Long Rides on Weekdays

Hello,

Just wondering if anyone else is/has been in same situation or has some advice. Currently I am training for IMMT using Low Volume plan, but i am travelling a lot for work. I am able to get most of the workouts in however the long rides of 3-5 hrs are falling on weekdays.

Does anyone have any advice for completing these long rides on a weeknight, (ie. starting at 6pm and finishing at 10-11pm and not be too exhausted the next day)

Or should i give up on the idea of 4hr rides and try to do an hour in the morning, and 2-3 hours in the evening?

Thanks,

When you do long rides, if you want to incorporate them into your plan, doesn’t really matter all that much. Sure, it’s “best” to be fresher to do higher intensity workouts, but for us amateurs, it’s not going to be an issue.

My concern would only be around fatigue, motivation, and safety of trying to fit in 4hr rides in the late evening and early night. Personally I wouldn’t compromise getting good sleep for a 4hr ride after 6pm. But I don’t know your roads, your local loops, etc.

If I was time strapped, I’d just stick to condensed workouts on the weekends as well. It’s not like you’re not going to get fitter.

all long rides are done indoors, due to the time of day, and wouldn’t be able to ride during the weekend as i only have a bike in the city i am working in right now. (fly in Monday fly out Friday) home on the weekends and in the interest of my family i don’t do long workouts during the weekend.

Zwift

I think it could work really well with some considerations.

  1. Try not to sacrificing sleep to fit these into your schedule. Shoot for the time you need in bed (7-9 hours according to the AACC 208, A deep dive on sleep and performance).

  2. These are low intensity, and may not impede your sleep like a higher intensity workout prior to bed can do.

    • I do every Tuesday (hard) , Wednesday (easy) , and Thursday (hard) workout at 6pm finishing by 8pm at the latest.
    • My tricks: I eat immediately off the bike. Then crash for about an hour on the couch. Finish with a shower right before hoping into bed at 930pm. That all seems to help me wind down, even from the hard ones, and get to sleep easily.
    • I only mention it as some possible consideration for how you handle your time after finishing your long ride and prepping to get to sleep ASAP.
  3. Considering that you are doing your long ride inside, you are likely getting much more condensed work. As such, if you were aiming for something like a 4-hour long ride outside, I think you can easily get the same stress and load on your body from a 3 to 3.5-hour trainer ride, especially if you minimize coasting.

    • The level of advantage/efficiency from inside rides in this sense is debated, but I feel safe in saying that you don’t need to do the same time inside that you planned outside, in most cases.
    • Some people may have access to great roads that lead to minimal variation in power and limited reasons to coast or stop, but I think that is an exception.
    • More likely is that people outside have plenty of power variation, coasting and stops that interrupt the long rides. Eliminating those while riding inside is a great advantage.
    • I suggest trying a long 3-hours on the trainer and expect you will feel plenty worked over when you hop off. You can sure step that up to 3.5 and 4 hours (I did several since Oct last year) and can really feel the impact from them afterwards.
  4. Essentially, completing one of these and hopping into bed (assuming that you get enough quality sleep to follow) is about perfect. It lets your body recover and absorb the stress right away. Many of us end up having to do other stuff after our long rides on the weekend, that interrupt the recovery process.

I think you have a great opportunity here.

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I find that it is hard to do outdoor night rides with the correct intensity, due to environmental factors. I have had good success doing two-a-day rides to get volume and with doing indoor rides to get a slightly better training effect on rides.

I would advise against splitting the long ride, you won’t really get all the benefits, both physiological and psychological. Although a 4 hour ride on the trainer is also super hard core, longest I’ve done is 2.5 and I won’t go over 2 any more, so kudos!

Any options for flexible working? E.g. Coming in later and working later one day so you can ride before work? Or starting early and finishing early so you can start the ride before 6pm? If you’re traveling a lot with work a lot of employers are prepared to be flexible (since I bet you’re sometimes travelling outside regular work hours?). I’ve done late training sessions and it does mess you up a bit, if you finish at 10pm then you end up going to bed pretty late and/or struggle to sleep well because you’ve just eaten and are still buzzing from the workout.

You don’t mention your long run - is this also being fitted in midweek? Or if you’re doing that at the weekends can you swap to do the long ride at weekends and long run in the week? I did this a lot when I was training for IM, the run is shorter so easier to fit in, and I like running in the evening or early morning when it’s cool and quiet. Also hated having long run and ride both back loaded in the week, was starting to dread weekends, in fact I ended up restructuring my training plan and log to start each week on a Saturday as weirdly that seemed psychologically better!

Thanks for all the advice, I will try to maybe start and leave work early on the long ride days. But will for sure not split them up.

As for the long runs, yes I do that on the weekend at home, so can’t switch them to rides (only 1 bike and its in the town I work) Also running in flat Alberta as opposed to hilly Northern Ontario, I will run with the hills any day.

Thanks,

Sounds like great justification to buy another bike to me! Good luck

if you can sleep at night after just finishing a 4h ride, go for it. it’ll be better than splitting the session.

I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep right away tho, so i’d have to do option b.

Well for anyone who does care, last night was the first attempt at a longer ride post work. Was smart about it, got to work early, worked through lunch so i could leave early…

got home at 4pm, great i can for sure do this. Fast forward to 4:30, sleeping on the couch…

had a 2.5hr nap. So i didn’t start the ride until around 8:30pm. Maclure (3hr) ride done around 11:30-11:45.

Glad i stuck it out and didn’t have much problems sleeping after.

Next week is Longfellow (4hr) going to try and not fall asleep next time lol.

Thanks everyone.

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Naps are good. Just set an alarm and keep them under 30 minutes if you want to get a quick recharge.

Nicely done on the workout too.