Ramping up training in lockdown

Hi team, been pondering increasing training as I’m still not allowed to work as our COVID lockdown rolls on.

Lately I seem to naturally fall around 8 hours / 200-250km a week, all indoors as we have a 5km limit for lockdown.

Looking at others there is certainly a correlation between time spent training, and the level that people ride at. B graders such as myself around 150-250km per week, A graders at 300km or more, and full time riders putting in 400-600km. Obviously massive generalisation there, but seems to hold true as a rough guide.

I can effectively make myself an (unpaid, sadly) pro rider now, as I’ve nothing else to do. How would you go about adding more training, without burning out? There’s only so much high intensity one can do before it becomes detrimental. Does filling in extra time with solid base, tempo, and longer ‘recovery’ rides add much benefit?

I’m trying to get better at adding more strength work off the bike as well.

Ultimate goal is to just be fitter and stronger on the bike to enjoy more long Audax rides when they return, and in the short term to be a better e-racer. Just started in the ZRL last night, B grade, marked ‘almost A’ on Zwiftpower. Dreading getting bumped up to A grade, where I will get completely smashed! :smiley:

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Gradually :sunglasses: In order to increase TL, you either put in more hours, or more time. Both result in more stress (TSS), but not in the same way.

Figure out a ramp rate you can sustain and work from there. This will probably take a few weeks to establish, but - as you said - you have time enough on your hands :rofl:

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Hopefully one of the coaches might give you some advice but IMO you’d want to add volume gradually and progressively, and without impacting on the quality of your interval sessions. Personally I’d keep my recovery days, as you’ll need those more than ever with an increased training volume, but start adding zone 2 work onto the end of workouts. Something like Extra shot @ 60-65% or open 30 at the end of the 3rd midweek workout initially, and expand out gradually from there.

@James_T … watching this thread with you now :slight_smile:

@Coach.Suzie.S @Coach.Simon.B … actually rather this list you all … anyone got any thoughts on this?

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Yep, I get the gradually aspect. Guess my question is more, what’s the end goal/steady state once you up your training.

Is it a similar amount of high intensity, plus a bucket load of tempo and below? Or whatever else.

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That depends on your goals. You mention Audax, which typically are increasingly long (ultra)distance rides, no?

If you want to set a goal for each distance/ride, define what you need for it to be at your best when you need to perform (i.e. which profile) and use test results to work on strengths and weaknesses.

I’ve flogged myself in Z3/Z4 for 6 months to prepare for a Giro in the Dolomites, including the Maratona dles Dolomites.

As I live below sea level in a pancake flat area, there is no other way to train for altitude adaptation AND endurance.


Mixed goals. Audax is typically 200-600km which is fine, more a question of wanting to ride all day, than outright fitness.

I had a 1,200km 90 hour Audax booked for next month, but that’s been cancelled this year due to COVID.

Shorter term goals are the 40 to 60 minute, 30-50km races. And then hopefully a 250km 4200vm ride in January, which isn’t a race, but I’m using as a target event.

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That’s definitely a lower threshold power thing. Obviously, there’s a big difference between your short term and the long term goals.

Training for the former is totally different from training for the latter. You have not defined ‘short term’ in time, but if I assume for the next month or so, you do not have a lot of time left to train for your January event.

When I say wanting to ride all day, I mean it’s a mental challenge more than physical fitness. You’ve got to want to do it.

I was trained up for the Jan event at the beginning of this year, but it was cancelled due to bushfires. I’ve added about 10-15% to FTP since then, so will be fine. Just keen to get the best out of myself.


I see - that has never been a problem for me, as I like beating myself into a pulp, preferably in the high mountains :joy:

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@James_T … my take on this (and we really do need the coaches to comment if they can) … is we need to do two things with that extra time:

  1. We add in more conditioning, which means we reduce risk of ‘other’ things going wrong during long events (back/knee/shoulder or similar biomechanics). It might be that we go from 2 x 36 minute STR workouts to 2 x 1hr STR workouts and make them hurt a little bit more (still following the rest week principle every 3-4w)
  2. We add in saddle time ‘in proportion’. So if Monday was VO2, then we keep pushing these to their maximum value as hard as we can, and possibly add an hour on the same day of something else that’s Z2/Z3. If we had another day that was more STR focussed (e.g. Power Statikon and a STR workout) then we do PS, and possibly add another workout as well.
    ANd then if later in the week we do ‘FTP/sustained’ work (GCN Aerobic for example or ISLAGIATT … we extend it by repeating sections, or add Long Scream or Extra Shot to things … but we maintain our rest days in each week (I’ve never worked out how many of those are needed so I go for two).
    And we don’t do all of that at once … might be we extend the Monday VO2 day for a fortnight, then we add in the strength extra workout later, then the ftp, or such like …

Ok, braindump over, need to go work …

I do think there’s something in how this kind of time could be best used that we don’t address in the main plans (for time constrained training) and possibly also not in the custom plans as they’re also for time constrained (unless coaches can confirm whether this is a custom plan conversation?)

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One thing comes to mind. If you do not need to race like a Pro, and do not do the multi stage grand tours, is there any need or advantage in training like a Pro?
When I retired, I thought great, do a hard ride, get plenty of recovery and go again the following day, but when it came to devising a plan to train for the type of riding I was doing, it brought me back to where I was, already doing it.


No, but I have no life :joy:


Ooh. Retirement !! Nice.
To this …

“is there any need or advantage in training like a Pro?

I dunno sir … I think James may be using that as an example … ‘need’ is a very personal thing.

I guess the original question still stands though.



Well, not entirely like a pro, I was just using that as a silly comparison to show how much free time I have at the moment.

Advantage? Well, I’ll get fitter. I’ll be able to ride more, see more of the world on my bike, that extra fitness will allow me to enjoy rides more, and I can enjoy the challenge to get the best out of myself. I’m naturally very competitive with myself, so would like to make the most of the opportunity. I find being driven to hit a particular goal with riding can help with other parts of my life as well.

And whilst I’m alright with the long distance Audax stuff, if you’re going to try to ride 1,200km in 3 days, extra fitness never hurts (and certainly helps you to enjoy the journey).

Need? Well, that’s a bit philosophical, but nobody really needs to do anything, do they?

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The only reason I mentioned “Is there any need” was after listening to Bradley Wiggins in an interview about 6 mins into the vid. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YphnHjdSPpw



I think the most important things to think about here, are:
1- What are your goals and how much training is necessary to accomplish them ?
2- How much can you realistically train without burning out?
If you’re riding The Sufferfest workouts, you’re most likely getting plenty of high intensity training. Without getting into the details of what kind of training program you’re currently doing, the best answer is add little bits of endurance effort riding to gradually increase your overall volume. That could mean adding 10-15 minutes to your warmup or cool down on intensity days, or adding time to your weekend endurance rides. Start small and gradually increase by no more than 10% each week.
As for recovery rides, I don’t see much benefit in riding at that low of intensity for more than 1 hour. Remember the purpose of each training session and stick to it. For example, the purpose of a recovery ride is to circulate some blood through the system to promote recovery. An hour is plenty- move on and do some yoga, stretching, foam rolling, massage, etc. There are lots of other ways to promote recovery that would be a better use of your time. On endurance days, don’t get sucked into riding harder than zone 2- your high intensity days will suffer as a result. And on those high intensity days, hit them hard!

Remember that you should also remain on either a 2:1 or 3:1 work:recovery cycle. Don’t throw that out the window and just increase volume week after week after week. In fact, as you increase volume you may find that you need more recovery time. Perhaps you even start with a 2:1 cycle as you increase volume, and if you find that you’re handling it well after a few cycles, you can try a 3:1 cycle. I think the key is monitoring how you’re adapting and recovering. Sleep amount and quality, muscle soreness, mood, morning HR, etc. If you see negative changes in those things, it’s probably a sign that you’re not recovering enough and you may want to drop it back down.

Another option is to add cross training instead of more cycling. You mentioned strength training- I very much encourage you to start a strength program. It can enhance your cycling tremendously, as well as make you a better, stronger human overall.

Best of luck and keep us posted on your progress and improvement!


Thanks @coach.Suzie.S


I have nothing to add other than to say if you think this James T is doing 1000k+ in one ride then you have the wrong person :smiley:

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Thanks Suzie. All makes sense.

I’m very up and down at the moment, feeling unexpectedly wrecked one day, then today completing Thin Air and feeling like I could do it again.

New race season just started, and lockdown may be easing tomorrow, so will try to settle into something of a routine in the next week or two and see how I go.