Time on bike and structured training

Hi All,

Looking for a bit of advice.

How much time do you all spend on your bikes each week and what is considered too much (hours per week).

I have done a lot of commuting and rides but wanting to start and throw in some structured training into the mix without over doing it.

Commute miles add up to about 100 miles per week and ideally I would like to get a bit quicker as well as training for a big ride next year (possibly chase the sun north).

Any pointers appreciated. Anything i should be cautious of?

Thanks

Richard

I feel it’s up you in terms of both mental and physical load in pursuit of your goals. A pro rider is doing 20+ hours per week. If I had time I would do all sorts of longer outdoor rides, but my schedule allows me to just do 7 hours per week all indoors now. I could easily mentally add one more ride outdoors for fun.

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If you want to start structured training, especially given your commutes, begin with a Low Volume plan. Nail those workouts and assess how you feel for your commutes, rest, etc. depending on your commute and flexibility, you may be able to do a structured workout on the way to / from work, but this almost certainly requires advance planning for work clothes, showers, bag lunch, etc. best of luck.

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Increasing the training load too quickly. Start with a low volume structured complement to your commutes and see how you go. It’s not just volume but the intensity that determines the stress of a session.

In terms of my volume, I was up to 12-13 hours in summer, did a little over 10 hours last week, and likely 8 hours this week due to icy conditions at moment.

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I echo that. If you do too much or expect too much of yourself, you can easily get into a mental state of frustration and demotivation.

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How much time are you spending on those 100 miles of commuting? I’m pushing 9-12 hours/week right now and most of it is (not too) easy, and then a little structure on 2 or 3 of the rides. Just take your time and build up slowly. Fitness will come.

100miles a week sounds a reasonable base to make some structure even if they are just complete recovery commutes mixed with a higher intensity TR plan. When I was cycle commuting every day I was doing 4days of circa 25-30 recovery commutes, a 5th rest day interspersed with a coaches structured plan (similar intensity to a MV) and thats probably when I was at my best. I was guilty of going a wee bit harder than my coach would have liked on ‘recovery commutes’ though :joy:

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Start small.
When I decided I wanted to delve into structured training, I tried various options, and tried to schedule 5 training days per week. To me that seemed ludicrous and impossible. I have been training 5 days a week for several years now. Schedule-wise I can do six, but I fare better with two days of recovery.

My advice: start with a one-hour workout 1 day per week, 2 max. Keep commuting by bike and stay within zone 2, i. e. quite easy.

Try different things, e. g. is it better for you to get up very early in the morning or do you prefer to do your workout after work? Can you head out early for your commute, do a few intervals somewhere, head to work, take a shower and then come back? Or is it better to do your training indoors? Do you have a second bike, i. e. a dedicated commuter and a bike for “serious” rides?

These are all variables you should consider. If in doubt, try it.

Here are a few things that have worked for me:

  • Consistency is king. Forget about things like sweet spot vs. polarized training (if that doesn’t mean anything to you, ignore that for now), stay consistent. It is better to aim low and stay consistent than to overcook yourself.
  • Rest is a crucial part of training. Let me repeat that: Rest is a crucial part of training. I’m serious. Take your rest days as seriously as the hardest training day.
  • Sleep. If you train a lot, your body will need more sleep and better sleep. I ideally need 8 hours per night now, and I get about 7:30 hours. This is a limiter, because less sleep means less recovery. Sleep has so many benefits outside of exercise, getting enough of it makes you a better human.
  • Fuel your workouts. Try to start with 60–80 g carbs per hour. You don’t need to buy anything fancy, order maltodextrose from Amazon, add a pinch of salt and perhaps a squeeze of lemon or lime juice for taste. Done worry about taking in too many calories, you will almost surely burn more calories than you take in.
  • Generally, indoor training is more time-efficient. E. g. it takes me 15–25 minutes to get to a place where I can do intervals safely. Doing intervals outdoors would easily add 45–60 minutes of me standing at traffic lights and wading through traffic. I live in a bigger city, though.
  • Working out in the morning works best for me. I have two young kids. So I get up before my family does (4:30–4:45), do my workout and finish about 5–15 minutes after my wife and one of our kids has gotten up.
  • If you have any question, ask them here. TR is by far the best online forum I have been involved in, and I have been a member of various online forums for over 2 decades.
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Thanks for reply. Spending around 7 hours per week commuting at the min. Sometimes more sometimes less depending how often im called into work.
Think ill start with a low volume plan like others have mentioned.
See if i can find something that that will help with long ride endurance.
Cheers again

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Firstly, and sorry TR, but some of the fastest endurance riders I know would do similar commuting distances and no added structure. Not sure they can sprint, but they don’t need to!

The other thing I add, I do 1 or 2 16km each way commutes a week on top of 3 TrainerRoad workouts, and quite often I find the double day tough. So I’d agree with start with one structured workout on top (assuming you aren’t lucky enough to have scope for the structure on the commute!).

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You can get very fit on two a day commutes, 5 or so days a week, year round. I know I did, then a 2-3 hour mtb outing on the Sat.

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