Question: I’m a doctor, often working 12-hour days and on call some weekends. I rode some centuries last season but was undertrained. How can I get the most benefit out of training a maximum of 10 hours per week? — Eric B.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: If you have 10 hours a week, that’s plenty of time to prepare for long rides. In fact, seven hours can be sufficient if you plan carefully and include some intensity in your schedule.
Here’s how to divide seven weekly hours of training:
Do one long ride each week. Devote about four hours to this ride to build endurance. Don’t just spin along. Seek out hills, ride with a fast group, or mix intervals and sprints into the ride. This will be your toughest training day.
Do one short and intense ride each week. This should take about one hour. For maximum recovery, put three days between this ride and the long ride. Warm up, do a series of hard efforts and cool down. A fast group ride or club criterium works well, too.
Do two slow and easy rides each week. These should be about an hour each. The goals are fresh air and recovery. Ride with slower friends, cruise along the bike paths, smell the flowers.
That’s it! These seven hours include five hours of quality work. For lots more advice for time-challenged riders, check my eBook, Basic Training for Roadies.