What is the effect of shorter and maintenance sessions

I might need to elaborate on this question:
The common believe/understanding is that ‘extension’ means: make one or more sessions longer. The other option: more sessions, seems to be less popular.
Based on that, I wonder if there are ‘any’ benefits if you squeeze in additional sessions.
As an example: you train 1 hour a day in the morning, 6 days a week. You find time to do a few 30 minute sessions on top of this in the evening. Will this lead to a benefit over ‘just rest’?
Are there requirements to make those 30 minute session beneficial?

Second question: if you only have time for a 30 minute session where your normal ‘easy session’ would be 60 minutes, are those 30 minutes beneficial? Would ‘rest’ be better?

I find that this really depends on the life stress surrounded by the athlete on a given day.

If the session makes you FEEL better for doing it then I think it would be advantageous.

If the session leaves you thinking about all of the things you should be doing, then I would say this is not beneficial time training.

Any physiological benefits?

My quick response would be no for someone training over 10 hours a week.

However someone training 6 might see a benefit.

No proof really just thoughts.

A lot of these questions are answered in this podcast:

I’ve experimented with double days. Two one hour sessions, by the end of the day, felt like I did a 3 hour ride. In the podcast, Neal Henderson was suggesting an interval session early in the day followed by an endurance session.

I seem to recall that Trevor had kind of changed his mind on double days which are not traditional in cycling. They seem to be able to function as sort of a hack on less volume.


@AJS914 yes used in this manner they can be very helpful.

Maybe I misunderstood the previous post but it sounded like adding 30m here and there of just riding.

I meant adding those short sessions on top off s regular session on the same day.
My experiments so far indicate the same thing as what you experience. I cannot tell yet if the increased stress also leads to increased adaptions.

I checked out the episode. I guess i missed it somehow. Great input. I’m gonna try it during the Christmas holidays. A good way to use the lockdown here.

Good conversation! And yes, I have changed my position somewhat on 2-a-days. I am still a fan of the long ride, but I think there are also gains from doing two workouts in a day (especially if that fits better with your schedule.)

That said, I also still feel that there is a period at the start of every aerobically focused workout where the Kreb Cycling has not fully ramped up and you’re not seeing gains to the system you’re looking to train. So, my concern with doing 30 minutes as a second workout is simply that it’s not long enough. Most of that time is just “wasted” time. I agree with Steve that it may be great mentally (as stress relief,) but as a workout, I don’t think you’re going to get much in the way of physiological gains.

If intervals were included in that 30 minutes, you may produce enough training stress, but it wouldn’t be a very pleasant workout.

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We’ll know soon enough. I am going for the ‘one normal workout’ which is between 60 and 75 minutes, and then a ‘very slow’ second cycling workout on the trainer.

And in case of bad weather, the first workout will be indoor cycling to instead of skating.
Hopefully i can leverage those activated growth hormones.

The first 2-a-day-but-only-once-a-week increased central fatique and also muscle soreness (on the next day)

Thanks for the update! Looking forward to hearing how it goes this winter.

Intermediate report:

  • 5 days of training so far
  • 11 hours in total (normal weekly volume around 7 hours)
  • almost 4.5 hours were on ice skates (3 sessions), the rest on the trainer, which means there were 2 days with 2 trainer sessions, both HR zone 1.

My observations so far:

  • The afternoon session seemed to promote recovery
  • the afternoon session felt long on the first days, 30 minutes into the session, but this feeling fainted later in the week
  • experience tendon pains in wrists, shoulders and calves due to increased cycling volume
    -huge hunger for chocolate :slight_smile:
  • hr response vs power output is very different on the bike in comparison to skating. Cycling with hr was useless → switched to RPE.

Performance wise there are no facts yet, but i will do a ramp test after this experiment to gauge the difference.
I did notice that i can put out more power in the second session, if the morning session was an interval on ice skates (vs zone 1 cycling).

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I just completed my Xmas training camp ! :grinning:

I trained 5 days in the first week and 6 days in the second week, 2 sessions per day. The volume increase was quite…huge.

Interestingly enough, I managed to do it without visiting the hospital. Halfway during the first week I felt very fatigued, but sticking to Z1 while cycling solved that.

Compared to my usual weeks I changed the intensity distribution, assuming I couldn’t output this volume with the same distribution.
Therefore I decided to go for a skating session every other weekday in the morning, and a HR Z1 cycling session in the afternoon. On the non-skating days I performed two cycling sessions, mostly in HR Z1.

The HR distribution (5-zone model) turned out to be:

(let’s not discuss SQL/Excel weeknumber dramas, the last 2 weeks matter)
As the graph shows, the percentage of time in HR Z1 increased significantly. This was purely the result of the cycling, as I spent practically no time in Z1 while ice skating.
The time-in-zone graph shows the exact same thing:

(week 0 is actually the first day of week 1)
I found it interesting to see that I cycled more time in Z1 than the total training time in the weeks before.

I spent most of 2021 on skates (non-ice), which explains why my percentage of time in HR zones above Zone 1 decreased during the camp.

The lack of HR zone 5 has two reasons:

  1. I focused on strength development while skating (sit low, keep force high but power low)
  2. the volume increase probably fatigued me to the state were zone 5 was not really in reach. In fact I spend 2 minutes in zone 5, but it is too short to show in the graph.

The power graph seems in line with the above: more ‘endurance power’ and less ‘above endurance’.

The time-in-power-zone graph:

The increase in Power Zone 5 is the result of some tempo VO2max blocks while skating. The reduction in neuromuscular power is probably best explained by the fact that power measurement outdoors is done through GPS speed, which leads to high spikes.

Can we talk results yet?
Well, there was a trend in HR Z1 cycling power:

The zig-zag nature of the graph is interesting. The power output in HR zone 1 after a skating session was higher than any of the sessions on the next day. Can somebody explain that?

I should add that I never cycled this much so it could also be a simple adaption to cycling.

I have a ramp test planned for Sunday, and if the weather permits, an 8 km time trial on skates for which I have years of reference data.

Ramp test results are in:

  • My highest completed step improved from 340 to 360 watts.
  • A 5,8% improvement.
  • When deriving VO2max figures I improved from 56 to 58,9 (1,8%).

I think we can conclude that I improved because of the Xmas training camp.
My legs were not 100% recovered yet. Especially the left leg started to complain from 300 watts up (this is the heavily loaded leg in skating the corners) so I tried to relieve it a bit and put some extra force out with the right.

What surprised me, was the difference in HR per step:

Any thoughts on that?
Could this by cadence? (about 5 to 10 rpm higher this time).

The weather was nice today so I could do a 8km time trial on inline skates. I was only 4 watts better than 2 weeks ago, which is not significant given the measurment method and conditions. So, no change. Normally I have a rest day before this test, but yesterday I did a proper interval training on the trainer.
As in the ramp test, my HR was higher for the ‘same’ power.

So in conclusion it seems that the two weeks of twice a day training resulted in:

  • transition from type IIb to IIa?
  • possible improvement in aerobic capacity

A thing that I am sure of: zone 1 cycling is a good way to recover fast enough to go full power again 2 days later.