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How to get the best out of limited time?

smudgeriismudgerii Posts: 125
edited September 2016 in Training, fitness and health
My cycling time is limited by work and other commitments so I'm looking for advice on how to get the best out of my limited time.

I can fit in 3 x 1/2 hour rides during the week and maybe 1hour to 1.5 hours on a Saturday.

Looking to improve my overall aerobic level, drop a little BF but not weight and build up distance capacity ( speed is secondary to me on this ).

Any help appreciated, only been at this for 3 months but a gym goer for years.
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  • PTestTeamPTestTeam Posts: 395
    Smudgerii wrote:
    My cycling time is limited by work and other commitments so I'm looking for advice on how to get the best out of my limited time.

    I can fit in 3 x 1/2 hour rides during the week and maybe 1hour to 1.5 hours on a Saturday.

    Looking to improve my overall aerobic level, drop a little BF but not weight and build up distance capacity ( speed is secondary to me on this ).

    Any help appreciated, only been at this for 3 months but a gym goer for years.

    I work full time and I'm also a carer for my wife. I find time by getting up early to get up to an hour and a half training ride in before work. During the winter I ride to work, during the summer, with the lighter mornings I get up a bit earlier, do my training then get back home, shower and have breakfast. I'm lucky that my work is a half hour drive away though
  • smudgeriismudgerii Posts: 125
    PTestTeam wrote:
    Smudgerii wrote:
    My cycling time is limited by work and other commitments so I'm looking for advice on how to get the best out of my limited time.

    I can fit in 3 x 1/2 hour rides during the week and maybe 1hour to 1.5 hours on a Saturday.

    Looking to improve my overall aerobic level, drop a little BF but not weight and build up distance capacity ( speed is secondary to me on this ).

    Any help appreciated, only been at this for 3 months but a gym goer for years.

    I work full time and I'm also a carer for my wife. I find time by getting up early to get up to an hour and a half training ride in before work. During the winter I ride to work, during the summer, with the lighter mornings I get up a bit earlier, do my training then get back home, shower and have breakfast. I'm lucky that my work is a half hour drive away though

    All my training is before work, including my Gym sessions. Riding to work is not an option for me, but thanks for the reply.
  • napoleondnapoleond Posts: 5,983
    To achieve what you want you may have to ditch your gym sessions for cycling.
    Twitter - @NapD
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  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,384
    I don't get why you want to build up distance capacity if you never have any time for long rides?
  • Alex99Alex99 Posts: 1,407
    Smudgerii wrote:
    My cycling time is limited by work and other commitments so I'm looking for advice on how to get the best out of my limited time.

    I can fit in 3 x 1/2 hour rides during the week and maybe 1hour to 1.5 hours on a Saturday.

    Looking to improve my overall aerobic level, drop a little BF but not weight and build up distance capacity ( speed is secondary to me on this ).

    Any help appreciated, only been at this for 3 months but a gym goer for years.

    Go for quality in each session. I would just put blocks of intervals of varying length (say, between 5 and 30 minutes) in each ride, and keep the weekend one for whatevery kind of riding you fancy just for fun. Don't view increasing 'speed' (let's call it your maximum power you make for 20 minutes) and endurance for long rides as separate things. If you bump up your 20 minute max. power, then the same pace in a long ride will be less demanding (e.g. 60% of your max, instead of 70% of your max) and you can do it for longer. Also, on the hard bits on the long ride (hills) you'll spend less time riding at over your 20 minute max power and hence get less fatigue.
  • Smudgerii wrote:
    My cycling time is limited by work and other commitments so I'm looking for advice on how to get the best out of my limited time.

    I can fit in 3 x 1/2 hour rides during the week and maybe 1hour to 1.5 hours on a Saturday.

    Looking to improve my overall aerobic level, drop a little BF but not weight and build up distance capacity ( speed is secondary to me on this ).

    Any help appreciated, only been at this for 3 months but a gym goer for years.

    Interval training is the usual recommended method. But there's a simpler way than that if you only have 30 minutes make it one interval. i.e. 5 mins warm up, 20 minutes eyeballs out, 5 mins cool down, finish.

    Ultimately if you want to improve your long distance riding then you need to ride long distances, but going hard for some sessions can greatly help your ability to ride long distances too as you have something in reserve for the hard parts.

    I have a similar situation to yourself e.g. during the week 2 x 45mins and 3-4 hours at the weekend. I like doing 'easy' rides at the weekend and just those short efforts during the week have greatly improved my ability to do that.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Riding long distances with no time limits just means learning to ride within yourself and staying able to pedal (Fuel, fluids and no aches and pains or saddle sores). It doesn't need any strength or strength training.

    My usual riding is 25 mins each way to/from work which are either done at a 'fast but comfy' pace with a mile or so done at speed or at a 'as fast as I can go for the distance' pace the whole way (arriving in a suitable condition to enter the office). Then about a 25mile MTB ride once a week.

    When away form home at weekends I often do 100km plus rides no issue, last weekend was a 220km (200km Audax plus to/from start and end) with over 3000m of climbing (with a single 650m climb after 120km) on very rough roads (road bike out the question so it was a Hybrid) - 50 mildly overweight and moderately fit. Those that had problems were mostly those that hadn't paced themselves so the big climb ended in a fair few suffering from cramps and having to drop out - 27/8C heat didn't help. Oldest starter and oldest finisher!
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 10,220
    I am in a slightly similar situation and find a good workout is a 30 minute turbo session consisting of some variation on a 2x10. Normally something like 5 mins warmup, 10 mins interval, 2 mins recovery, 10 mins interval, 3 mins cooldown.

    The intervals are usually a variation on threshold (i.e., a ramp starting from just below threshold to flat out, or under/overs). It's not very scientific (partly since I don't have a power meter) but it works well and is just about manageable before breakfast.

    I did try to do Sufferfest Revolver (one of the shorter ones at 45 mins) at 6am the other week and it was godawful...

    If I have an hour between getting home from work and needing to be somewhere else I usually do one of the 60 minute Sufferfests (Nine Hammers is hard but feels effective). If I have more than an hour I much prefer to go outside and ride some hills (minimum 40km if from home or 35km if from work, so I need at least 1h15-1h30 plus faff time spare - my office is a 50min drive from my house)
  • trek_dantrek_dan Posts: 1,366
    If your life is genuinely so busy that you can only ride 4 hours a week just go and out and enjoy yourself and destress. Its supposed to be a fun hobby right?
  • smudgeriismudgerii Posts: 125
    trek_dan wrote:
    If your life is genuinely so busy that you can only ride 4 hours a week just go and out and enjoy yourself and destress. Its supposed to be a fun hobby right?

    You are right.... I always seem to push myself to improve and lose sight of the enjoyment.

    Thanks for the replies, hopefully having just bought a turbo I can fit a few short but hard stints in
  • smudgeriismudgerii Posts: 125
    NapoleonD wrote:
    To achieve what you want you may have to ditch your gym sessions for cycling.

    Cold sweat just reading that advice...
  • smudgeriismudgerii Posts: 125
    Imposter wrote:
    I don't get why you want to build up distance capacity if you never have any time for long rides?

    On the odd occasion I get the time I want to do some 50k+ rides
  • Smudgerii wrote:
    trek_dan wrote:
    If your life is genuinely so busy that you can only ride 4 hours a week just go and out and enjoy yourself and destress. Its supposed to be a fun hobby right?

    You are right.... I always seem to push myself to improve and lose sight of the enjoyment.

    Thanks for the replies, hopefully having just bought a turbo I can fit a few short but hard stints in

    Trainer Road and Zwift are great for short hard sessions. See you in the turbo training forum.
  • supermurph09supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    PTestTeam wrote:

    Check out my blog of the Time Crunched Training Plan in my signature. It's all about being organised, I did 4 sessions per week, mainly turbo but what I did make sure was that the previous day (mostly) that my bike and kit were all ready for my session. Less faff, more pedalling. It worked for me, I didn't get bored and certainly for someone short of time but keen to progress is was an excellent means to an end.
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 10,220
    Smudgerii wrote:
    trek_dan wrote:
    If your life is genuinely so busy that you can only ride 4 hours a week just go and out and enjoy yourself and destress. Its supposed to be a fun hobby right?

    You are right.... I always seem to push myself to improve and lose sight of the enjoyment.

    Thanks for the replies, hopefully having just bought a turbo I can fit a few short but hard stints in

    The way I view it, a few turbo sessions in the week increases my enjoyment at the weekend...
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    A 50k+ ride is really nothing, some fluids is all you need and not to go mad. I do a weekly off-road ride of about that length.
  • smudgeriismudgerii Posts: 125
    The Rookie wrote:
    A 50k+ ride is really nothing, some fluids is all you need and not to go mad. I do a weekly off-road ride of about that length.


    It is to someone with limited time available, and just 12 weeks experience in the last 25 years... My average speed is 20kph and on a good day I have 1 - 1.5 hours time available, I enjoy every ride even the windy day ones but I want to put more into it to get more out of it.

    Thanks to everyone for the replies, and I'm going to be reading the blog later may even buy the book. Finished my nights now and on 2 days off, only back Saturday night so hopefully get some sleep and ride later for an hour.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    50km in under 1.5 hours your not going to get to....50km in 2-2.5 hours is easy unless you throw in a big hill.

    Your kind of now contradicting your first post where you said speed wasn't important, well if you want to go further in the same time it clearly is phenomenally important!
  • smudgeriismudgerii Posts: 125
    The Rookie wrote:
    50km in under 1.5 hours your not going to get to....50km in 2-2.5 hours is easy unless you throw in a big hill.

    Your kind of now contradicting your first post where you said speed wasn't important, well if you want to go further in the same time it clearly is phenomenally important!

    Jeez... I know I'm not, simple maths is simple! For clarity, I never said I would, I was replying to your glib comment of 50k being easy. A comment you clearly made without fully reading/understanding my OP.

    My OP clearly states I want to ensure I get the best out of my limited time with the aim of improving. Those improvements will clearly help when I eventually have the time for longer rides.

    Thanks for the input, no really... Thanks!
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    bobmcstuff wrote:
    The way I view it, a few turbo sessions in the week increases my enjoyment at the weekend...

    I find 5 days of hard full on commuting during the week, increases my enjoyment of racing on the turbo at the weekend ... Especially as I sat back for the sprint on lap 1 last weekend, got spat out the back of the peloton and then had to ride at 100w more for the next 4km just to catch back up to it so I could ease off.

    On that alone I would work on interval training ... It will help with overall power and recovery, both will aid your longer rides and allow you to maximise your time in the shorter sessions.

    However ... It won't help your censored and back and core in the same way that being sat on a bike for hours is .... So swap your sofa for a stationary bike and your office chair for a bike saddle :D
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 10,220
    fat daddy wrote:
    bobmcstuff wrote:
    The way I view it, a few turbo sessions in the week increases my enjoyment at the weekend...

    I find 5 days of hard full on commuting during the week, increases my enjoyment of racing on the turbo at the weekend ... Especially as I sat back for the sprint on lap 1 last weekend, got spat out the back of the peloton and then had to ride at 100w more for the next 4km just to catch back up to it so I could ease off.

    On that alone I would work on interval training ... It will help with overall power and recovery, both will aid your longer rides and allow you to maximise your time in the shorter sessions.

    However ... It won't help your ars* and back and core in the same way that being sat on a bike for hours is .... So swap your sofa for a stationary bike and your office chair for a bike saddle :D

    My office is located 42 miles from my house and doesn't have a shower so commuting is pretty much off the cards. I can often fit in an after work ride before driving home though.

    Secondly try riding a hard chaingang - similar experience to what you describe except you're outdoors...
  • bobmcstuff wrote:
    My office is located 42 miles from my house and doesn't have a shower so commuting is pretty much off the cards. I can often fit in an after work ride before driving home though.
    .

    Similar situation here. Office 35 miles away, no shower, no bike storage, no changing facilities. That's how I've found getting up early and doing an hour on the turbo (or outside if summer) works out the best.
  • cruffcruff Posts: 1,518
    As a long distance commuter, I'd ordinarily just tell you to man up and do the commute at least once a week - even if you do it in one morning and back the next - but I'm aware that not having bike facilities is a deal-breaker. I don't have a shower at work, but I'm lucky enough to not sweat a great deal, so don't end up sitting at my desk humming. Can you not make an arrangement to keep the bike somewhere inside at work? Obviously, if you can't, then commuting is completely out.

    Intervals are the way to go, as suggested above. When I didn't have the time to commit to the bike a couple of years ago, I used to do a 'pyramid' interval on the turbo - 5 mins warm up, then balls out for intervals as follows:

    15 secs, 15 secs rest
    30 secs, 30 secs rest
    45 secs, 45 secs rest
    60 secs, 60 secs rest
    45 secs, 45 secs rest
    30 secs, 30 secs rest
    15 secs, 15 secs rest
    5 mins rest
    Repeat
    5 mins recovery

    By the time the second lot of intervals get shorter, you should know you've nailed it because your power starts to drop off. If it doesn't you haven't gone hard enough early on

    That's a pretty standard interval routine, and only takes about half an hour
    Fat chopper. Some racing. Some testing. Some crashing.
    Specialising in Git Daaahns and Cafs. Norvern Munkey/Transplanted Laaandoner.
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 10,220
    I have the possibility to bring my bike in, ride home and get a lift in the next day, but I have to time that around a colleague's plans then. Unfortunately the public transport is such that getting in by train would take about 2h20.

    Anyway I find I can get a 30-50km ride in after work and then drive home, which has the added benefit of meaning I miss the traffic.
  • VamPVamP Posts: 674
    Split your commute. Find a place to park whatever distance you're comfy riding from work. Simples.

    Baby wipes solve the showers conundrum. Commuting by bike is by far the most efficient way to get you training time in.
  • I've often thought I would do commuting (35 miles) if I could just do it in the morning and not have to ride back in the evening. Reality of logistics means that doesn't happen!
  • smudgeriismudgerii Posts: 125
    All these offices, showers and mornings.... Is it just me that works nights in a Distribution Centre? Mornings are after 13:00, weekends are any day of the week and not necessarily 2 consecutive days. Split sleeps are killer to your performance and endurance....

    Commuting ain't an option, and for me cycling is an activity I want as a hobby not as a mode of 'transport' to work.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    Smudgerii wrote:
    cycling is an activity I want as a hobby not as a mode of 'transport' to work.

    That's a shame ... I love being able to do my hobby twice a day, guess I am lucky but I don't look at it as transport but a morning of training, fitness and fun ... Oh and racing my PBs in strava

    And it's time management why do commuting to work AND cycling when you can combine them

    Anyway, I digress, commuting isn't an option for you.

    As it goes though we all have the same time 24hrs a day ... You don't have time for exersise, cycling etc, you make time for it. You need to take a look at what fills your day and prioritise what you want, you might need to cut some stuff out like an hours sleep or not watching tv

    I used to watch the MotoGP, F1 and get up at 7am ... Now I only watch 1hr of tv a day and get up at 5am
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 9,614
    I did use the Time crunched book originally, and very good it is too, hoever if you have a smart turbo trainer, a power meter, or even just a heart rate monitor, then I personally think that trainer road will motivate you more - that is what I have switched too now.
    They have preset training plans, but critically for people with hardly anyime, people with a bit more time, and people with ample time - you just choose the one that suits you.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
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