New to training, looking for advice on planing

Hey all total newbie here.

I am a 31 year old guy and do a bunch of different sports and have recently been interested in taking a more focused approach to improving my fitness. I have been following a structured strength and conditioning program for the last couple of months. Recently I have been inspired by the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast to look into adding structure to my cycling. My main focus would be generally improving fitness so I could go for longer harder mountain bike rides, be more comfortable and have more in the tank for descending. Also generally improve aerobic capacity as preparation for ski touring.

The question is how can I fit some more structured bike work into an already busy exercise routine. Which I have outlined below:

  • Bike commute 18km with about 330m of climbing to and from work daily.
  • 3 times a week in the gym, 2 sessions with a focus on strength/conditioning and one with a conditioning focus.
  • Depending on the time of year mountain biking, skiing (alpine and touring) or surfing on weekends.
  • When the days are long enough I try to surf most days of the week.

I have started doing some formal testing and did my first ramp test a few days ago. So I can give a few stats:
Weight: 66kg
Height: 173cm
5rm dead-lift: 120kg
5rm back squat: 90kg
Estimated FTP (using the wattbike ramp test protocol, it sounds pretty similar to the trainer road one) came out at 270 or 4.1w/kg.
Body Composition is 34.5kg skeletal muscle mass and 9% fat (if you believe the scales using electrical impedance to measure body composition)

As a total beginner to structured training how can I work some structure into my riding. I understand that commuting is far from the optimal way to spend time on my road bike but the alternative is 2 hours on a buss everyday. I’d love to hear from those more experienced with training on how I could optimize the time spent on the bike and maybe integrate some minimal indoor work. Or am I going to have to add a bunch of volume to see some results?


Welcome to the forum

Try doing a search and you will see an incredible amount of information about balancing bike training with strength training. You will even find information in the Trainer Road blog.

I do low volume plans alongside my daily commute and handle that fine. However, how you will handle it, as well as doing your strength training, is highly individual.

TR also offers outside variants of all of it’s workouts so you might consider trying to encorporate this in to your commutes.

Here’s some reading:

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I’d be wary of adding to that workload. In my twenties I’d bike 24km to work on construction sites, ride home and then go training or head out rock climbing in the evening. No way could I have continued that.

Look at doing a low volume plan and push a workout or two outside, using your commute home to kill two birds with one stone as it were. Obviously it depends on your commute, don’t be committed to blasting across junctions or somewhere similarly risky just because you are in the middle of an interval. Also make sure you incorporate at least one complete rest day per week - you might think you can handle the load but your body needs down time to recover and it’s also when the training adaptations actually take place. Without rest you are just grinding your body down and not giving it chance to get stronger.

Depending on how you handle training it could be some time before you see the improvements.

If you are interested in getting serious with the cycling, then the gym and surfing will probably have to take a back seat.

I think I’d try to keep the bike commute as your low intensity aerobic work (really keep it low intensity) and then fill in with once or twice a week of structured intervals. Get in a long ride in on the weekend. Maybe cut back on the gym. As I write it, it’s already sounding like a lot.

Thanks for all the pointers. I saw Onemanpeletons advice above and read Chad’s strength benchchmarks. I am already well over all of those. My issues is that I have had a acl reconstruction and need to keep up a certain level of strength particularly for skiing and surfing even if it is sub-optimal for cycling. I just signed up for trainer road I am going to try a low volume plan and see how I can work it into my routine. I did the ramp test and ended up with 4.26w/kg will be interesting if I can improve on that by just making my training more efficient.