Training without a plan?

Hi all!

I’ve been road cycling for a few years. Every year I aim to do a few centuries or gran fondos: Tour of Flanders, Les Trois Ballons, Amstel Gold Race,… I also do a 12 weeks training plan each year with a lot of HITT training and it helps me a lot. I have time for 6 to 7 hours of training per week.

Problem is, I’m a freelance photographer and have to travel a lot for my job. It screws up my training plan the whole time. For example, I was planning to start Michael Carmichael’s Time Crunched Cyclist training plan in February, so I would be peaking during the Amstel Gold Race in April. BUT I just got a 10 day freelance job offer away from home in March. Yay! But there goes my training plan…

This actually happens all the time. It’s impossible to complete a training plan, as I have to put in on pauze the whole time.

Does anyone have an idea on how to make this work? Can you put training plans on pauze for 10 days and pick it back up afterwards?
Or would it be better to just ditch the training plans, and just try to do 2 hard interval sessions every week and a longer endurance ride in the weekend?

Thanks for any advice!

If you’re unable to travel with your bike, doing some RPE workouts on a hotel spin bike maybe? Otherwise, I’ve felt like I can stave off the perceived fitness drop with running, or leg strength such as body weight squats can help I think.

You’re in a tough situation with frequent long interruptions like that. Having said that, you sound like your goals are more “general fitness and have fun on the bike” based. If I was you, I would just use TrainNow and loosely follow a plan for progressive TSS increases week to week and be sure to include a long weekend ride.


Long gaps in short training plans won’t give you the desired result. Just follow general principles of training that you outlined here. 1-2 harder days w sufficient rest. At least 1 longer endurance day. I like to combine intensity into my longer day since I’m time crunched too (and races are longer efforts with intensity anyways).

I think you’re a good case for using TrainNow.


Yes. I do this. Usually it’s my wife’s racing or major work projects that impact my ability to train regularly.

In my case, my schedule is sufficiently irregular to anticipate that I will have forced time off, pretty frequently. So, I just choose to allocate more energy towards training volume & intensity during the weeks/months where I don’t have interruptions, than if I weren’t going to have 2 weeks of almost entirely down time. I just use the forced down times as extended deload “week(s).”

The rest of the time I hammer volume and intensity at a rate that if I proceeded to do regularly, I’d end up with an overuse injury.

Works great. :slight_smile:

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Do you do this following any particular training plan or do you use TrainNow ?

You can get pretty fit doing that, on an FTP basis that approach delivered almost the same benefit as trying to follow structured plans. That was good basic fitness, not “I’m going to do a 3 hour climb at 85% FTP” or “hammer a century at >80% IF every month” fitness. The 2 hard sessions being 45 minute HIIT spin classes that I added another 30 minutes of warmup/endurance by getting to the gym at 5am.

You can always try Block Periodization.

5x HIT workouts in week1, followed by three weeks of low intensity, and max 2x HIT sessions in those three weeks. Sounds mad, but it can work. Schedule the HIT week the week before you travel.

I’ve done something similar, by accident, and performed extremely well in an A-race at the end of the block.

Wk1 - 1332 TSS (700km)
Wk2 - 170 TSS (82Km)
Wk3 - 374 TSS (208Km)
Wk4 - 467 TSS (192Km) <— 94Km was my A-race.

A-race was 92Km, 1300m elevation gain (lots of short punchy climbs) in an age group category.

Edit: typo corrected.

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My training plan == hold my wife’s wheel.


Thanks… it was meant to be well.

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Thanks everyone for the advice!

Yes, my main goal is maintaining general fitness and having fun on my bike. My friends and I are always competing each others on the Flemish hills, but it’s just for fun.

I didn’t know TrainNow. Looks interesting! I just subscribed to TrainerRoad and will experiment with the TrainNow program. Can’t wait to start tomorrow!

Didn’t think about hotel spin bikes before. Good idea! It might become a deciding factor when booking a hotel in the future.

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