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Consistency is critical to any training program…you are better off doing multiple, shorter / smaller days than fewer, longer days.


If in several of the 5 sessions you achieve the minimal effective dose, then 5 sessions will see more improvement.

Also, you haven’t accounted for density. You can manipulate that too (more so) with 5 per week.

Also, same continuous TiZ? That matters too. Sprinkling in a bit of threshold here and there doesn’t count. Mismatch between intensity and duration (junk).

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No, I got that…the answer remains the same. Consistency in this case would be defined as “more frequent workouts over a period of time vs. fewer workouts over the same period of time”, not compliance.

Working out consistently over that period of time will yield better results than training less consistently.


Disclaimer: I’m no physiologist, and much of my training knowledge is old-school received wisdom, but…

I was always told that that the more often you can create a training stimulus, provided that you can recover from that stimulus, the better results you will see. Moreover, once you go past a certain stress, you are not increasing the adaptation stimulus, but you are increasing recovery time. For example, a session with 250ss does not, I imagine, provide twice the stimulus of a ride of 125ss, but with your condition of matched time in zones, may well need over twice as much recovery.


Right but you are not fitting more work in your scenario. So you’re correct. You are, however, fitting more frequent doses, which gives you more frequent responses.

The “sprinkling” comment gets to minimal effective dose in each session, not just overall time in zone. It is at the heart of your question. 5 min + 5min + 5min … etc. does not equal 1x60 mins continuous. So provided you are saying that—-and I think you are—-then more doses :+1:

Density is stacking sessions back to back. You are taking advantage of the previous days session causing you some slightly tired legs. The next days session is different on fatigued legs.

And if what you’re getting at is that TSS doesn’t account for any of this, welcome to the club.


Indeed. The problem is we need some way of quantifying training stress, in order to manage it, but no one measure seems adequately to account for all of the variables.

I think you’re slightly going at odds with the TR philosophy, at least as I understand it, which is (to oversimplify) fairly short workouts that provide the most bang-for-buck for people limited on time.

In an ideal world, I’m sure many of us would love to have 20 hours a week that we could use just for training, and to organise much of the rest of our time around recovery. As most of us don’t have that luxury, we need to make the best of the hour or so we can carve out however many days a week.

What is driving this decision?

You don’t have to dude! :rofl:


I think it also depends on what systems you’re targeting, and ultimately what your goals are. For example, you’re looking at like 15-24 minutes of v02 work per session, so you’re going to get more high-quality stimulus simply by doing more sessions. To be clear, I’m not advocating for doing v02 work 5 days a week or whatever, but 2 big z2 rides per week is a very different question than trying to cram a weeks worth of build into 2 sessions- the latter would likely result in diminishing returns at some point during the ride. Also can’t remember it off the top of my head, but there was some discussion about certain energy systems being kind of conflicting, hence why you don’t see too many “kitchen sink” workouts in most structured plans.

Entirely personal opinion here, but doing shorter, more frequent sessions sounds a lot more bearable if you’re riding on the trainer. Epic rides don’t exactly translate well to indoors.

I think this is your answer, combined with “it depends”.
For most trained athletes, 1h of z2 is too little of a stimulus, maybe even 1,5h. So it depends what stimulus is enough for you and how you split the TiZ over the week. 4 sessions can be better than 5.
On the other hand 1h of threshold, 1h of tempo and 1,5h of endurance in one session are probably deep in the area of diminishing returns, so only 2 sessions are probably not the most effective way to spend your time and energy.

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Interesting experiment you’ve been doing though.

As to part of your original question, not sure about any controlled studies. Lydiard did mess around with this back in the day, if that counts. It’s common for runners to do “two a days” now—-largely for reasons we’ve discussed.

This picture is an indication to why it is beneficial to train frequently and stay active on restdays.

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Sorry, my bad. This is the article:

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The concept of half-life is just as applicable on days. In your mind, just let the x-axis in the graph represent days. There’s a reason it says “Units of time…”

A lot of the above stuff sounds pretty dogmatic. Most studies that TR coaches discuss on the podcast are basically time-in-zone per week, which doesn’t answer your question.

I think the distinction will be “What are you trying to train for?” If you are trying to train for Milan San Remo or RVV, then I think it is pretty well accepted to do some brutal long rides (+5000 KJ) with sprints on tired legs, etc, as has been well-described in other forum posts. It has been touted as “just energy systems” by TR coaches, but I don’t believe this is true at all. There is something else going on when you can deliver 4000 kJ of riding then also throw down a couple of minutes at 700 watts.

If you are trying to just generate a higher FTP and “get in shape,” then it is likely that smaller training doses will be easier to sustain over the long-term, which gets to “consistency.” The above description that consistency is training more frequently is false. Consistency is structuring your training in a way that achieves a minimum effective dose to see gains without pushing you into exhaustion/injury/desertion that would lead to a training gap or cessation, i.e. Make sure you keep training week to week.

What I think is pretty well-accepted is that these stimuli, although similar in technical structure and TSS, will stress you out WAY more or WAY less depending on frequency and duration. Take Pettit for example. Doing Pettit the day after some threshold intervals after you have had a chance to sleep and rest will take an entirely different toll on your body than tacking on a Pettit to the end of a Threshold workout. Digging that hole deeper by doubling up makes it harder to get yourself out of the hole. So in this case, maybe it can be described as 1+1=2 for the increased frequency, but then 1+2=3 for the less frequent but bigger effort workouts. If you can handle the increased stimulus and still recover, then it is my opinion that you will be a stronger rider, but that is a big “IF”

Doesn’t sound like you have a choice, so why not just try it and see how you do?

It seems you want people to agree that it will be at least the same, but not sure that reassurance will really benefit you since regardless of whether it is equivalent or less effective, you still only have 2 days to train.

Here is one answer How often should I cycle to get fit? | Cycling Weekly which states 3 rides per week without referencing any studies. I believe there is at least one study that established the 3 rides per week minimum, can’t recall and couldn’t find it after two minutes of searching.

some interesting stuff comes up (Hickson and others) if you search “endurance minimum training frequency week”

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