Lockdown and Endurance training

My name is Millie and I am from Wales (in the UK). I’m looking for some advice re limited outdoor exercise time and endurance training. Just for some background, I have been cycling for around 3 years and started with triathlon. I’ve found that I really enjoy long distance cycling and want to start doing multi-day events. I currently do about 10+ hrs of training per week, with the majority being outside.

I have several long distance events (160-300km w/ 5,000m+ elevation) this summer and autumn, which will hopefully go ahead and if not, this is something I want to improve on anyway! But in the UK, although outdoor exercise is not prohibited we are limited to one outdoor exercise a day. This is where it gets complicated and I have seen many a facebook spat about it. The government guidance does not give a length of time, therefore in theory you could go for a 200km ride and that is fine, but it does recommend ‘staying local’. So I feel a tad uncomfortable going out for long rides outdoors currently, but dread the thought of sitting on the turbo for 4/5 hours.

I would like to know if doing double session days, e.g. doing a chilled cycle outdoors for 40/50km in the morning then doing a turbo in the afternoon, would be an appropriate substitute for long rides (how I have previously trained for endurance events)? Or should I just do long sessions on the turbo, if so, what training sessions do you recommend?

Thank you!


Whilst I haven’t done the really long audax rides, I did complete a 150 mile ride last year (it was actually the London to Brighton ride but I cycled to the start and back home again) and that was only using the plan from TrainerRoad.

I didn’t do any double days. Just the LV plan going through Base Build and Speciality.

I think this year, their Plan Builder should be able to handle whatever your event is.


Cyclists tend not to do double days but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work especially for endurance riding.

Personally I can’t sit on a trainer for more than 90 minutes so 4 hours is unimaginable.

Food for thought - the year Matt Hayman won Paris Roubaix, almost all of his training just prior was on a turbo. He did 1.5 hours a day 2x per day for a total of 3 hours per day.


I don’t have a reference but believe that there is a greater training effect for long Z2 compared to splitting the ride into morning / afternoon sessions, but don’t believe it was a huge difference. I am doing a high volume Z2 experiment and am doing two-a-days on Tuesday -> Thursday as I don’t have time to fit the total ride time in before or after work as one block. I do not think it is a big deal to split them up. You could also ride on the turbo immediately before or after your outdoor ride, so it would essentially be one ride. I have done those too.

For long indoor sessions, I think you need to find an entertainment approach (youtube, netflix, zwift, RGT, + music, etc.) that works for you and have your cooling system dialed. You need a lot of air flow to keep you cool and my opinion is if you have a puddle of sweat under your bike at the end of a session then your cooling solution is inadequate. For entertainment, everyone seems to be different. I swore off indoor sessions over 90 min for 10+ years after a couple of rough 4-5 hour sessions with movies. I watched race videos for a number of years, but now use zwift and music. Occasionally I still do race coverage or POV race recordings from youtube. This weekend I did Longfellow (4 hour Z2) and thought the first 2 hours were fine, the third was a slog and I just wanted to get off, but then the last hour was fine again (with zwift and music.)

Picking the right workout also might make it or break it for you on long turbo sessions. Most of the long workouts have 14-15min at a certain power level before adjusting slightly. Longfellow is like that. Maybe something like 2 x Baxter +2 or 2 x Perkins or 2 x Perkins -2 would be more engaging. They change power every 2-3 min and I normally find them easier to handle than the 14-15min intervals. I would also progressively build up the duration. 4 hours on the turbo felt like 5-6 outside since there is no coasting, you might be able to get the same training effect with 3 hours on the turbo.

For workouts of 1 - 2 hours I like Baster and variants, Colosseum and will be trying Perkins tomorrow morning on the recommendation of someone else here. The frequent power changes keep me more engaged. You could mix/match to get the desired duration up to 2.5 - 4 hours or look at something like Longfellow if you like to tune out during longer intervals. The long intervals did feel kinda nice in Longfellow.


One thing with Hayman is that he’s been doing 6+ hour rides almost every day for many years, prior to his injury.

Him being stuck on a trainer didn’t have that much of an effect to an already enormous aerobic engine. All he was doing on the trainer were specific sets of intervals, just to keep his max aerobic capacity topped up.

Obviously a continuous ride is going to be your best option, but being this far out from your event and given current restrictions I’d say do whatever motivates you to get the work done consistently :slight_smile:

I personally don’t mind long sessions on the turbo, but I think I’m in the minority with that :stuck_out_tongue: but I find if’s the little things that make it more enjoyable! put on your favourite entertainment, bring your favourite snacks (I like things I wouldn’t be able to bring on outdoor rides, like grapes and big tumblers of iced coffee.) Stop midway for a ‘cafe run’- particularly good if you have a partner and/or kids to join in :coffee:

In terms of workouts, I tend to prefer things like Ptarmigan +1 with some easy tempo intervals as it helps break it up a bit mentally. Not sure if you’re looking for exclusively Z2 stuff though?

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I’m down in Somerset and am trying to weigh this up too, particularly as my wife is in the “extremely vulnerable” group so, if I go out, I absolutely cannot come into contact with other people.

Right now I’m going into week 2 of TBHV1 (2.5hrs sessions) my plan is to do 30min or so on the rollers then head out for 1.5-2hrs before finishing up on my rollers or turbo. I see this approach as having a few benefits:

  1. I still get to ride outside but will be doing less distance therefore staying more local
  2. I get to work on some skills (roller riding)
  3. I am at away from home for shorter periods so if my wife needs help with the children she can come and grab me

Let us know what you settle on!

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Hi Millie.
I’m in the UK too and not wanting to take the mick I’m limiting my outdoor riding.
I’m a believer in the sub optimal training you do do will always beat the optimal training you don’t do. Hope you get what I mean?
So for me a 90 min dawn ride outside just to enjoy being out on nature, with no targets other than to refresh the soul, followed by a focussed turbo in the afternoon doing something like a sweet spot session, leaves me feeling nicely trained by the end of the day. A few weeks of this and you could tackle most things I believe.


@MillieAD I’m UK based and I’m not entirely sure of the restrictions either. So, I’ve tried to limit the possibility of me double flattering or crashing by only riding roads I know well, close to my house.

Basically I built a loop in Strava (20 miles) which I do x3 times. It’s actually quite interesting to see how the fatigue effects your performance.

On this loop I’m never more than an hours walk from my front door, should I have a mechanical. Maybe this approach could work for you too?


There are adaptations from doing a long continuous ride that you don’t get from splitting it into 2. But they’re towards the marginal gains end of things, there are certainly plenty of gains to be made just from increasing total weekly volume. And at the moment it’s really a case of “better not perfect” anyway, for all of us impacted by the lockdown. You can certainly try and increase the length of time you can handle on the trainer, but if you reach a point where you’re just not enjoying it then this is likely to be counterproductive. I know I can’t handle more than 2 hours a day on the turbo (one movie or a good Zwift group ride).

Other option is to start on the turbo, get in 2 hours, then head outside to finish the ride. If you did that once a week to get a ~4 hour ride in instead of a 2 hour ride you’d get most of the benefits of going longer I think.


UK here too. They’re saying no longer than 50km but not sure how they can tell. My conscious is saying dont do it, as i dont want to inconvenience the NHS or my family right now if i need help. With Richmond park now shut i cant even pop to a local loop and stay near home.

I have done upto 3.5 hours on a trainer this year. It is something you just get used to. Since i started the indoor training in Dec i’m now so used to it I was starting to get the reverse opinion, indoors FTW to get best training benefit and limit the outdoor rides but just enough to look forward to as a reward.

With the quarantine going on, i’m just doing my plan with a custom longer sunday ride. Make sure you have a lot of good netflix or something to watch to pass the time.

I am also training for a 160 and 300km ride (although both the Dragon ride and L’Etape UK) are now potentially deferred this summer but my training plan was going to be the same even prior to the CV19 issues. You dont need to do super long all the time. 1.5-2hours is plenty at SS or higher throughout the week and if you can tolerate that one 3-4hour ride on the weekend that would be enough imo.


Where did you see this? I’ve been looking for time / distance advice and have only found people on social media giving their opinion (not saying that’s what you’re doing here, genuinely interested if this has come from an official source so I can comply).

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From the BBC

No mention is given to how long you can exercise for. But the Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has advised: “I would have thought for most people a walk of up to an hour, a run of 30 minutes or a cycle ride of between that, depending on their level of fitness, is appropriate.”

I believe there are talks with the mobile networks about sharing phone location data that would help to measure how well the lockdown measures are being complied with. Though my assumption is that data would be used to fine tune the messaging and measures that are being put in place and gather more information about what’s working and what’s not. Can’t see them having the ability or desire to actually go after individuals who they believe have breached the rules based on mobile phone tracking. Quite apart from the data privacy issues that would entail, it would suck up a huge amount of resources that have higher priorities.

This is a really good suggestion - structured training indoors, and then add on some endurance outdoors straight after.

My spring/summer plan (UK based) was going to be to do the 90min indoors and then immediately join the local club for 120min of easy outdoors. Now I’m staying in because I’m OK with long trainer sessions and can then save the outdoor exercise time to spend with my partner.

Sundays are Low Volume plan 90min hard workout and then 120min of Baxter +2. I was aiming for May 9th London Revolution Ultra until it got deferred to September :frowning:


I quite look forward to my time on the trainer because that’s when I get to put a DVD on the laptop and watch that (with headphones and subtitles on). I have been going back and watching all the Game of Thrones episodes but I’ve got loads of other series and films I can watch as well that really help the time fly by.

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Not quite up to this length of endurance training indoors yet though… :scream:

He’s got nothing on this guy!

And that was before we’d even heard of coronavirus, dread to think what he’s planning now…

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Oh, Gove said earlier you can excercise “as long as you’d normally do”, but I just assumed he had never met a cyclist and didn’t know what he was talking about. I haven’t been out for a ride since the lockdown started. :frowning:

The idea of riding indoors and immediatly after outdoors for an hour or so is great, thanks!


Thanks, I hadn’t seen this. Not really sure why he thinks there should be different times for different exercises; oh, and he has clearly never met an endurance athlete! :joy: