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My question is: how to get most of minimum training? The problem is that I have limited time during week and I cannot go out for an 1hour or longer trip and I do not want to ride after dark for safety concerns. However on the weekend I can devote as much as 6 hours in one block.

My goal is to ride 100miles(160km) in about 6 hours without too much trouble. I also want to be prepared for occasional 2-3 day trips with ~80mile days at a slower pace.

My data:

  • Age:33y, weight: 163lbs(74kg), height:6ft(1.83m)
  • Current speed: ~60miles(100km) in about 4h05min, breaks included. Last 20miles were rather painful.
  • Gear: old road bike, no power meter.:)

As for my present training I do random long rides on the weekend, until now they were no longer than 60miles. During the week I do 1 or 2 days of HIIT(Tabata regimen) on stationary bike. I also run about 25miles(40km) a week.

I believe I could do about 3 times 30min on stationary bike at most(boooring). Should I go with HIIT for 3 or even 4 times per week like in Tabata's original study or should I mix in different types of intervals? But how long could I sustain that kind of training? Have anyone tried that in practice? I also do not want it to hinder my running too much.

What kind of training would work best for me?

  • Don't you think the 40km running will wear down your knee meniscal cartilage ? – mootmoot Jul 11 '16 at 10:58
  • I don't do it in a single run it is 40k distributed throughout the week – lukbl Jul 11 '16 at 11:25
  • Work it into your daily routine. Ride the long way home, the scenic way. Mix it up with a dawn ride on Saturday and an afternoon ride on Sunday. – Criggie Jul 11 '16 at 12:54
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    Read "the time crunched cyclist" but your time into cycling is too little. A 6h imperial century is not far fetched at all taking into account your current 60 mile time. Specially if it is mostly flat. – gaurwraith Jul 11 '16 at 15:27
  • The thing is, what hiit does not train is your ability to perform when your main body energy sources are depleted, so you may find yourself crawling at musch slower speeds the last 20 miles of a 100 mile ride – gaurwraith Jul 11 '16 at 15:32
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The first thing to say, is that your goal of a 6hr century "without too much trouble" is quite ambitious. Many cyclists never manage a 6hr century, and even for some quite fit riders, they would really need empty themselves to do it solo.

Training protocols are something of a grey area at the moment, with most coaches still prescribing regimes based on some variation of the books from Friel, Coggan or Carmichael.

However new research over the last few years suggests there may be more efficient approaches. As you have already found, HIIT shows good results for minimum time investment, although it is still far from clear which combination of work/rest yields the best results.

Polarised training regimes which are based on the intensity distribution of elite athletes have also shown good results, but there is limited information available on how this applies to athletes with less training and recovery time available.

Without a coach to decide for them, the best thing a self coached athlete can do at the moment is read/learn as much as possible, and then decide which approach they feel best fits their goals and restrictions. Sadly there are as yet a lack of good books available that thoroughly discuss reverse periodisation, HIIT and polarised training.

To me, it sounds like you are already making good use of your available training time, but without making more time available for riding, I think you may struggle to reach your goal.

  • thanks for your answer, looks like I've got some more reading to do :) "trouble" is probably to ambiguous I meant not surfering for couple of next weeks, I am aware that it will be hard anyway – lukbl Jul 12 '16 at 7:40
  • I found this research: joefrielsblog.com/2014/10/polarized-training-update.html If I am reading correctly HIIT group did only interval training with low intensity during recovery week. Polarized group mixed HIIT with low intensity. So isn't it more like Tabata regimen? I wonder how long one can train like that before taking a break and what to do during that break if time constraints remain the same? – lukbl Jul 12 '16 at 7:53
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    Polarised and Tabata do indeed share some similarities, but Polarised will have a much higher volume of low intensity training. Here is a link to the full study referenced in Friel's blog, it contains more details of each workout, and how often breaks were taken. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3912323 – Andy P Jul 12 '16 at 8:19

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