Volume > Intensity?

Watched a recent Jesse Coyle video reacting to a Norcal Cycling 2 video " Training to Double my FTP (Cycling Coach Reacts)" and he really seemed to focus on the point that the goal was unrealistic, especially with the rider taking 2 days off per week.

My goal this season was to get at least 6h/wk with around 4 days per week on the training and maybe up to 8-10h on weeks I do some outdoor riding as well.

I could choose workout alternates to increase the length of a lot of my SS and Threshold workouts to increase my volume but this would reduce the IF/intensity of the workouts if choosing at the same PL. I feel if I took less rest days I wouldn’t have the ability to complete higher intensity training sessions, might need to choose lower level alternates due to fatigue.

Would this emphasis on volume over intensity pay off more in the long term?

My goal is less lofty than doubling my FTP for this year, I would like to add 22 to my FTP by August (218 to 240), which would bring me ~4.2 W/kg even if I put on ~0.75 kg in the process. By spring 2024 I would like to be around 260w ftp, which would put me ~4.5w/kg and give me the ability to do Z2 (65%) at 169W, which I hope would help a lot with my durability and ability to hold on, on the flats and long rides.

Even with a more realistic goal though, I do want to better understand the volume vs intensity thing more.





Completely ignore IF, it should have no bearing in decision making. If you are choosing alternates appropriate to you PL that’s all that matters.

I mean, you can’t ignore intensity, but I would chose to add volume over adding intensity

1 Like

Why not the prescribed workout e.g. 1hr sweetspot/whatever then add an extended cooldown at low Z2 e.g. 60% and see how you feel, that way you get the extra volume and keep your rest days for rest.

This is a safe way of adding volume. Unless you are making serious mistakes in the fundamentals like sleeping and eating you should be able to handle a few extra hours @ Z2 on a 6-10hr week.

Basically if you are doing 6 hours when you have time and wherewithal for 10 you are leaving fitness on the table.


This is exactly what I do to add volume, it’s very easy and flexible.

Using MV plan I can get to 10hrs per week using this, if I start to feel too tired or have a busy week coming up I can just drop back to std MV.


That’s because you have a longer period at lower intensity. It’s misguided thinking similar to those who cut the cool-down short because that will produce a higher normalised power and hence IF for the session.

Something like posting 3 rides on Strava to increase average speed :rofl:

1 Like

Rather than picking longer SS workouts (which is also an effective stimulus if you’re increasing TiZ) I’d suggest just tacking on the additional 30-60min before, or after, the original workout.

Yes, volume is king.

ETA: I see I was way behind the replies of the same. I’d suggest, if you know you’re going to be able to do say 120min instead of 60, or 90mim, then the consensus seems to be that doing the Z2 as extended warm up is the most effective way. I almost exclusively do it in the cool down due to just adding on as much as I can and not knowing when the session will precisely run to.

Yep, or having auto pause on to inflate average speeds or not recording the bit where you are getting in and out of town.

1 Like

No one mentioned excluding zero’s :wink:


I tell you what, on a complete tangent, I’ve found it such a massively more enjoyable experience the last few years not giving a :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: if people see how much training I’m doing.

It used to be such a chore listening to people telling you they’d done 90min when you know they’d done four hours. Or if I said I rode straight to the race, instead of admitting I had ridden 90km there :rofl:.

These days I’m just happy to be training hard and prefer picking up as much knowledge as I can. Helping if I can.

1 Like

This week’s Strava leaderboard for one of my clubs, its all locals and 1pm on Friday:

Ever notice you can’t sort on time? Strava average speed doping on ‘the ride’ is real for some. LOL

Number 1 is a mid 60s retired dude and has 12.5 hours so far, without weekend riding. Number 2 is 22 or 23 and has 11.7 hours, number 3 is 25 and has 11.8 hours, etc., etc. Last few weeks those twenty somethings are putting down 20 hour weeks, and same for some in 30s and 40s. That 60 something retired dude was doing it last year :scream:


My Strava is private by default. It’s funny how my followers didn’t appreciate the difficulty of my indoor workouts. They stay private now. The rides that tend to be visible are the Z2 outdoor rides. They probably think I’m slow when most of their rides I see are tempo with bursts much higher. Then we ride together when I’m not on a training outing …


So if by reducing rest days, increasing weekly volume I find myself needing to drop the PL of my intensity workouts (SS, Thr, VO2) is this fine in the longterm?

I want to increase my volume but at some point I expect I will hit the point where fatigue is effecting my ability to perform intensity.

As an example I am in the last week of Trad Base LV Block III and in the 2nd week of this block I rated my end of the week Tempo workout as ‘Hard’, which prompted a struggle survey, I blamed training fatigue (the threshold and 2 SS workouts that came during the week) so it dropped the PLs of my SS workouts the next week (by ~2) which made it easier to do my long Tempo workout at the end of the 3rd week.

I feel that already by doing extra Z2 workouts and adding volume to the ends of scheduled rides to get at least 6 hours a week per week (only did 272h in 2022), it is affecting my ability to ‘keep up’ with the PL increases and workouts, if I boost even more to say hit 8h… It will likely reduce the PL I can do for intensity work even further and for longer…

I don’t push indoor workouts to Strava mostly as a way to track my outdoor miles separate from my weekly total. That said, our club leader board is mostly indoor riders with inflated “speed,” “elevation” and “miles” on zwift. But when you look at the time it tells the real story.

You will get fitter from the added volume as well. As long as you aren’t riding too hard on your additional volume, your PL’s will still increase.

1 Like

My indoor and outdoor rides come through Garmin Connect. From there they are pushed to Strava. I don’t think GC has a setting to only push one or the other.

Yeah I think this is my thing, as a newer rider with less than a year of structured training, I feel while the ceiling can be moved, I have been bumping into it already. I’m guessing it will pay off in the long term though if I can stick with it and stay consistent, for the most part it does almost seem like of the local fast guys, the more kms they are putting in each year the faster they are.

1 Like

With all respect to TR’s PLs, I think this is the wrong way to look at it.