Non-Time Crunched Base Training

IMO that’s way too much intensity for 16+ hours per week. I would do only 2 hard rides per week and be really careful even adding tempo after them.
Even the hard days can be just tempo in early base.

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On Mondays I often do a sprint workout in the morning and a vo2 workout in the evening.

For the love of science, I did three ramp tests in a day once.

I’m “kinda over” the fear of intensity on these forums. Especially on the bike. Your legs will let you know if you need a break.


At age 60+? Were your results consistent across all three tests? In August, at 56yo, I tried to do three maximal tests (lab VO2max test, 5min max power test, TR ramp test) over five days, with rest days in between. And I noticed my HRmax declined by 5bpm from one test to the next. After that I decided to not do more than one maximal effort per week, at least in the 5min range.

Your legs will let you know if you need a break.

I would be more concerned about what my heart is telling me.


No, yes. But we’re getting off topic.

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Ah, sorry. I thought I was typing on the age 60+ TR users thread :laughing:


:smiley: I’ll see you there in 13 years :wink:

I remember when this forum was all fields …

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Another Dylan Johnson video with links to papers + suggestions for weekly workouts layout

Not my legs, they are bloody stupid, just go on and on. It is nervous system that starts disrupting normal sleep patterns because of too much intensity. Then goes motivation. And then I’m off the bike for week or two. But then again, I’m nearer to 50 than 40 :wink:


One major benefit of the 3+hour ride is in substrate utilization from @timpodlogar recent paper, essentially showing that is when glycogen depletion has occured even with well fueled athletes so there is potentially mechanisms involving increased fat utilization along with shifts endogenous vs exogenous sources


Capacity to recover and absorb training is underrated and should enter into more threads. Somewhat age related, but also not if you are in 30s with stressful job and family.

Back on topic @DarthShivious, even if you find studies were they done on fifty somethings? Pretty sure you are in that age group of early-ish retired. Now in my sixties I’m approaching the land of non-time crunched, and as best as I can tell, can only recover and absorb training in the 8-12 hours/week range. On our local scene, I’m in clubs with some older retired dudes and they either ignore their body or are capable of 15 hour weeks for a good 6-8 months a year. Reminds me of the FasCat masters ctl podcast from a couple years ago.

Mostly, I’m interested if there is any real data at all on any age group. Suspect probably not.

Just wondering if 7x2, 6x2.5, 5x3, 4x4 will all produce roughly the same adaptation or if there is a good reason physiologically to do one or two 4 and 5 hour rides and mix up the durations for the rest.

It’s just something I was wondering about, searched a bit and didn’t find anything. The post here was just to poll the mob and see what came up.

Yes, that is correct. I’m mid-50s and have time flexibility.

@DarthShivious since you have enough time at your disposal you can try all combinations and see what works best for you. Then you can tell us of your conclusions.

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LOL - I’ve shared training and testing results when I think they add to the conversation. The point here is to try and fill a knowledge gap regarding what happens with long duration rides. So far my null hypothesis is holding up.



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Whether there are improved physiological adaptations with equally-sized days or not, I do not know. But for my own purposes I’d still want slightly mixed days a la Tue/Wed/Thu 2h, Fri 1h, Sat/Sun 4h. It allows better scheduling with other life responsibilities, and still gives 2 back-to-back long days where you go into second day more exhausted to increase fatigue resistance.

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There is research that suggests that a high variable training load stimulates more adaptation and that a low variable training load induces higher stress and lower adaptation and plateau.

So of those options 4×4 with three rest days should theoretically induce best results.


I think you’re somewhat losing the forest for the trees. There’s plenty of science about various aspects of training that apply even when there’s no limit to available time. It’s just that it won’t be a whole training plan studied, but rather individual aspects that need to be taken into consideration when building your plan.

For example, Inigo San Millan has done research on the time and intensity necessary in a single ride to maximize development of slow twitch fibers and how that affects endurance.

Others have studied training stress, recovery, periodization, they need for some high intensity, etc.

So ultimately any good training plan takes into account all these factors and the athletes goals and abilities to develop it.

And empirical data is part of science. It does need a decent sample size of course. But the best coaches are indeed using science to develop the plans, forming and testing hypothesis across multiple athletes and refining their hypothesis based on the results.

As mentioned earlier, if you are looking for a training plan with scientific explanation cited, Kolie Moore of Empirical Cycling would be someone to pose this question to.

Can you please link/provide references to this research?

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TR Traditional Base plans indeed follow this layout.

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I was going to link you to the ISM thread but then I saw you’re the one that started it :sweat_smile:. I was just using him as an example. Maybe it was a bad one.

My point is, scientific studies generally don’t try to tackle too many variables at once, because it becomes impossible to conclusively prove anything of high scientific value. Even if the end result was amazing, you can’t show the specific reasons why statistically because there’s too many influencing factors.

If I want to make a great internal combustion racing engine then I need to apply a lot of science as well as some empirical engineering and an overall understanding of how those factors interplay and what I want to optimize for as well as any constraints imposed. However, I don’t need a single study about race engines. I need studies on optimizing combustion, minimizing pumping losses, materials research, tribology, etc. I then intelligently apply those as best I can. In the end I end up with certain performance, but that’s that’s of low scientific value, even though it’s of high engineering value. And I certainly can’t claim it’s the optimal design and as soon as one design constraints changes it would be less optimal anyways.

Ultimately our own individual optimal training plans are just that: high personal value but low scientific value. So there’s not going to be many wholistic prescriptive training studies done and the chances that it fits all of your goals, constraints, and capabilities is extremely slim.

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If we’re talking about base training / general aerobic preparation, the recipe is fairly simple: lots of z2 training with some intensity mixed in. This has been proven to work time and again among the most elite of endurance athletes so it’ll likely work for you as long as you keep the training consistent and manage the fatigue.

There are many ways to structure the training sessions and it will mainly boil down to your personal preferences and restrictions. I don’t think there will be any hard evidence whether 4h rides 4 times a week will work better than 3h rides 5 times a week. So figure out how to make the training fit your personal circumstances and realize that training 20 hours a week for months will be hard, no matter what.

For example, a typical week of general preparation with 15-20 hours per week could be:

  • Mo: recovery (45-60min)
  • Tu: VO2max + 2h z2
  • We: long z2 (3-5h)
  • Th: 2h z2 (or recovery)
  • Fr: 2-3h z2
  • Sa: Threshold / sweetspot + 2h z2
  • Su: long z2

In the example above, you have 4 harder training days, 1-2 easy/moderate training days and 1-2 proper recovery days. None of the workouts here should be extremely hard or fatiguing. The point is to keep going week after week and to not have to take time off becouse of burnout. The global volume will make you tired initially (usually worst after 3-4 weeks) but after a while, the fatigue will settle and you start to see the improvements in your aerobic fitness.