Only 30 mins to spare - advice on intensity

Hi everyone,

With a little one taking up most of our time, I have very little time available to train.
I’ve just competed the time crunched 45 plan and after a christmas break, want to get back training again.

I’m cutting down to a 30 min time crunched plan to allow 15 mins of rowing machine work (to try and improve overall general fitness) - I’m not a racer, so I figure its important to try and get some variation in there to help fitness in all parts of the body.

Would increasing the intensity of the 30 min workouts be a good idea to give me the best bang for my buck, or am I better off leaving as is and just following the plans (as they are designed to work off your FTP anyway).

With such precious little time available, I’m just doing my best to get the most out of it!

Any advice appreciated.

If limited to 30 minutes I’d focus on HIIT type work.

For example

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I’m pretty sure there’s a 30 minute plan in the speciality/maintenance section. I suspect there will be plenty of intensity in those.

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If you don’t have time for volume, don’t scrimp on intensity.

No Go Power Zones

Sorry guys, maybe I didn’t make it clear - I know about the speciality time crunched plans.
I am planning to start the time crunched 30 plan tonight.

My question was whether or not to try and boost up the intensity of the workouts within the plan to 105-110%, to make up for not being able to train for longer, or have TR already taken this into consideration and designed the workout to be as effective as possible within the given time?

@AndyGajda thanks a lot for the link - some very interesting reading there which I will look into further.

I wouldn’t be boosting the intensity of those sessions. Some may be short on time, but they are pretty brutal!!

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Personally I wouldn’t, you are taking a guess as to whether that intensity is achievable. Far better to do an FTP test before starting any plan, which is referenced in the week one notes for time crunched 30

Right out of the gates, the first workout of your first week drops you right into a round of unforgiving VO2 Max repeats with minimal recovery time. But who needs to breathe anyway?
If you’re coming into this block with no recent estimate of your on-the-bike fitness, swap this workout for the Ramp Test. Or if you prefer, either the 8 Minute FTP Test or the 20 Minute FTP Test will work, and they’ll be the only hour-long workout of this entire training block.
Up next, arguably an even less forgiving interval format, your second workout of the week will address muscle endurance and good ol’ fashioned strength as you ascend a few rounds of power steps.
Finally, you’ll close your first week with a coach-favorite, a few “sprint-erval” repeats where you’ll prep your muscles with some preliminary sprints before targeting muscle endurance by holding your threshold power plus a few extra watts, but who’s counting?

Thanks everyone. Looks like they are already optimised to be as brutal as possible! :grin:
I’ll get on with the plan and see how it goes with the rowing added in there as well.

The great thing about TR is, if I have a little bit of extra time, I can always swap to the 45 min version of the workout for that day - you have to love the flexibility within the training system, one of the main reasons I wouldn’t use anything else for my bike training.

Thanks to all who replied, time to put the head down and get on with it!


If you can complete all the workouts at 110%, your FTP is off by 10%.

Especially on the workouts with an IF above .90, these should be pretty difficult to complete. If you find that in the later weeks of the plan stuff doesn’t feel as hard as it used to, you’ve probably gained fitness. You can retest, or simply bump up workout intensity. But don’t start with it high, just after completing a FTP test.

Interesting link. Bit of a blunt instrument though, in that it suggests that 2:59 at 120% would be an insufficient interval, but 0:30 at 121% would be fine.

Partly because it’s missing how long recovery intervals are. According to this, 40/20 intervals at 120% are a no-go, but pro coaches swear by them.

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Its not perfect, but there’s some good stuff in there. Eg, no point tooling around in Z1 for 3hrs👍

Yes, I also think I agree with the “don’t bother with 5 minutes at threshold if you want to make gains” approach.

How are you getting along with the 30 min plan? I am in week 8 and trying to decide if i should go again or go for the 45.

Hi Slowtrane,

Getting on well thanks. Another 2 weeks left, then ill do the ramp test again.
Im training less than ever, but I’m faster and stronger than i’ve ever been.

Doing the time crunched 30 plan 3 times a week, plus if I have time, I squeeze in a road ride on Sunday.
My average speed on local routes is consistently higher than its ever been and I can feel the extra power in my legs, so there can be no doubt that TR is working for me!

If you have time, theres no reason not to go for the 45 - I’m only on the 30 as thats all the time I can give up, but if there is an odd day where i’ve more time, I will choose the 45 min version of the workout listed for that day - I just love the flexibility TR offers with things like this. Inversely, you could always set out to do the 45 min plan, and then if theres a day you are pushed for time, just choose the 30 min version.

When I finish up this time, that will be one 45 min and one 30 min time crunched training plan complete.
I’m fully expecting another slight FTP boost this time around but I wonder are there any other shortish plans I should be thinking about for the next phase so that I don’t start to plateau…I do think the plan is nice and varied with the workouts it puts you through, but thought the question is worth asking just in case.