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How To Train Less And Ride Faster | Training Efficiently With The Time You Have

How To Train Less And Ride Faster | Training Efficiently With The Time You Have


– I think it might have
been Eddy Merckx’s fault. He was rumored to have said that the key to going fast, when cycling, is to just ride your bike,
ride your bike, ride your bike. For many of us, we end
up grinding out the same sort of rides week in and week out whether that’s the club
run on a Saturday or commuting to and from
work, Monday to Friday, and yet, despite putting in the hours, we don’t actually go any faster. – I guess the question we’re asking is, “If we train less, can we go faster?” (upbeat music) (upbeat music) – The first point is to really question what it is you’re trying to achieve every time you go out and ride your bike? Now, that doesn’t mean that you need to stop with the social rides, but what you should focus on is trying to increase the variation. So, going out for three days in a row and doing the same ride at
the same uncomfortable pace is actually highly unlikely to be achieving anything
other than making you tired and making you therefore,
a little bit slower. – Yeah, that’s right. Assuming you’re doing
around six hours a week, rest between those
sessions is your friend. If you decide to jump on your bike and do a two hour recovery ride, well, you’re just kidding yourself. If you make an effort
during that two hours, well that is two hours wasted. Unless, of course, that
you just enjoyed yourself, which is absolutely fine, but it wasn’t the focus of this video. – You should really make
the most of that down time in order to then enable you
to hit those really high peaks where you’re actually pushing much harder. That is what is going to
be getting you much fitter. Time in the saddle doesn’t automatically make you fitter at the end of the day. – Lack of rest and poor recovery is also the undoing of many cyclists. Riding that middle ground, where you’re not going hard enough and you’re not going easy enough either. (rejuvenating music) – As we’ve already
mentioned, you want to avoid doing the same rides, day in and day out. A great tip, is to try and
do your hardest sessions when you’re at your freshest, so the day after your recovery day. Now, save that for interval sessions where you’re doing anything
up to about five minutes. Because you’re a little bit fresher, you’ll be able to get
your absolute maximum out and really hit the right intensity, so your sprints, your anaerobic sessions anything else would VO2 max, really. – Then on your second day,
on another fresher day, why don’t you think about putting those longer efforts to work, so the 12 to 20 minute efforts, with a short break and then go again. – That’s really going to
polarize your training. Now that is not a new concept,
but it’s super popular with good reason, it’s
also very, very effective. By doing that, it’s doing your
high intensity stuff midweek when maybe you’re a little
bit shorter on time. You can still do your longer
endurance ride on a weekend. Perhaps you add in a social element by joining a cycling club. – So, basically, we’re
avoiding that middle ground where we’re just thumping on the peddles. (rhythmic music) – Right, you’re not going
to improve overnight. I mean that’s a given, but the more and more you push you limits, the more you’ll find yourself
to be able to go hard when it really matters. – That high intensity training is really gonna stimulate your body to adapt, in a far more time efficient way, then if you were just plodding along in that aforementioned middle ground. – Remember that recovery and
rest days are really important. You want to allow your
muscles to recover enough so when it goes hard,
you can go really hard. I would, at around three to four weeks, put in an adaptive week. This way, you can lessen the structure and focus more on the fun. – Just ease off on the training, I guess, as much a mental break
as a physical break, but this is the week in
which you will notice you’re actually improving. When you remove the training simulation, your body recovers and then when you step on
the gas, the week after, you should notice, I’m sure you’ll notice, that you have just got
significantly fitter. (upbeat music) – So now that we’ve
ditched those junk miles, and focused more on hitting
those higher intensities, we can now go out and smash our PV’s, on any ride and any segments. – I reckon that because
you’re a little bit fresher, you’ll probably enjoy it more as well, not to mention be more motivated for when you really do step on the gas. The other thing to take from this is that you don’t need to feel guilty about sacrificing other
aspects of life as well. (music screeching to a halt) (quiet drum beat music) – Doesn’t this all sound to good? Is there no downside to this? – Not really, no. If you’re a professional cyclist, you had all day everyday to train, then yeah, you would probably
want to do more hours. Then you’ve got more
time to recover from it, so the principle remains the same. You will ultimately reach a plateau. Some weeks, you’re gonna wanna do it harder than others still. No, it’s a great way for
most people to train. – Yeah, sounds ideal doesn’t it? – Happy days. (bicycle chain clicking – Well these were a
lucky find, weren’t they? Now, make sure you let us know
what you think about this. How comfortable are you with
the idea of riding less, but yet, getting fitter as a result? Get involved in the
comment section down below. – Yes, and if you did enjoy this video, then give it a big thumbs up. If you want to watch a video on how to get the most
out of your training, then why don’t you click down here. (music fading)

100 comments on “How To Train Less And Ride Faster | Training Efficiently With The Time You Have

  1. I've been doing polarized for a little while now. Following James Spragg's workouts here: https://roadcyclinguk.com/how-to/fitness-nutrition/six-things-need-know-polarised-training.html . Really enjoying it. It is hard work but doable.

  2. Go for a walk! No one ever seems to mention this during training talk, but the best thing for recovery is to keep moving, just at a greatly reduced pace. So go for a walk on your down time, even a short wander after a long ride will help loads.

  3. Time in the saddle is important for long rides. 200km and more, or a cycle-week doing 1000+km. But as with most things in live, variation is essential. Ride hard using headwind, bridges, hills one day later just roll along.

  4. I commute to work which is only 30min long. So back and forth 60 min, 30min at once. I have 2 days to do long rides. Can I manage any session of 30min in this commute? I can not see any suitable workout for 30min. Any help?

  5. For sure you can do this as long as people don't take away the message that by riding less they will always get faster. Even with smarter training you can still get it wrong, your body can respond in unexpected ways. Or you can simply underestimate the training load your removing and not replace it with enough of the hard stuff to compensate. So be prepared to experiment and see what works for you.

  6. I think it's really important to ride more varieties of rides, than anything else. It doesn't matter how long you ride if all you do is go out and knock out 70-90 miles 3-4 days a week at 65-75% effort. A lot of people get in a groove of doing that and while it definitely burns a great deal of calories and is good for you, it's not going to make you better.

  7. I have just finished a Sufferfest 10 week plan and it very much does what you are saying, But as I have lots of time I still ride on my rest days because I love cycling, My rest days are slow rides in the countryside with a smile on my face they maybe junk miles but junk miles I enjoy,

  8. I like these little tip vides. I really hate the term "junk miles" Not one mile I have ever ridden is junk, more like "joy miles"!

  9. So basically with a 35 to 40km per day commute and refusing to take the car I'm buggered. Stuck in Plateauville until my pension.

  10. Si and Hank seem to have taken to the phrase " why stand when you can sit ……and why sit when you can lie down……if your lying down, have a sleep"……..I fully expect them to be having a nap in the next video with a lasty doing the video instead

  11. Si and Hank are a great duo! Yes I am plan do more rides in hard and recovery and also have weeks there I adapt the training. I sure Dan eat his arm bow now after this video. 🙂 I supose he to pride listen to the young presenters. :))

  12. As an average cyclist I have now changed to doing 3 short higher intensity rides in the week and then just go for “a ride” on the weekend and I’ve become faster on the weekend ride without seemingly trying, still got mates that pad out the mileage for the sake of it, I call it joining the dots😂

  13. I have been doing just that, and it simply just works! With added bonus that you can get all your other things done because you now have more time. Then you end up being thankful about your cycling and you’re fresher mentally as well. It also allows for a variety of family time;-)

  14. you have to have this james guy almost in every video you make? he´s irritating. gcn is is just not what it used to be, only commercial shit, no humour, no entertaining anymore. unsubbed.

  15. 6 hours a week !! 😂😂I average 30 hours every week 😱😱🚴🏽‍♂️ maybe why I’m always fatigued 🤷🏼‍♂️ I need a life! Any single ladies out there wanna move to Hawaii and be my sugar mama 😂😂😘

  16. Yes there is definitely merit to this I took a couple of days off from my fairly intensive training schedule and I felt a lot better after it

  17. The simple fact is it takes a long time to get fast, but not all that long to get endurance. Even the pros only do 30 to 1 hr efforts in their rides, even if it is a 5 hr ride. They just ride zone 2 to lower zone 3 the rest of the ride.

  18. Riding 'less' but with proper, intense efforts, does make all the difference…. Just make time for (proper) rest days in between 🙂

  19. Just realised that I don’t really have a plan! I commute but always add extra miles on. For some reason I decided to set a goal of 10000 miles this year as last year I did 8000 miles. Watching this has made me realise that trying to do this many miles isn’t giving me enough rest. Now I’m stuck. Help!

  20. Great advice guys. I put out a video on my coaching channel about how to get fast on 6 hours a week and you hit pretty much every point!

  21. Hey GCN. I’m 27, a former racer, now married and a dad of 2 boys under 2. Safe to say I don’t have the time to train that I used to have. This strategy sounds great. I absolutely love riding. I commute daily but it gets repetitive and just tires me out and when I am able to get out and go for a bigger saturday morning ride with friends, I find I’m jut not fit enough to enjoy it like I used to.
    Thanks for the help.

  22. I find riding different bikes increases my fitness as well as riding outdoors year round. Depending on the weather and ground, I might ride road one day and MTB the next, or a lighter bike for a week and then go for a spin on an aluminum bike. Improvements in technique, acceleration, out of the saddle strength and mind/body synchronicity are evident. And it’s fun!!

  23. I race 6-7 days a week on zwift and only go 5 hours a week but I’m getting faster because almost every ride is full gas

  24. Nothing worse than smashing yourself the whole time and then due to fatigue only be able to go at 80% instead of 100% so never getting past that plateau you've found yourself on. Then when you hit your race with not enough taper(more is better right?) you feel terrible, have sore leaden legs, and are unable to perform, and generally have a terrible time. Been there, done that.

  25. Sounds common sense to me, but what advice on this subject can you give to those of us who rely on cycling to commute? I cycle 6 miles each way daily, and I have noticed that I have not only plateaued but feel the fatigue at the end of the week.

  26. Similar concept to building muscle. Break down muscles during a hard workout but most of all, you build muscle when you rest so that the torn fibers repair themselves and grow stronger.

  27. tuesday. 4×9 min overunders. thursday 4x6min vo2 saturday 3 1/2 to 5 hrs long n hilly ride. works for me. adaptive after every 3 weeks or when strava fatigue is over 100.

  28. Sheffield useful place to live. Hard rides north, south and west (Derbyshire) recovery rides east (canals, Lincolnshire and east coast which are mainly flat. All lovely areas.

  29. It is amazing how simple improving as a cyclist actually is. Back in the early 1990s I trained three days a week throughout the winter. Two sessions were on the turbo: one short intervals as hard as possible (1 minute on with 30 second recoveries x12 easy spinning for 3 minutes then another 12, building up to 3 sets), the other was 3 times 12 minute reps at threshold. I’d then do a 3 hour endurance ride on Sunday. Hey presto I’d be fitter by the start of the season than I was when I finished the previous one. Plus I worked full time and had an active social life.

  30. So what about the 80% rule? 80% easy, 15% moderate and 5% hard. That's the rule I always learned. You are avoiding the middle ground. Am I missing something?

  31. No matter what I do my heart rate rockets up to 190+ bpm and stays there. That’s my jogging pace! Like, 10 minute per mile jogging pace. For HIIT I indulge in kickbox training, yet fitness seems unattainable. I’m doing like 6 hrs a week, cannot get beyond a “warmup” pace. I’ve been stuck for 10+ years. Help!
    (Even stair climbing, once in awhile I do 70 flights of 24 stairs per, best I can do is about 29:30–at least it’s under 30 min—last time I came away 33 beats in 10 sec—almost entirely at walking pace).

  32. Eddy Merckx may well have said, "ride your bike, ride your bike, ride your bike." But this comment is normally attributed to Fausto Coppi.
    But what would he know……
    Apropos of nothing, my dad was for a time a guard in which Fausto Coppi was accommodated.
    He and other Italian riders would go out training – all day.

  33. You guys must be in love with Calpe since you are always riding in that area 😉.

    I really ❤️ your channel !!

  34. At this spot on the , nanna time line I just want to keep moving it 60 to 80 miles a week because I love the peace of it all.

  35. I have been exercising more now that I have Zwift. Zwift has helped me climb from Racing group M to B group in the last year. With 14 days left until the Cape Town cycle tour I was getting really nervous about the hills being a 95kg, 52 year old. MY hard work has placed me in 1A group for the Cycle tour. Last Sunday I decided I was going to do all 8 of the GCN Hill workouts in order. The toughest so far was last nights Random Sprints. I am hoping by completing these 8 workouts in time for a 4 day recovery before the Tour I will be able to stay with the younger lighter riders in my group and not get dropped. Hold thumbs for me.

  36. I think if riders somehow were able to grasp the idea of how much active
    recovery (45 min of Z1 HR and Power once or twice a week) is a crucial
    part of getting fitter they might even make KOM's on Strava for the best
    recovery artist. Rest truly is the premium time for your body to quite
    literally get stronger. So many of us think that it's when you're out
    there smashing pedals but it's just not how it works. Peaks and valleys.
    Peaks and valleys. Took me years to figure out that if I just take it
    easy more often I can go further and faster.

  37. The other part of this is cross training. You might not have time for a ride, but how about a quick leg workout at the gym, or doing a few squats at your desk right before lunch? I have, also, found that going for hikes with lots of hill climbs helps out quite a bit. We have a hike here in San Diego nicknamed, "The El Cap Hike" (not to be confused with El Capitan in Yosemite). It's 11 miles round trip and 3500ft of climbing. You are either going up or going down; no flat areas. Do this hike once a month and you will find your hill climbing prowess on the bike will improve. One might ask why not go for a ride instead? Goes back to "mixing it up". It's always good to force your muscles to work in slightly different ways from time to time.

  38. Song in the background sounds very DJ Shadow'esque… Im trying really hard to stick to this plan, it's everywhere, Joe Friel and many others talk about this all the time, but it's actually really hard. I like to go fast, going slow isn't as fun, and it's really hard to see the number of miles you rack up drop significantly.

  39. I just realised that I can utilise my commute for a couple of weekday HIIT sessions. Then long club rides at the weekend. Another well made show, GWF;s

  40. There is the unaddressed issue of muscular adaption vs Cardio Vascular improvement. Like all these things it's a bit more complex that that!

  41. Age is a factor in recovery as you age and is often overlooked. It was once said by someone way smarter than me, it takes as much discipline to go easy on an easy day as hard on a hard day. Great video BTW.

  42. My method, get a cheap trainer and follow 45 – 60 mins GCN training videos once a week. In between, do a 2 hrs and 4 hrs road riding during the week.

  43. that is why power bases intervals training is so good for people who have work and family commitments

  44. Yep. Pretty much how I’ve trained for the last 6 months. Hard fast and rest. Then long weekend rides. Each week I feel better but I’ve found the rest days and taking it easy when I’m not 100 soooo important. 👍

  45. I work as a bike messenger and I find it very hard to come up with training plan & be able to stick to it… And I guess my work might be qualifying as "junk miles". Except occasional sprints for the green. I'm still trying though 🙂

  46. Where are all these gorgeous, empty roads? If I pulled up on my bike in the middle of a road in the greater Washington DC area I'd be a sharrow in no time.

  47. I usually take Mondays off or do a light gym session, then do a HIIT session on Tuesday on the trainer, a steady ride on Wednesday either on the trainer or outside depending on the time of year, if I feel up to it and I'm training for something I might do a second HIIT session on Thursday and then a gym session with another tempo ride on Friday. Saturdays and Sundays are reserved for endurance.

  48. Sounds logical and more fun. Does anyone have a training schedule to share that lays out this theory visually?

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