re looking over the edge of the cliff.

Endurance sport performance and muscularity goals are so long-term that joy in the process is a requirement. You’ll never get where you want to go unless you’re enjoying the process. Keep an eye on it. Sleep more when it drops. If that doesn’t stop the drop… back off.


TrainerRoad doesn’t have strength plans but they do have some pointers using a few different movements.
I really like their blog post about timing strength training, I actually just looked it up myself. Having a work schedule shift coming up and their advice helped me work out scheduling those strength training days. Fwiw

A few points from me -

  1. For ramping up TSS, Coggan has specifically laid out a suggested ramp rate for TSS of 3-7 TSS per day per week (I.e 20-50 TSS per week), so if you’re looking to do more work overall and get to levels you have previously not reached, I would push up your weekly TSS at the lower end of that range, maybe even slower.

  2. Be careful adding a ton of Z2. Whilst beneficial if it’s not something you’ve done before you may find it makes you very tired and can bring down testosterone levels etc if there’s not enough intensity to offset (which should be provided by weights/intensity)

  3. For weight lifting, Chad specifically spoke about this in a podcast (forget which episode) and he specifically recommended for the first few weeks focusing on very low weight, high reps (20+) to nail the form and build the neuromuscular connections rather than jumping straight into a 5x5 or similar. That’s not just for newbies to weight lifting.


I like to lift on the hard bike days, unless the intervals are really long, then it can be fatiguing. Also depends on your lifting protocol; high rep/low weight actually tends to fatigue athletes in my experience more than high weight/low rep.

How to build into it…play the long game. Get the riding up, then slowly add the lifting in. Start with a few weeks of adaptation workouts (just body weight, prob still be very sore tho!) and then the bar only, then add weights. Think long term, not quick gains (which obvi can lead to injury)

don’t forget the rest week, when you absorb all that training and actually get faster!

good luck!


Hey @Sinicity!

It is important to keep your goals at the forefront of your mind. It sounds like your goals are:

  1. Have fun
  2. Improve Strength and mobility
  3. Get Faster

With this in mind, here are my thoughts:

To achieve these goals, it is important to steer clear of overtraining. Just because you have the time doesn’t mean that it is optimal to fill all of that time with training. You might consider how you could dedicate your spare time to indirect methods of getting faster. For example, preparing nutritious meals! :yum:

Likewise, make sure to dedicate some of that time to recoup from the added training stimulus you’re putting your body though - this is important in both the short term (inter-week recovery) and mid/longer term (planning entire recovery weeks). I would suggest you take a look at the article below which is super helpful for understanding how your body adapts, when and under what conditions.

It sounds like your body is at its Training Stress Limit. It is a great strength to be able to listen to your body and check your ego.

We don’t want to add Training Stress merely to be training more, especially if our fatigue levels deter us from our primary goal of having fun! I would encourage you to zoom out and view your Training Plan like a game of chess where we are moving pieces to progress the “game” (your fitness) forward subtly and calculatedly. All of the pieces (strength training, bike workouts) have still got to fit on the same board (your training week/ physical capacity), and we don’t want anything slipping off (you becoming overtrained or injured). But we do want to keep moving everything forward. Therefore, we can’t continually push each piece forward. But we can move one piece back slightly to add another stimulus.

With that said, you might find it beneficial to change from a Mid volume Plan to a Low Volume Plan so that you can add in Strength Training without overtraining. This allows you to make progress toward all of your goals 1) Get faster, 2) Get stronger and more mobile 3) Have fun/ avoid burnout.

After incorporating strength training into your schedule for a month or so, then you may wish to re-evaluate your bike training Volume. If you feel like you can increase the Volume at that point, you can do so.

Concerning your strength training timing, I suggest doing what is most practical for you. Consistency is the key to building strength (or any type of fitness). So the most effective plan is the one you can do consistently! :key:

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions!

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