Strength + training scheduling

As a 57 year old who only really started riding at 50, I have been devouring the podcasts. I’ve listened to all of them at least once. The “Three Rides” episode is my favorite and I’ve listened to it at least five times from beginning to the end It cuts out a lot of the baloney and has both simplified and improved my training. As an older guy, I WANT to go hard, but I NEED the recovery so that I can.

My other favorite episodes are the ones with Jess Elliot. She is awesome and in conjunction with the hosts brings up a lot of useful information about muscular adaptations and the benefits to the endurance athlete. I am racing cyclocross, m so I think that strength is even more important there than it might be for longer races and rides.

My question is about timing of workout sessions. My riding week goes like this:
M: recovery; T: Intervals; W; recovery; H: recovery; F: Intervals; Sat: recovery; Sun: Long (3+ hours)

Soo… given the spacing of my hard days and my endurance (recovery) days, is there an optimal time to do 2 strength workouts per week. I don’t want to quash my recovery, nor do I want to negatively impact the intensity of my Interval days.


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Do you have your strength training plan that you could share?

My immediate response would be:

Try your strength on your intensity days, before but with a 3h break or more if you can afford the time. Then see how you feel during the intensity and the following day of recovery.


Try it on 2 easy days and maybe shorten your recovery ride a wee bit, and maybe try that recovery ride as 1/2 before the strength and 1/2 right after, nice and easy and comfy high cadence.

I’d say play with what feels best for you. Timing depends on your goals and also your experience and consistency strength training. If you haven’t been doing it much, then do it whenever as you’ll need a good 8-12wk adaption phase before starting to add any kind of weight / reps that interfere with your training.

A good thread about timing here: Strength Training Question and here: Two-a-days, weights and recovery days

Thank you both for the replies and links.

From my much longer history with running, I always feel “springier” when lifting while training. As such, I want to keep that going with the bike. Typical exercises include squats, splits squats, reverse sled pulls, calf raises; core work X3/week, and various upper body work. I also do about 40 pull-ups a day scattered from morning to bedtime. I’m about to begin adding nordic curls to get some eccentric loading as well.

Maybe I’m over-thinking this, but as I nerd up about the science of training I want to be as efficient and as effective as possible. I dedicated this whole year’s worth of training to 4 or 5 cross races this fall. I don’t have the years and years under my belt, so I’m trying to train smarter knowing what my body has been telling me.

Clearly, I can handle two days of intensity and one day of loooong. I cannot handle three days of intensity. My legs tend to feel “good dead” after a day of strength work, and then springy two days later.

Given this, I’m thinking about strength the day after interval work, so I’ll be fresher on interval days. That also means that I’ll be less fresh on strength days, but the goal is fiber recruitment, so I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

But this is my rationalization based on my n=1. Was wondering what the scientists and/or coaches might say.


Couple of other things to think about:

i. you probably can get away with doing fewer strength exercises than you think per session, so kind of approaching it as a “minimum required” mental model (vs. “as much as i can handle”) can maybe help you fit it alongside your interval sessions without negative impact on performance or recovery.

ii. if you are trying to get performance benefits from lifting (vs. just general health benefits), the way you lift might need to change throughout the year. So you probably don’t want to come up with a ‘static’ plan. Rather earlier in the season you can chase PRs in the weightroom, then when you’re doing hard intervals, dial it back. That’s another way you can maximize the benefits of both.

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Those Forum posts from @smashsquatch are right on target.

You might want to take a look at all our Strength & Conditioning stories.