Two-a-days, weights and recovery days

Question at hand - how to handle intensity days on bike versus weight training days. Key events are going to be 100 - 200 mile gravel grinders / 100 mile MTB / a singular 300+ gravel race.

Bias is to intensity on Tuesday / Thursday mornings, really long rides Saturday, kinda long rides Sundays, short slow rides Wed/Friday. Tuesdays are VO2 Max / MAP oriented intervals, Thursdays are FTP oriented intervals. Desire to include weights year round to maintain strong overall athlete health, especially given long distance events potentially leading to overuse injuries.

Option 1 - Keep cycling time T/Th to only the time spent on intervals, do weights immediately afterward.

Option 2 - Keep cycling time T/Th to only the time spent on intervals, do weights as second workout in afternoon/evening.

Option 3 - Same as option 2 but including slow spinning for another 30-60 minutes after intervals are done.

Option 4 - move weights to Wednesday / Friday following recovery spins.

My thought is Option 3 - burn through glycogen during power intervals and extend duration on bike to get some benefit of glycogen depleted riding, then come back to weights after having refueled during the day. But, one concern I would have is making sure the slow spinning doesn’t cause me to hold back on the work intervals at the beginning of the sessions.

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I think option 2 would be optimal. Option 4 would be the worst as you’d never get a rest day.

If you make me choose. Taking into consideration that you have the ability to recover and don’t really lose quality by adding this in, time will tell.

I would go with 2 or 4.

For 2 I would actually add some higher cadence technique after the strength, nothing stressful but find the right challenge at cadences above 95/100.

For 4 I have actually used strength as recovery many athletes find it makes them feel better, especially as they age.


I have adopted option #2, although due to schedule constraints I often am lifting weights in the AM and completing intervals in the PM. Fatigue the following day can be material. Last season I think the performance gains of this approach really paid off for me.

It all really depends on your age, training age, (how long you have been training) training resiliency (how fast to recovery and how much load you can handle). If over 40 years of age you don’t need to lift “heavy”. The right strength program based on imbalances etc is best. Learning how to move and breathe off the bike will transfer to more power on the bike.
Keep your main thing the main thing, strength training should never take away from performance on the bike weather that is high intensity or recovery ride. Strength work and rides can be done on same day if the strength program is the right one! Out of all options you present I would say option 2. Do not try to do too much in any single workout. Training is all about sending a signal to the body for adaption down the road. I would save your glycogen depleted rides as fasted state rides on your shorter easier days or first 60-90 min on your long weekend ride, refuel and get on with the rest of the long ride. Always go back to demands of your events. In your case long grinders so mirror your training and training load to this. Hope this helps

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Ideal is #2 for strength gains. But is that what you want?

But given your goals (health and function over long distance) it might be worth considering doing directly before a long ride(s). Similar to the 2-a-day guidance of doing intervals before endurance.

Hi Dan,

Great question!
It seems we’re missing some significant pieces of information here in order to help you.
Before getting into these, keep in mind that the goal here is to make sure your recovery is on point, and you’re not draining the tank too often either in on bike, or strength.

  1. What is your on-bike training age?

  2. Is this your first time doing this type of intensity balance/ training on the bike?

  3. What is your Strength Training age? (note, that if you’ve only been strength training “during base” each year, then you’ll divide the total number of years by 4)

  4. How has your recovery and adaptation been through these last few weeks?

  5. What kind of strength training are we talking about? Hypertrophy? Max Strength? Performance/ movement refinement?

These will all significant;y impact the right choice for you, at this time.

Hope this helps you,

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Everyone, thanks for the replies so far.

Menachem, answers below and for additional context I’m 53 and over the past several years have averaged around 8,000 miles / 400+ hours per year.

  1. 15 years structured training
  2. No, have done this type before and am a former triathlete (but three years ago) so experienced with 2/day workouts of periodized progressive workloads
  3. Strength training age is effectively 0 currently, but was doing regular strength training 2x per week back in 2018 - 2019
  4. Recovery has been good from cycling but due to work/life balance issues I haven’t been able to regularly incorporate the strength training, adaptation too early to call given I just came off “off season” on January 1
  5. Strength training is with dumbbells at home and combination of complex movements (walking lunges; squat-to-curl-to-overhead press; russian twist) and simple movements (bent over rows; pushups; planks; superman extensions). Generally 3 sets of 10-12 reps per exercise.

As a quick side note, it’s interesting to observe the errors that can occur in predictions offered by ramp tests when resuming training from off-season. Mine far over-estimated my current FTP. Even though I have a really low vlamax (in-lab INSCYD test), I have a “pursuiter” power profile and so can generate really strong 3-5 minute power, but at this point of the year my mental ability to sustain power for 20 minutes is a lot lower than a ramp test would indicate. Highly recommend fasttalk’s INSCYD field test protocol to get a better representation of an athlete’s profile!

Sorry for the delay here.

With the above info, I’d say starting with option 1 or 2, with a focus on HOW you perform the exercise, not the weights.

If you’re looking for performance improvement, this is how I’d roll ahead, as the focus and intent needed for the weights will help you check the ego at the door, thus allowing far faster positive movement and performance gains.

You will probably want to have some kind of protein and simple carb between riding and strength, however, regardless of whether it’s back to back or a morning/evening split.

That said, make sure your protein is minimum 1.6g/kg and that you’re hitting at least 8 servings of veggies, with half that coming from dark, leafy greens.

Hope this helps!