Scheduling of easy workouts within a base period week

If you were mostly doing aerobic easy (<LT1) sessions during a base period, and you had complete freedom to spread your workouts out, how would you spread them out?

For example let’s say you are able to do 4 of these sessions per week and have no restrictions on which days. Block them together , so 4 days in a row. Spread them through the week, with a day between each session. Something else?

1 Like

That is a nice question Phil.

I would do 4x4 hours on the first day and then go on holiday…
No seriously, i would do the 2nd session when i am fully recovered from the first. That might mean that ‘the week’ has to be 8 days or more.
If you have full flexibility, be flexible in the size of your ‘micro cycle’ too.
‘Fully recovered’ would mean: Rest HR back to baseline, HRV back to baseline, no muscle soreness.

As an example: i don’t have ‘week plans’. I continue training on a daily basis until my body tells me that it is time for a rest day. This is either:

  • rest HR during the night >5 beats above ‘rested’
  • average HRV during the night < 30
  • can’t walk a single flight of stairs without feeling fatigued.
    Usually this results in 6 days of training in a row (a mix of high, medium and (lots of) low intensity)

These parameters are the result of ‘experience with my own body’. You can derive such values for yourself by monitoring your own performance and body metrics.

1 Like

If you have no restrictions on how you approach it, but have a total of 4 days per week for these sessions, I would try to compress them. Do you have limited time for each of those 4 sessions, or can you do, for example, 3 days (weekdays) of an hour, and then 1 day (weekend) of longer? If that’s the case, I would block up 3 days (Wed-Fri) of the shorter time, and then make day 4 on Saturday for a 4-day block, assuming Saturday could be a significantly longer ride. Or if you have Saturday and Sunday available for longer volume, I would do 4 days again with Saturday and Sunday being your bigger volume days, so it would go Thurs-Sun. Monday off, Tuesday some kind of harder workout, Wednesday off, and then back at it Thursday through Sunday. This give you ample opportunity to progress your aerobic rides too. But this is purely based on my assumption that you’re doing mostly aerobic easy for those 4 sessions and still have some time available for a harder session. That may be inaccurate, but in general I would try to compress those together.

@ryan I have a very similar type of question. I have 4 days most weeks to do workouts and I do try to do a longer session on the weekend, but even then not likely more than 2h. Through the week the max I have time for is 1 hour. I have been trying to dial in my intensities and I find that to be the hardest part. Say one week you do a 20 minute @ 105-110% TP interval and call that an intense ride or other times you do multiple short high power short recovery (HIIT/ TABATA) how do you figure these into the overall 80/20 Seiler assumptions. With all of the down time in between (or potentially in between) workouts it is not likely to be an over training or excess training regime. However I am trying to get that balance right…

Okay so do the easy rides in a block of 4 days, a rest day which may involve easy walk, a hard day, a rest day then go again.

I generally will not do a ride both Sat and Sun. So looks like schedule Wed - Sat for easy aerobic or Sun - Wed for easy aerobic. I presume there’s no significant different whether the longer ride is at the start or end or even middle of a block? Some weeks I’m able to get out for a longer ride mid week.

That gives the Polarised 80 / 20 ratio of easy to hard sessions. Is that sufficient to keep progressing if I extend the duration of the easy and the mix of duration and intensity of hard during the season or would you suggest a slightly higher ratio of hard sessions leading up to my events? Perhaps two hard sessions one week and one hard the next week? My main event isn’t till August. Of course if the longer easy ride gets long enough it will fall into a hard session bucket in its own right.

I would give yourself plenty of time to work those easier sessions, like 8-12 weeks. You might also consider including tempo training in those easy blocks. It might mess with your 80/20 distribution, but you will be able to continue a progressive overload through a longer duration; rather than having to rely solely on the volume or intensity of your ~20% to provide that.

And yes, to your question of when to put the longer rides in, you can use early or late in the block to help with the overload, especially if you do something like a hard workout leading up to that block. Hard day, long day, then a few of the normal easier ride days…as one potential option.

What do some of your weeks look like currently where you have a hard ride (>FTP or HIT) and then experience that down time? Feel free to post some examples because that’s really helpful for others to see as well.

In your case, I would also be sure to use the whole range of your endurance range and even incorporate tempo training once you reach a maximum on time.

That’s good to hear to I think I’ve been prone to move on quicker from this base aerobic period in the past. I was thinking of keeping this block going till around mid to end of March, currently being 3 weeks in. I’ve just reached volume of 8 hours a week for the easy rides (well I will when tomorrow’s ride is done). I plan to grow thst to 10 hours per week perhaps with the long ride at 5 hours by thst point, by mid to late March.

Hard sessions generally don’t go above an hour and will be turbo this time of year. 15 min warm up, 30 mins of interval sets, 15 mins cool down.

Easy is outdoors like this kind of lane / terrain

That all sounds like a great plan. And what a beautiful shot of your terrain! I’m sitting here in snow and longing for a gravel bike right now to spend hours in that photo! :smiley:

That looks like a great place to submit a video ride for FulGaz!

We don’t get all that much snow in the south of England. There will be the odd weeks but it is more likely Feb or March. Here is a photo from today’s ride with my wife. She wanted something about 2 hours and the loop took us 1 hour 55 mins. Just about perfect. It was 3C , and still, cold in the shadows warm in the sun. We waited till a bit later for any overnight ice to have melted and picked lanes that catch the morning sun.

You can’t beat riding outside on a sunny winter’s day as long as the ice risk isn’t too high, and you choose your route well. That brings me to 8 hours 12 mins of easy aerobic riding for this week.

1 Like

@ryan I apologize it has been so crazy busy the last while I have not had a chance to even consider how to answer your question. It is not that easy to answer because weeks flow according to time available etc… I do appreciate the fact that you do answer these sort of questions and try to help. Thanks

1 Like

Firstly, I would stop correlating low intensity with easy, and higher intensity with hard. Done long enough, low intensity becomes hard, and done short enough, high intensity isn’t hard.