Time invested training doesn't yield proportional performance, drop hours?

I’ve been hitting 15-20h weekly since October. Previous years I was hitting 7-10h with a SSB approach. Now I’m with a polarized structure, so only 2 hard workouts, and the rest is Z2 long trainer sessions or rides or Ski Mountaneering at that HR pace.

I started in October scalating Z2 duration in workouts, but in the trainer soon I stagnated at 2:30h per workout, I’m not going to spend more time than that in the trainer. Weekend rides/ski was longer. So I believe, that, since then, My endurance is stagnated. I’ve been increassing slowly the VO2 and Treshold intensity, and FTP increased very slowly to previous trainer FTP PR, faster than last season must say, but not higher.

So now with the spring coming, not sure if nuber will make a bump or not, and my endurance is noticeable better than last year with same FTP and may have more room to grow, but…

Not sure if extra 5-10h are worth it. Today I had a bad day in my job and I can’t mentally do the 1:20h treshold intervals plus 1:10h endurance. I feel like, "why?, I’m putting like pro hours for a 4w/kg FTP, why am I so tryharder?

Also, was putting lot of confidence in Polarized, but now I am seeing lots of coaches recommendating Z3 and SS long intervals. That may end up with my probably Z2 stagnation but not sure if it would bring benefits or pure fatigue. Training it’s like nutrition world, every year gurus claim magical methods that contradic the current trend so you’re always in a permanent state of “I’m not doing things right”.

I want to take it easier, but I know if I’m consistent I can have the best fitness ever, always been like this to me. But when I was doing 7h was like, Ok a bad day, but just 1h of intervals. Easy. Also I know I can not expect big bump. Every year gains are like previous year gains * 0.5

I can not imagine the season I’ll be training just to keep my fitness there, without room of improvement. Maybe I should rethink why am I so addicted to improving and why pisses me off this.

Maybe I should train my mind more than my body.

Anybody feels like this? Early burnout? Tryhard? Asking if it is worth? Fear to loose fitness?

If you guys want to check my training history and point out where I’m wasting time:


I’d stick to 7-10hpw unless someone is paying you to do it or you just love it. I think most pros progress gradually to large volume. Sounds like you made a 100% increase since last year. That must be tough to handle physically and mentally

  1. You should look for a variety of metrics for improvement, is very limiting to focus ONLY on FTP.
  2. Training 15h-20h is a massive undertaking. Hopefully you have good reasons, or intrinsically just like riding that much.
  3. Doing that many hours and a lot of them in the trainer would demoralize anybody but the most obsessive types (addicted)
  4. The key to happiness in life is having low expectations.

This is what I do to avoid burnout:

  1. I have a forced long offseason where I focus on winter sports and weightlifting. By the end of this I’m dying to ride 10-15h per week.
  2. Peak of Racing Season Is June-July and then I take a 1-2 week break.
  3. Mix road, gravel and MTB.
  4. Aside from racing, bike packing, long crazy adventures help keep motivation high.
  5. Friendly competition with peers

Judgemental much?

Some people just enjoy a variety of things that cycling offers. Some are only possible outdoors, some are possible indoors and outdoors.


Nowadays I’m used to this hours, really. My body may not get much profit from all this TSS but also don’t feel fatigued. Mentally I am on the worse position I remember, but I think bike or training it’s not the reason. But I was expecting more from a high volume training. Maybe If I’m able to hold this enough, I could see a the nice result, but not sure If I’ll handle it.

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Perhaps. When riding indoor I feel like the proverbial hamster in the wheelhouse, depressing. Incidentally, there’s some evidence that aerobic exercise increases a hormone that regulates addictive behavior.

I mean, all things considered, exercise its a good outlet for addiction.



I felt this way when I got inside two or three months ago. I finally don’t mind it, but it’s also a few weeks until spring. Go figure!

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Thanks for your reply. Tried to stay away from the road as much as I could, so I don’t get burnout in the Spring - Early summer when hard workots come in, so did near everything on the trainer. And weekends just Ski Mountaneering, love it, really into, really good for endurance training.
But last weekend went to the road (Z2) since months and I mostly got bored. Same places of always, no intervals to think about, the only I could do was listening to music and podcasts. Not stimulating.

But at the same time I’d love to do this long adventure rides and an all-out 4-5 hour race. And try to beat my favourite climb PR. TBH I have low expectations, I know I’m not competitive with others, but quite with myself.

When you talk about addiction I feel a bit guilty. I increased training massively to get stimulated and just get used to and need more until I’m getting burnout. But if I miss a workout like today I feel like trash. I do the 1-2 week season break but really have urges to come back. Really I’m getting a bit toxic, I enjoy it but I need it mostly.
Also don’t know if so much training could imbalance chemicals or hormones and make me feel like I had ADHD.


If you enjoy it you are fine. If it is a struggle either mental or physical change something.

There is nothing wrong to take a week and just change up what your doing. Sometimes we can overthink things. Enjoy life and do something pleasurable if it is becoming a grind. As bad as it may seem…to those of us that have a set schedule.(pointing at myself)…it is harder on us mentally to skip a day then the impact physically.

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Cycling could affect your hormones. So make sure to have a good offseason to replenish. Weightlifting could help as well. And don’t forget nutrition…

The Response of Sexual and Stress Hormones of Male Pro-Cyclists During Continuous Intense Competition

Reduction of Hb Levels During the Racing Season in Nonsideropenic Professional Cyclists

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In my opinion if you definitely want to put in 15-20 hours per week and you are not super confident that you know how to train, it’s worth investing in a coach.

If you can’t afford a coach I doubt trying to mess around with a TR plan and AT like you have been doing is your best option. Instead look at other training companies that will give you a proper structure around that amount of time like FasCat or any number of canned plans you can get via TrainingPeaks. Xert is also an option for helping manage higher volume.


I don’t quite agree - a coach is always a great idea (if you get the right coach) but it probably depends on your goals and how serious you want to be.

I think the MORE hours you have the more SIMPLE it becomes in many ways - you have to do most of it as endurance riding anyway simply bcause of the volume, and then sprinkle some intensity in the week in the form of 1 or 2 sessons. I think its when people have 4-8 hrs a week that is more complex as you need to be much more ‘on it’ choosing the right mix of intensity to get the gains you want in such limited time. Frankly you are unlikely to go too far wrong if you’re doing 12 hours a week endurance and 3 hours a week in 2 days of threshold or vo2 work in various ways. Caveat to that is if you’re one of those people that simply cannot be disciplined with their endurance days and simply must always ride hard - I’m sure we all know people like that :wink: A coach can provide a good external limiter for that but its not hard to learn if you have goals you’re focusing on…


That is a huge jump of volume. Unless you have done similar volumes before you will feel the effect. You cannot combine that with hard work. Yes, some do but they have 6-10 of 800-1000 hour years under their belt.
With that amount of hours you cannot blindly commit to “polarized” or “sst, tempo” boilerplate programs.

Z2 is a game of patience. You sit there and wait for performance to come to you. It takes multiple years of load to built a aerobic engine. No point in expecting constant improvements in any metric. You will have multi month dips in high level power.
After that when you start pushing, power comes and you can perform. You need to think in term of seasons, not months.
It is way off from the train today, gain tomorrow, burn out next week approach.

We are all mad. And its ok.

No. Your mind is where it needs to be. Strong head argument is overplayed.

You may just need to switch it up and try SSBHV or a HV Build that uses AT. A lot of z2 can certainly get boring and stagnant, so to refresh the mind and demands on your body don’t be afraid to mix in some SS. For reference I am doing less weekly/monthly TSS and hours this year with AT than last year, yet my FTP is the highest it’s ever been. Not to mention I feel less beaten down and mentally strong.

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Increased hours doesn’t necessarily mean increased FTP. As it was mentioned above, there are a lot of ways to measure progress. Ability to do more work, work for longer, recover faster after hard efforts, repeatability, etc…you may have improved several or all of these that can definitely win you races without even touching your FTP.

Several things occur to me here.

  1. At 4w/kg, you’re not winning anything outside upper age group contests (and I’m not sneering; I’m fractionally over 4w/kg and semi-competitive in Cat B Masters cx - top 10s but not podiums). Really, you probably need to be 5w/kg to worry the serious amateurs.
  2. You don’t actually say you’re racing.
  3. As you get closer to your genetic limit, you have to do more and more for less and less benefit: it’s the law of diminishing returns.
  4. Andrew Coggan has argued that the average dude will top out at c.3.9w/kg.

Putting all that together, the only reason I’d be riding 15+ hours a week is if I just really, really enjoyed it. Now, I have a lot of free time every summer, and probably would have 15hr/week to ride for most of August. I also had that sort of time in the first lock down. But after a couple of weeks, I find if I go over 12-13 hours a week, I just start to stop enjoying it, as well as developing lots of little aches and pains.

So it’s totally up to you, but if it were me, I’d take a month off training. Don’t stop riding the bike - just ride as you want, when you want. If the weather is nice and you feel good, do a long ride and stop for lunch. If the weather is awful but you still want to do something, pick some challenging but not hideously demanding workout from the catalogue. Don’t want to ride? Don’t: go for a walk, ring your family, go to the pub. And maybe mix it up a bit; buy an mtb, for example, or maybe a cheap TT bike. Just experience something different which is fun.

I suspect you’d lose very little fitness and rediscover the joy of it quite quickly.

Edit: FWIW, I do structured training from late August through til Jan, for the Cx season. Feb - July I ride largely as I want, though I tend to keep in 1 long ride and one interval session a week, plus whatever else I feel like. Currently I’m in a groove of 1 long road ride, 1 medium-long gravel ride, 1 set of VO2 or threshold intervals on the trainer, and 1 short-medium trail run a week, plus my daily core exercises (which are to alleviate back pain, not for anything else). My last FTP test saw a 3w difference from racing ‘peak’, i.e. absolutely nothing.


Do you ever take days off or half volume easy weeks for regeneration?

It sounds like you don’t have any periodization or undulation in your training.

An interesting point I got from the Empirical Cycling podcast was that volume supports VO2max. You build up your VO2max as high as you can get it and the continued volume supports it. But just adding more and more volume doesn’t make you simply get faster and faster. (Well, it might work that way for some lucky extreme responders to exercise.)

So you need to also build up all your other systems - tempo, threshold, VO2max.


After a bit you start to see the boundaries our physiology gives us, at some point training becomes something different than ever chasing FTP goals. I land on just over 4 w/Kg which is very average. At best, with my situation, I could maybe hit 4.5 with a bunch of sacrifices in other life areas. 5? If I didn’t work maybe.

We all get lost in the weeds with training but from what I’ve learned volume and consistency is the key. If you find a plateau you need a different stimulus, and when your hearts not in it, your body only follows… learn to love your time away from the bike and training, it’s the best way to see the long game.

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Assuming I’m interpreting this correctly - you’re currently at your all time peak of FTP, and when compared to where you were at this time last season you are (way?) ahead of where you were.

This sort of mental stress bleeding into physical training is common - regardless of the interval session you have coming up. Personally I am more likely to struggle with motivation on an endurance day than an interval day. I can get excited about VO2 and it motivates me even after a hugely stressful day.

However, you kind of sound like you’re on the edge of burning out, or overtraining. If you’re consistently dreading the training and not looking forward to it I’d strongly recommend you back off and see if you can redicover your love of the bike and the training process. If, however, the dread or fatigue is situational and only rears its head when life stress is exceptionally high then this is less likely to be where you are.

Don’t stress about the ‘tryhard’ or whatever else. Find your own motivations - train as much (or as little) as you want. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re wasting your time - you decide what is worth the investment.

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This is great to hear.

I’m interested, as I’ve just committed to doing SSBHV with AT (will probably do MV still for Build), and I do similar racing to you. Did you find the biggest jumps after you got to build, and have you had to make a conscious effort/plan to push out TTE (as in hold onto a higher Threshold PL) as you near your Northern Hemisphere race season?