More sessions with less time per session or less sessions with more time per session?

I’ve been doing the low volume plans for about 2 years. I’m currently at an FTP of 310, though that feels like a stretch as I am more of a sprinter/anaerobic rider. I don’t think I could actually ride at 300 for an hour, but I can hit >1000 for 30s, 800 for 60s, and peak in the 1500-1600 range. I’m in the 86-88kg range (not overweight per se, carrying some upper body bulk which is mostly useless for cycling)

The general low volume plan seems to call for two 1 hr rides per week and one 1.5hr ride per week, with some variation occasionally. I’ve been increasing volume by either using the workout alternates and choosing a longer time or just doing the workout and then immediately after I’ll do a shorter Z2 workout to bring me to ~2 hrs of riding time. What this typically turns into is one 1.5 hr ride and two 2 hr rides. There is some variation but I’d say I’m doing 4-6 hrs per week but have stretched up to 7-8 some weeks. In the weeks I did more I just added another easy Z2 ride of up to 2hrs.

With this setup of 1.5-2hr rides I basically need at least one day off to feel recovered/ok. I could ride again the next day but would need 2 days off to recover after that. When I did several weeks of 7-8 hrs my FTP in TR immediately jumped from ~300 to 310, but I was pretty tired often and didn’t feel like riding hard on the trainer or outside. Over two months or so I just did Z2 and dropped back to 4-6hrs per week for a while and now I feel good again (FTP still at ~310).

I’d like to increase my total number of hours again but I’m wondering if the longer sessions were what was digging me into a hole.

Question: With limiting my hard sessions to 2 times per week, would I be better to continue with 3 sessions per week with longer time (~2hrs), or would it be better to break it down and ride more often and instead do maybe 1 hour per ride (maybe 2 hard 1hr Threshold/VO2/Anaerobic, and all the rest Z2)? The idea with option 2 is once that feels fine I start increasing the Z2 session lengths.

Edit: In looking at this it seems my option 2 is essentially the masters mid volume plan, whereas my option 1 (what I’m doing now) is the masters low volume plan with added in time to equal the mid volume plan.

Ride hard Tuesday and Saturday got your ‘workouts’. Easy z2 otherwise. You should be fine with that.

I just started doing 2.5hr two days in a row, had the first day then endurance the second. Take 2-3 easy days and repeat. Has worked well. Do that but with 1.5-2hr.

I’ve been following a similar rhythm. Interesting how RPE on that second day can sometimes feel really nice and low :slightly_smiling_face: