Hoping for a bit of advice / critique / thoughts on my current routine and goals. As a bit of background, I’ll be 40 in April, and almost a year ago to the day I had the first of two back surgeries (a month apart) for a herniated disc. I had completed the summer of 2019 doing a little bit of racing, and definitely being at the peak fitness of probably my life, being about 72kg, and my FTP somewhere around 260 ish (not having done a true assessment towards the end).
In June I was able to start riding again, and did so slowly over the summer while strengthening my core / back. I took a while to get back to TR structured training (my favourite thing), which I did gradually in November. As of January, I now have a new goal of “fit by 40”. This is also coupled with a Marmot Tours trip to Analusia in October 2021 (provided we are all vaccinated!).
I have a bit of a busy life - a business to run (50+ hrs per week), 4 kids under 12, and a marriage I want to keep healthy. That being said, on top of the nutritional changes I’ve made (including cutting out alcohol, which is tough!), I had wanted to do the following:
TR plan - low volume 3x per week
A lifting program of sorts - was modifying Liift4 from BeachBody because my wife has a subscription. This is 4 times per week.
Running 3x per week, with the goal being able to easily run 10k (5k-7k is no issue right now).
In discussion tonight with my wife, I think we’ve agreed that it would be best to limit the running, and focus more on the bike and strength. Partly because I’ve been so myopic when it comes to biking up until last year that my muscle tone and strength have suffered.
I still want to run - so will probably plan for one long run per week, and whatever short runs I want to fit in “on a whim”. But primarily the schedule will be 3x / week bike, 4x / week short lifting (30 mins ish).
Thoughts? Alternatives? Really good online programs for lifting that I should consider? Switch to tri and swim?
It’s going to be a lot to fit in…one bit of advice I would give is that you will be short of recovery days unless you do some multi discipline training days - like triathletes do. I am an ex triathlete and runner and have a good base in running (2:47 marathon) so this was easier for me but you can build your run up with just 1 run that builds up slowly to your target distance on a specific run day when you do nothing else. You could then maintain run consistency by adding two shorter say 15min runs tagged on the end of your LV TR sessions 2x week (preferably on the shorter midweek rides). Or as a steady warm up for your strength sessions (or warm down if you targeted arms - I wouldn’t advise it if you had a heavy leg day). That way you can still have some recovery…maybe TR/short run Tue and Thr TR Sat, long run Sunday and then fit in the strength work when you can but have Monday off - that said strength 4 x week is excessive if your main focus is riding your bike 2x would be fine - say Wed/Fri
I have a sorta similar schedule, works for me! I work out in the morning, and I’ll do my cardio work first, followed by strength. It’s would be better to split cardio and strength into morning/evening sessions, but I don’t have the time!
3 days low volume TR, sometimes swapping 1 day long endurance ride
3 days run (6-8 mi)
Upper body strength after a run day
Lower body strength after 2 TR days
Mixed/fun/plyo strength after a run day
Similar story here - previously did all sorts of exercise, then got myopic about cycling, now moving back toward building a stronger body in general. I have found that a base run once per week for 1-1.5 hrs enough to maintain a surprising amount of running fitness without interfering too much in my cycling. The hard part is making the run slow enough that it isn’t adding a huge amount of physical stress if cycling is your main goal. For the weights portion, I have found that doing low rep/high weight effective in keeping the physical stress low and still maintaining or improving my strength.
I do exactly the same as you are asking about, details are in the top 3rd of the strength training thread joex linked above.
The one bit I will warn you on is to keep your expectations in check. I was already pretty comfortable running 8 miles and lifting pretty heavy when I started into doing all 3. 1 year later running just twice per week, 8 and 6 my running is almost exactly where it was. I am happy to have not lost anything running so little.
I do find I can run on a rest day from cycling and still perform many workout types the next day. I can run 8-10 and do SS or a zwift race just fine. Anything vo2max or higher though not so much.
Upper body lifts heavy 3x per week wherever it works, they dont impact anything on the bike once you get used to it. Getting used to it if you have not been doing all this stuff at once can take 3+ months.
Lower body lifts are the puzzle piece I struggle with. At the moment I do them late in the day, same day as a ride not a run, that has a run the next day. I can run on squat/DL legs but cycling is harder. v02max/hard+DL -> longish run -> sweet spot -> rest day works well.
One more thing; Dont try to diet while you do this. maybe some day when you are used to it all but its a tight rope walk. body comp will improve doing all this, but dont under feed. you will just end up injured or too brain dead to do your job. I notice I am dumb at work when i under recover and under feed before it impacts workouts.
you can definitely cut the lifting to 3x a week and make massive gains; once race season hits I drop it to 2x a week and make gains; maintenance is just 1x a week, so I’d look to save time in that department.
I’m unfamiliar with that specific program but I’d look into lifting heavy versus a body pump type class; much more benefit for cycling performance and overall health IMO
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