Multiple Workouts in a Day while doing TR Plan

I am currently doing mid volume polarized base which looks like this:

M: VO2 (60-90 Minutes)
T: Endurance (90-150 Minutes)
W: Rest (Sometimes a TrainNow Endurance workout)
R: Threshold (60-90 Minutes)
F: Endurance (90-150 Minutes)
Sa: Rest/Outdoor/Zwift
Su: Rest/Outdoor/Zwift

I typically do these workouts in the evening after work (starting around 5-6 PM) but the WFH thread here has me considering adding second workouts to my day. For example a 60 minute TrainNow endurance workout or a low intensity Zwift ride during lunch. So I guess this boils down to several questions:

  1. As long as I feel “good” does adding a second workout add more upside than downside?

  2. If I do add a second workout should I just stick to adding z2 since I am doing Polarized? Could I add an additional high intensity workout on a day I am already scheduled to do an interval workout?

  3. Splitting up endurance rides: I am not too familiar with the science but I am assuming doing, for example, a contiguous three hour z2 ride is more beneficial then say a one hour ride at lunch and a two hour ride in the evening. Both of these is still three hours of volume but I would assume the former is more conducive to adaptations?

  4. If I am doing multiple z2 rides in a day is there a specific way I should split them?

1 Like

For what its worth, somehow this basic approach worked for me in 2016-2017. I cooked it up before understanding training, so take it with a healthy dose of skepticism:

Short threshold and anaerobic efforts in the morning. Longer afternoon intervals - and I had to seriously carb up at lunch (eat twice!) to keep the quality up in the afternoon.

Months later I was flying, could hold FTP for about an hour, and by then 100% had correct FTP (and therefore IF) on weeks like this:

In retrospect the basic idea was two high quality efforts in a day, with the first usually being high intensity with a hard minute+ sprint or two, completing around a 1.0 IF at 15-25 minutes morning commute. Then afternoon if tired I would take it easy, or a high quality short/bursty effort home, or a hard longer threshold interval on a longer 1+ hour loop home.

Food for thought, in some ways I was pushing out ability to ride at threshold while still working the top-end. Playing both the short and long ends of the power curve.

Might be completely stupid idea in general, so don’t blame me if you try and it doesn’t work. Somehow it worked for me.

I read something recently about elite runners doing (shorter) 2 a days to improve ability to do more high quality work. Or something like that. And Dr Phil Skiba pointing out that as a general principle you want to go general to specific (we’ve all heard that), and go short & fast before going long & fast.

FWIW and again take what I’ve said with a healthy dose of skepticism.

1 Like

Two a days can definitely work. Most average joes can’t or should not do them because you have to nail recovery between them and after them. Outside stressors should be relatively low.

To wit I am doing some two-a-day VO2max sessions. What you say is true. You can do more quality work in a day splitting the session. It’ll work for certain types of training; probably not great for others.

Most common would be a simple volume add, like intervals one session, endurance another. Other option is hard/hard, as you’re looking to squeeze more hard work into a single day. Generally shorter, but more intense sessions like VO2 or anaerobic sets.

I probably wouldn’t mess with threshold/threshold or something like that because you want to be able to do more in one shot. Splitting a threshold session is less effective than riding it all at once, but if it’s the only way you can do the work…

Most people don’t need to double up for adequate stimulus and it’s really easy to overcook yourself, but it’s a thing that can be done. Just remember the concept of minimum effective dose for the change you’re trying to spur.

And if you’re not riding adequate volume with an adequately developed aerobic energy system, you shouldn’t do it because 1) you won’t benefit from it, it’ll probably just make you tired, and 2) you won’t recover well between sessions. Doing 2-A-days on 6 hours a week is not a good plan, e.g.

(Note the above is talking about two sessions of intensity).

2 Likes
  1. Depends, but if it’s the best way you can add volume, I would say yes.

  2. You can, see above. Question is why? What are you hoping to accomplish? If you’re doing concentrated dose work for VO2max, for example, you can double up as long as your sets are designed to preserve your legs and you can recover. You can stress your cardiovascular system twice just fine, the limitation is your legs. So raw power anaerobic sets? Probably not great. Repeatability sets? Maybe. VO2max? If designed well, yes. You just have to be able to recover between and after. Can you?

Wouldn’t mess with threshold stuff twice in a day personally.

  1. Continuous is better, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add more volume in split sets if you can. 3 hours is better than 1 or 2 for endurance even if it’s split.

  2. Dunno what you mean here. Does it matter if you do 1hr then 2hrs vs. 2hrs then 1? Probably only in the most extreme of margins.

1 Like

A timely thread - I’ve started scheduling a double day on Saturday if the weather allows here in northern Scotland. In the morning, 90 mins on the trainer as per Plan Builder, then a big breakfast, some family time, then a carb heavy lunch. In the mid-afternoon, a couple of hours on the mountain bike outdoors doing whatever feels fun. If the weather looked too bad to justify going out, I’d be looking at a workout alternative for 2 hours on the trainer in the morning, then maybe extend the cooldown for 30 mins if I felt good.

My reasoning: I have experience doing a lot of double days from my time doing long distance triathlon and tolerated it well. The key is fuelling and the second session for me can become unpleasant quite quickly if I go in low on energy. It gives me a total rest day on Sunday, it gets me outdoors on the mountain bike, it doesn’t totally kill the day from a family perspective and allows my wife to get out on her mountain bike on Sunday without me clamouring to get out too. Finally, my goal event for the first half of next year is a 200km gravel event and as I respond well to volume it is my friend. Lots of positives with relatively low risks provided I’m fuelling the work.

Personally, I think I’d find two quality workouts a day hard work but I’m no elite rider - currently 3.4w/kg and having been at 3.7w/kg I think I have the capability of 4w/kg.

1 Like

I do two a days of some variety just about every day. But it’s not always hi intensity.

I do strength twice a week (deadlift and accessories one day, squat and accessories the other) and stack that with anything sweet spot or higher. Bike comes first.

I’ll run 4 times a week or so. One tempo run, the rest easy.

Bike 5 times a week. Currently doing sweet spot base 1, but I take liberty with trading out my weekend rides for long aerobic group rides.

I’m generally fit and trying to get back into triathlon but logistics for a pool in my area are near impossible. The key for me, to being successful in 3 sports (balancing military needs, running and cycling goals), is stacking my hard days and keeping my easy days truly easy. Below schedule is my skeleton for a week and I add/remove judicially depending on how crazy work is in a week.

Monday - EASY run AM, yoga/recovery PM

Tuesday - AM sweet spot or threshold bike, PM strength

Wednesday - AM tempo run, PM Z2 bike

Thursday - AM Z2 bike, PM yoga/rolling

Friday - AM 25-30 mins run with 4-6 hill sprints, PM strength. Bike if I have time

Saturday - long ride

Sunday - 50 minute run & medium ride

That said, if I were ONLY focused on cycling, I could probably be much faster. And two a days would also follow a similar structure. Hard days hard, and easy days would be a 30-45’ ride and some stretching/rolling

For reference this past year, 28 yrs old male, 180lb/82kg and 325 FTP +/- 15

1 Like