Working up to 26mi (each way) commute

I’ve been using TR for a few months now and had some great progress. I only started riding seriously last year, and commuting to work once or twice a week really helped rack up the miles. My commute is about 26 miles each way, 800 ft of climbing, and I’m about 250lbs with an FTP of 278W.

I’m not a racer, but I’ve set an ambitious (for me anyway) goal of 6000 miles and at least 8 centuries this year. I figure if I could combine my commute with TR outdoor workouts that would really help, and with any luck I’ll drop some weight too.

It takes me about 1.5 hrs each way now and I’m usually tired the following day. I’d like to work up to commuting 3 or 4 times per week but still have energy for longer rides on the weekend. Any advice on how to get there? I’m thinking I could aim for 2x week for a few weeks, with an outdoor TR workout on the way in and an easier endurance pace ride home. Does that sound reasonable? Should I aim for a certain IF or is there another good technique for pacing that might help? Any advice is greatly appreciated!!

1 Like

2 x 90 minute workouts on the same day is quite taxing on the body already.

Doing it 3-4X a week… hard to imagine. Will you have any energy left in the tank to work?

Have you considered an e-bike? You can pin your effort level via a pedal based power meter (or the case of Specialized e-bikes, it’s built-in) and let the motor do the rest. Makes a huge difference trying to stay in Z1/Z2, which is probably where you’ll want to be on the ride home.


Thanks for the input! On the days I did commute last year, I was never tired at work. In fact, I always felt energized. It takes me an hour to drive that route since it’s mostly back roads with a little traffic.

I sit at a desk all day dreaming of riding my bike haha so this was such a boost for my mood and overall well being.


3-4 long commutes and longer weekend rides would be a large volume, not to say you can’t do it but you’ll have to listen to your body and dial in nutrition and sleep.

Not sure of your personal situation but if you have family I’m sure cutting back the length of the weekend rides would earn a few brownie points and leave you fresher for those commutes.

Also, consider how this fits your goals, factor in an easier week every 3-5 weeks to suit.

Good luck, I’m hoping to add 1x 42 mile round trip commute in this year as that will lift my volume buy 2.5 hours per week.

1 Like

Great points…thanks! The easier weeks is a great idea, and works well since I’m in accounting and the first week of every month is super busy. That would work well as a recovery week. As it stands now, im trying to do 8-10 hours per week on the trainer which typically means 2 hrs per day in the car driving and 1-1.5 on the trainer. The time impact during the week then would be pretty comparable since I’d be swapping I’m my car for time on the bike. On the weekends, I could just do 1 longer ride and have one day totally free which would work well for family stuff. Especially if that means an easy quick ride with my son on his Burley!

Good luck with your riding goals too!!


What about drive in with the bike on the car rack, then bike home. The next day, bike in to work, drive home. That way you never need to do both ways in one day.


With a commute that long, don’t do workouts in them, just ride. At least until the rides feel easy.

Also do things to make it easier - don’t carry bags and wear proper bike kit. Deposit everything you need in work on the days you don’t ride there.

Make sure to eat enough during the day.

Have one day of the weekend completely off.

You will get less tired from it over time and might have even have energy for a workout at some point.

Long commutes are a great way of racking up a lot of hours on the bike, have fun!

Oh, I used to do a 38mile each way commute 3x a week, plus a longer weekend ride. It’s totally doable, as long as you have the extra time it needs. It’s really nice coming in in the morning, after being out in fresh air for a ride, hearing the birds etc.


I used to commute by bike 22 miles one way. If there is one piece of advice it would be to hydrate hydrate hydrate. I didn’t realize how dehydrated I was during my work shift. The bike rides were always fun for me. It was hard to do more than 3 per week. 3 was a stretch. I really used that as base fitness, there was certainly a pace that I had to maintain so that the commute wasn’t out of control long. If you can do it and additional rides, you will be crazy fit. I also think calories will help. Hydration is the key. Try adding pink salt and cream if tartar to your water bottles. Both will encourage good electrolytes back in.

1 Like

Maybe you should try riding Tues, Thurs, Saturday, Sunday. That will give you rest before and after the weekend riding. If that is successful and you are recovering well add in a Wednesday later on.


I really wish I tracked TSS when I was commuting a bunch, I think those were my fittest days. I just rode, almost daily, to and from work and often added a lunch ride. (I worked at a bike shop). I think of all the wasted time I spend in the car going to work every day - 35-45 minutes, I know it’s small compared to some others but it’s long in my world. I can’t commute now based on the job location. So now I get up earlier, ride the trainer then drive to work. It’s messed up! Of course my ride quality/time in zone is dialed but I miss riding for the sake of transportation.

I’ll add to the advice.

I like the idea of leaving a car at work for one way rides, as an option.

Bring a kit for both directions. And yes, set yourself up with what you’ll need at work. I would drive in once a week to leave extra food and clothes so I could ride light.

For the two way days, really respect that ride home, that one was generally harder for me. Traffic is typically more moody at that time too, so I’d be feeling fatigued and dealing with antsy drivers. I remember seeking out routes with the fewest cars even though it typically meant adding a bunch of climbing.

Based on your goals there’s no reason not to go for it! Be safe, and have fun!


Generally speaking, I think you have a pretty good grasp of the options. Given my proclivity
to be slow to get going in the morning, I treated my old 21 mile AM commute as a volume builder usually, and the PM ride I’d do the shorter more intense intervals. Sometimes the headwinds either way changed the rides’ intensities. Sometimes the tailwinds meant I “had” to ride the whole commute home pinned, shooting for a PR (most of those rides were pre-strava for me). By the time we moved, I knew basically what pace I was on by landmarks and times. With some perceived effort calculations I could up the ante a little if I was running behind, or know that I had plenty of extra time to soft-pedal to work.

I’d probably shoot for two full commutes per week and one intense indoor ride during the week, giving you two real recovery days during the week and then get as much mileage as you can (and can handle) on the weekends. If you can make it through 6 weeks of that, then add a third or fourth day of commuting and focus on getting a recovery day once per weekend.

The only century I ever rode was based on commuting as much as I could and getting a three or four hour ride on the weekend as often as I could. You’ll be fine for the century distance if you manage three or four days at 3 hours/day.

As far as the practical aspects, 1. get a rack and some panniers, you’ll always have something more to bring and you don’t want to overfill a backpack for that distance. 2. The drive one way, ride one way is also good advice, as it forces you to ride when the car is on the other end. 3. Leave a charger for your lights at your desk (so easy with a consistent system like USB). 4.Find space for spare clothing, both kit and work clothes, that are technically not part of the rotation, but are only used when you forget something. 5. ENJOY

I also used to commute 30miles each way 3pw when I trained for my first Ironman event.

Commute in and out Mon, Wed, Fri. Rest weeks I would skip Friday’s ride.

I ran in the morning and swam in the evenings on Tuesday, ran on Thursday and Saturday.

In your place I would not train during my commute. Keep the heart rate low, easy breathing, way into aerobic territory all the time.

Do your quality on the trainer.

M/W/F Commute
Tu/Th TR indoors

Long commutes have a way of going wrong, so I’d save weekends for rest, recovery and catch up sessions. :+1: