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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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I am interested in this topic. As a 50+ rider I find my body likes rest days. Without them old overuse injuries flare up. I am currently trying to squeeze Mid Volume TSS into 3 days a week (or 4 occasionally). I find I can do this by extending Tu/Th rides or choosing a longer version to make up for Wed TSS. I can also take a long Sat ride with TSS = plan Sat/Sun. This allows me to do some core and upper body weight training on Wed and Sun and have Mon/Fri as complete rest. So far it is working for me with record levels of TSS, all time power records, all time mileage records and most importantly - no injuries or sore knees.

FWIW two days off is ok but three days off and I notice a slight increase in HR.

Ignoring the reason why, the simple answer for me to improve fitness is to ride 5 days a week and take 2 days off the bike. Right now Sunday and Thursday are my off days, so that I don’t disappear two days in a row on the weekends. Also a fifty+ rider and only five years of (mostly) consistent endurance training.

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I wonder this too! I’m very busy and cycling tends to throw me off my work productivity so i do

Tuesday - 1 hour V02max
Thursday - 1.5 hour Threshold (Sometimes a Zwift race)
Saturday - 4-5 hours at Z2
Sunday (Sometimes) - Sweet Spot

Generally I do 3 days a week I wonder if I’m limiting myself by not doing rides in between

Interesting questions! It’s not obvious to me that 5 days of 2 hours a day is better than two 5 hour days. In disciplines like cycling that lack extensive scientific research, I think it’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to creative, atypical approaches like this

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Yeah, 3 days off usually makes my next ride feel a lot harder, especially if there’s any intensity involved. No idea if that’s just a mental thing or a function of what I’m used to versus an actual physiological thing, but either way those are never my strongest days.

I do think it would be difficult to find a study on this question exactly, because it’s a bit too general to formulate an effective hypothesis/research design or any actionable takeaways. I imagine the results would vary pretty considerably based on the kind of sessions being done, the performance/improvement markers used, the training background of the athletes, etc.
In light of your specific context, I also imagine trying to get participants to cycle in a lab environment for 5 hours at a time would be both logistically inefficient and kind of a hard sell.

I have gone from 5 days to 4 days (pretty much skipping one 1hr zone 2 ride on Wednesday) just for mental sake… Felt that when I was riding 5 days a week I wasn’t enjoying it as much…

So now I ride following:
Tuesday: 1,5hr z2
Thursday: 1,5hr intervals
Saturday: 4hrs z2
Sunday 2,5hrs z2

I also do sidesteps with rubber band, as well as single leg squats after 3 of the 4 sessions - to keep the knees happy.

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There is plenty of performance based evidence demonstrating that training frequency is paramount for optimal fitness long term.

It’s likely the single most important factor in endurance training.

Now as to the science, I’m not sure it’s been effectively studied, because it would be very complex, very long and very expensive to undertake.

The above posts summarize it well. Many small doses, many adaptations. One big dose, one slightly larger adaptation.

I think an important factor in this, is the rate of detraining. I’ve found that many people underestimate how quickly this takes place. Depending on the study etc, it’s been demonstrated to be VERY rapid. As in 3 days and things are going backwards.

One week off and you’ve lost a significant portion of your recent gains. From what I’ve read, it’s approx 4 times faster to lose fitness than it is to gain. Again, not ideal.

It is rather simple as an equation.

1000 TSS week. Applied in a single ride. Brutal. 6 days to recover. Sadly, the athlete would be close to losing most of the benefits of this ride by the time the next one came around.

1000 TSS week. Applied over 6 rides. Manageable. Athlete steadily improves. This method is demonstrated by virtually every professional endurance athlete on Earth.

Reducing your training frequency from 6 days a week to 3 days a week is absolutely a compromise. If it is dictated by life etc, fine. However, it is a compromise. One that year on year will produce sub optimal results.

Now, how far from optimal? 1% 5%? I have no idea.

For professionals this means the difference between winning and losing. For amateur’s it’s totally irrelevant. Or, it’s very relevant, because the amateur wants the best result.

In that case. Increase training frequency to the MAXIMUM you can recover from with an ideal distribution of intensity.

Basically, if you’re not training 6 days a week, you’re training sub optimally.

I’ll add a caveat. Reduce this to 5 days a week for older athletes and less experienced at high training loads. Some athletes simply need this extra recovery day.

Finally. Do what you enjoy. Train the way that keeps you excited and motivated. The difference is probably pretty small.

Keep us updated.

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Good post :slight_smile: And this goes exactly with what my coach has told me. Currently at 4w/kg at around 8-9 hours a week, 4 rides per week.

To really go forward and get stronger and faster he said that I need to ride more days of the week, so now we are trying 6 rides per week:

  • Monday - Off
  • Tuesday - Intervals
  • Wednesday - 2hr gravel group ride, not too intense but not Z2
  • Thursday - High Z2
  • Friday - Z2
  • Saturday - Group ride with Z2 and some intensity
  • Sunday - Easy ride outside, around 2,5 hours

I would be cautious of doing too much Z2 and not enough recovery.

For sure, recovery is always key :slight_smile: Since I dont have any commutes or such to work, I need to throw in some more just to have the legs moving.

With an CP of around 295w, I do my easy z2 sessions at around 170w. So its not 210w like some sessions would put it at if I were just going by “this is your z2 power with that FTP” etc.

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I don’t have commutes at this moment (I’ve be WFH for 1.5 years). I think I was stronger/ faster during the first 9 months when commutes disappeared (rested more) and group rides vanished too (reduced unstructured Z2) but group rides are more fun. :+1:

FWIW, During that period I’d roughly follow a mid volume plan.
M Rest,
Tu TR Intervals
W TR Endurance
Th TR Intervals
F Rest
Sat Outside TR WO
Sun Outside TR WO

Although sometimes I would throw in an Outdoor work out like Carter or West Viddette -1 outdoors when the weather was good.

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The TrainerRoad workouts are very much different to how a coach would set them up if they know your power profile etc.

I have am very sprint inclined, which makes me more sensitive to threshold work, and I have gotten burned out on the Mid Volume plan before, even the SSB1. So for me I dont do more than 1 long interval session a week. If I 2 two interval sessions during one week, the other one is more v02 max focused.

This is how my coach set up this week for example:

So to add volume for me, I need to do more low intensity riding, and then throw in some intensity once, max twice, a week :slight_smile: And that usually ends up being a good balance.

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