Suggestions for the not-so-ambitious / time crunched

Hi there. I’m pretty happy with TR so far and have convinced my wife to try it too.

Unfortunately the typical TR plans require three or more workouts per week and she already has two other whole body workouts (one mild [monday], one demanding [thursday]) per week.
The only two-workout-per-week plans are sprint and olympic triathlon but they seem to assume a level of fitness (and/or other training) that she doesn’t has.

Right now she started a second try (after having trouble with sprint tri) with SSB1 but five workouts per week look pretty tough to me (and her).
I think something like SSB1 with only two workouts per week would be right for her situation and fitness.

Any suggestions what plan to choose / modifications to make?
Thx in advance!

Could look to the low volume plans and remove the Thursday workout? There’s still some structure but you’re getting in arguably the two most important workouts of the week.

What are her goals on the bike? General fitness? Event?

Now that you mention it, it looks pretty obvious to me. Why haven’t I thought about this myself???

Her goal is just improving general fitness (not necessarily at the fastest possible pace).
Getting fitter on the bike also won’t hurt as we think about a week of bike vacation in late summer / fall - but more of the recreational kind.

You could also take a look at the tri plans - obviously the bike elements are designed around other training, and iirc the sprint tri base and build low volume are 2 rides a week. I think Olympic low volume are the same, or only 3 some weeks.

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What about doing the minus versions of the suggested workouts to fit her needs?

@all Thank you for your suggestions.
Until now she keeps up well with the training load - but one of the non-TR sessions got canceled.
We’ll see what the upcoming days will bring. If it gets too hard, I’ll recommend her to skip the TR workout on Thursday.
When (after a while with only two TR workouts/week) she is eager to do more, maybe we’ll re-insert a turned-down version of the regular Thursday workout.

I would just not even both with trainer road, “training” in general, and just go out and ride with a group of people.

My wife is in a similar boat. She likes to exercise almost every day, but doesn’t have any real race aspirations except maybe in running if she gets some injuries taken care of. We both work out in the AM, and alternate who gets to go to the gym (swim/lift/etc) because we have two kids still sleeping while we work out, so she has taken to doing the time crunched 30 and time crunched 45 workouts. She likes them, they provide good efforts and she just kind of goes through them, usually doing 2 per week on tuesday and thursday which are my gym days.

just going to put it out there, have you considered zwift for her?

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definitely good suggestion, and joining a group ride or a race. structure, as such a low volume, I don’t see the point. I think it’ll suck out any joy of cycling.

But, also one other thing to really take note of. Trainer power training does not always translate to outdoor performance, especially if your bike handling skills are not up to snuff. So, you really have to ask some honest questions about why and what.

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Hi, woman, cyclist and wife-of-stronger-cyclist here:

Agree with @iamholland that TR’s serious-&-efficient structured training risks sucking the joy out of cycling if she doesn’t have big ambitions, just wants to be fit. For trainer workouts, I’d opt for Zwift or Sufferfest’s ‘base’ workouts/fulgaz that show fabulous alpine scenery - which could have added bonus of making her want to venture outdoors on weekends.

Another idea, again to echo @iamholland: do you have access to groups that run shorter easier/social rides? A weekly 2-hr ride with others at her level might be more fun to stick with in the long run.

Also, she might enjoy the opp to ride with people more at her level. I know I sure did when my husband was putting in 7000-10000km per year training for mountainous fondos while I was trying to get back after 5 years on couch!


Riding outside is generally preferred, but where we live (northern Europe) you have to be very motivated to do longer outside rides before May.
I came up with this whole indoor riding thing last fall just to bridge the time until we have friendly weather again (like many others too, I guess).

The problem with groups is that she/we only have few time-slots per week, so we aren’t very flexible to adapt our schedule to what the group plans. We typically can already consider ourselves lucky when catch a period of fair weather for a tour.

Zwift’s artificial world doesn’t look very interesting to her (us). And the competitive tone of Swift/Sufferfest doesn’t appeal to her.

Fulgaz might be worth a try.
We both tried Kinomap (similar to Fulgaz), but especially on hilly courses with lots of gradient changes it feels “wrong” if you don’t have something like a kickr-climb.

And then there’s another aspect: To conquer ones weaker self.
It is way harder to skip a workout or just “take it easy” when you have a prescribed plan that matches your abilities.

Up to now, we don’t see our workouts as a boring chore that suck the joy out of cycling.
When we reach this point, it probably is time to switch to something else.

Ah, I hear you about motivation with current weather here in northern Europe! Right now I’m happier to run and do strength work while the trainer gathers dust , so your point about conquering one’s weaker self is quite relevant for my own situation.

Really interesting to hear that there are folks who do prefer TR workouts, specifically, even if goal is simply fitness. (When newer triathletes have approached me about getting better on the bike, I sing praises of TR but amazingly few try a workout, nevermind stick with a plan).

Sounds like SSB LV minus the Thurs workouts is best bet.