Volume in Training

I’ve listened to a lot of your podcasts about polarized training and had a question about how gets in volume in training. I recently got a wahoo kickr and have been using it a great deal this off season. During the work week, I usually get in two sessions per day vs. just one long one due to work constraints. So instead of one 3 hour ride, I’ll do two 1-2 hrs rides. I’ve found that the amount of volume I am able to do now is right up there with summer training hours and is unlike the amount of time I’ve been able to do before in the winter (I live in Boulder btw). My question is, is there any difference in getting in 2 rides instead of 1 long one? If so, what are the pros and cons? Thanks in advance.


@gbianchi, welcome to the forum! This is a great question, and you will get a few perspectives I’m sure. We do have a podcast in the works to address just this topic, so will have to link back to this one after that episode goes live.

I’m glad to hear about the success you’ve had with the new KICKR this off season. It’s a great way to keep your training volume up while managing other commitments. I’m in the same boat, so my comments will come from also having to balance a lot of things and doing some blocks where I do 2-a-day rides whenever possible.

Here’s my 2 cents:

I think it’s a big positive that you can hit some of your usual summer volume with the 2-a-day sessions. With 1 long ride, there is certainly a benefit of doing it all at once in terms of the long, continuous aerobic contribution to exercise (versus having recovery built in mid-day), building past that cardiovascular drift point (again, by inserting recovery in the middle of those sessions), and riding beyond the 1-2 hour mark where energetically you would be tapping into stored glycogen longer (versus giving the body the opportunity to recover and replenish some of that glycogen before the second session).

2-a-day sessions do seem to offer a good method to keep your volume up if you would otherwise be limited in your available time per session. You can then split up your sessions and take some novel approaches, such as doing a heavy session in the AM, and then an endurance session PM. Or you could bring into it more sub-threshold work over both sessions in one day to increase the training load on the body. I’m sure there are a lot of ways to approach this and you may get some additional creative methods from the rest of the community.

Hope that helps a bit!
Coach Ryan

@ryan thanks for the reply and what you said makes sense. The link you provided seemed to just take me to the podcast page and not directly to the episode you might have had in mind. Do you know the episode # you wanted to direct me to?

@gbianchi, you’re welcome. Yes, so I’ll have to circle back on the podcast link. That topic is coming up, so we don’t yet have it produced. The link in my original reply was more of a placeholder until that episode is complete so I can update it. In the meantime, this is a great discussion topic to continue!

I’ve been riding 10 years now and the last two I’ve been doing the 2* a day (mon-sat)… That used to include swims… but since covid it’s just run, bike and strength.

For me I’ve had a challenge when my volume or intensity goes up and being able to cope without injury. So I make sure than when volume goes up, I lower the intensity and then use strength training nearly daily to keep strong (even if it’s just a quick 10-15min right after a slightly shorter ride).

I just did an Inscyd test Friday and hit my 3rd best 10min (4w from best and that’s after a max 20s, 3m, 6m)… Something usually only found at the end of the season. That’s also without doing one interval session since before the festive 500, just endurance miles on the trainer + the occasional short efforts on hills on my longer Sunday ride.

Great to see another person out there making the best of their time… Next up, I’m going to try and fit in a couple 3 a days during some of my meetings where I don’t have to talk as much :slight_smile:

I love this approach and think it’s such a great way to keep yourself moving differently when other areas of your fitness are being prioritized with more volume. I also started doing this with more of my masters athletes over the years. Rather than spending 45-60 minutes in the gym 2-3 days per week, we have seen that shorter sessions seem more appropriate for allowing maintenance of movement/neuromuscular patterns and strength with those shorter 15-20 minute strength sessions.

way to go on your INSCYD test! That must feel good to hit your 3rd best 10m time after those other efforts in the test!

Two-a-day workouts for running and swimming have been hugely beneficial to me. Also painful; there’s something about telling your body that the work for the day is done and then surprising it with a second dose.

That second workout forces you to train through fatigue from the first workout, which I’m convinced brings big metabolic improvements as well as training some mental fatigue resistance. That second workout has better muscle recruitment from being a little warmed up from the first workout. For me, the most effective second workouts usually include something a little sharper like short intervals or – to maximize fatigue resistance – tempo runs.

I also feel that two-a-days for running help with my injury resistance. I’m a fragile runner and tend to get injured over half marathon training volume. When I run two-a-days, I get the same time in zone from a longer workout, but I give the tendons and ligaments some time to rest. Then that improved muscle recruitment in the second workout helps with technique during sharper intensity work.

I have used two-a-days as a training camp and not a regular feature. I usually time them in mid-to-late season as I’m approaching an A race. I think there’s a sharpness of form that two-a-days can bring, but only if I have enough time to recover and then taper.

In the running space, I think the Hansons-Brooks team have mastered training while fatigued including two-a-days. The Hansons Marathon Method books lay out their approach in detail.