Progress on two workouts a week

After a few months of completely failing to follow my low volume plan, I’m waving the white flag and accepting I can only two workouts a week. Between a stressful job, pregnant wife, toddler and wanting to do some strength training for health reasons, I just can’t do more right now.

I’m planning 75-90 mins on a Weds and 90 mins on a Saturday. All indoors for now.

Has anybody tried anything similar? Is this enough work to make gains or am I accepting my FTP will flatline? And prosaically, what’s the best way to set this up on the TR calendar?

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I’m guessing flat line but still 1000% better than zero training.

Back when I raced and worked full time and hated the trainer, I’d force myself to do 2 x 45minute workouts during the week and then put in 4-6 hours of riding on the weekend. I felt that this maintained my fitness through the winter.

How about a more high frequency approach? I think that you can get a lot of benefits from a lot of 20-30 minute trainer sessions. Get up every morning and pedal for 20 minutes plus do the Wednesday and Saturday workouts.

Honestly, just do whatever during this time of your life. Some pedaling, even 20 minutes is better than nothing.

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Whether you can progress on that amount of volume depends on how what is limiting you training to begin with.
Personally I am in a similar get time crunched position but I get continual progress from 3 sessions a week (2*45 min plus a 1.5hr).I find normally the limiting factor for how far I can go with this is the quality of my recovery, in particular sleep and diet.
I think that at this sort of volume (although it probably all applies to any volume) lack of consistency impacts progress more. If you miss one of your 6 rides for the week it is no biggie, if you miss one of your 2-3 it’s 30-50% of your ‘just enough’ volume.

when our kids were in middle school I did 75 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in the gym, and a 90-ish minutes outside on the weekend. Plus walking the dog, about 6-7 hours/week. Got me to about the same place as TR LV plan. Fitness is fitness, take what you can get!

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Is that the traditional LV plan or a LV master plan, the latter is basically two HIIT sessions and one endurance session. I doubt dropping the endurance session would do any harm certainly not compared with doing nothing, You can also customise workout durations if it is any help. I do an LV masters plan with all my workouts set to 45mins and often drop the endurance one for my commute and I feel I am still making progress.

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LV Masters and skipping the endurance ride sounds like a good option. :+1:

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To keep a stable FPT throughout this would be mighty impressive. I’ve just gone through that myself. But I think it also depends on your FPT now. If you were a starting cyclist, I expect you would make gains.

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Yeah this is essentially what is pushing me to only try and do two, but do two consistently. When I was aiming for three I missed one almost every week, and then because I was missing one it was easy to say sod it and miss another.

It was masters. Playing around with the custom training plan builder I was thinking of dropping one of the intensity sessions and having one endurance and one intensity. But it sounds like going for two intensity rides might be preferable and drop the endurance stuff altogether?

Annoyingly my last five years of training have been so inconsistent that I don’t know if my uplift over last 4 months or so is just a reversion to where I should be if I hadn’t taken 2-6 month breaks multiple times (muscle memory and what not) or I am making genuine progress. I guess the next few months on this 2-a-week will be a good test of that if nothing else.

I don’t know enough to say what works and what doesn’t but I’ve been in a similar position since I started TR (kid was 4 months old then, 20 months now) and I liked the masters plan but dropping the endurance rides idea. Not sure if this will apply to you but for me I think I’m getting a decent amount of ‘endurance’ work just pushing a stroller around the neighborhood multiple hours a week, plus these days being able to take little rides with the little guy too.

But I will say that I’ve also been approaching the whole thing from more of a ‘maintenance’ mindset than really expecting to build much in this phase of life.

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I am on the same boat as @HLaB and @Helvellyn :slight_smile:

You can create a Low Volume Master’s plan and skip the endurance day. While ideally, you’d do all workouts, you should see fitness gains with only 2 interval workouts per week.

On the weeks where you are feeling tired (I am a parent of a toddler as well :sweat_smile:) you could skip one interval day and opt for the endurance ride.

Also, there could be weeks where you actually are able to complete all the workouts, in which case those don’t hurt!

Like @AJS914 mentioned, 20 minutes is better than no training!

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Sometimes maintaining fitness is progress. All those reasons you mentioned, maintaining fitness is a GREAT goal. Most people quit working out altogether under those circumstances.

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Unlikely to make gains unless getting off the sofa. But it is better than still being on the sofa 7 days a week.

So true!

You’ve got the do what works for you dude. 2 rides a week will be enough to keep you going for a bit.

I had very similar when we had our second. I was running then and I really struggled getting back into it. When he was 8 months and still not sleeping well, I decided to give myself 6 months of not worry about it. Be easy on yourself and try to put things in place to make it easy when you do go out - get things together the night before etc. Maybe consider trying to re-visit in 6 months and see if you can add a 3rd workout - but if it feels too much, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If it’s still hard, give it another 6 months.

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