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How To Train When You’re Short On Time | Big Goals, Time Efficient Training

How To Train When You’re Short On Time | Big Goals, Time Efficient Training


– I’m really excited that this year, I get to take part in
the Maratona dles Dolomites. It’s a sportive that I’ve
been wanting to race, oh, I mean, participate in, for years now. It’s in a really beautiful
part of the world, in the Dolomites, and it’s a
really iconic, tough sportive. It’s just a bit of a hitch, and now that I’m presenting at GCN, I don’t have quite so much time to train, because, you know, it takes
up a lot of hours of the day, you know, analysing
wind-tunnel test results, and learning to
mispronounce Spanish names, and checking whether those hacks survival. So, I’m gonna have to learn to train in a more time-efficient way. Now, this is a problem that I know a lot of you contend with. Cycling’s a very time-consuming sport, and if you’re planning to
take part in a long event, like, how on earth do you fit
in all those training hours around your job, your family, I mean, maybe even a social life? Well, the good news is that you can actually structure training to be really time-efficient, and les-timing consuming, and still make real
fitness gains to withstand your good stead if you’re a bit tired. All it takes is a bit of
planning, organisation, and discipline. Yep, self-discipline is
clearly a major factor, because once you’ve planned the training, you still have to actually do it. The good news is that I’m pretty certain that self-discipline is also trainable, which is good news for
those of us, like everyone, who is secretly lazy on the inside. Now, you might be wondering, who the hell am I to
give advice on training around a job and the time constraints? Well, I was extremely fortunate
to be a professional athlete for a few years, when I
could train full-time. But actually, for many years, I combined racing at the
highest level with a job. Although, to be fair, for a
few years I did work part-time, and I could be pretty
flexible with my hours, but I did still have to learn
to juggle work and training and I’ll give you a few
more tips on that later. (laid-back music) First, I need to plan
my Maratona training. And I thought I’d ask
Matt for some advice here. (footsteps echoing) (door closing)
Hi, Matt. So, Matt
– Hey. – Raced very successfully whilst having a full-time job. In fact, he was national
champion of what, like, seven to nine hours of training in a week? – Yeah.
– So, I think, his advice is pretty worth listening to. – Well, Emma, thanks for having me along, but what exactly can I help you with? – Well, I’m planning to
ride the Maratona this year. And you’ve done it yourself, and so you know it’s pretty challenging. And, you know, back in the
day, I do a lot of long rides and races and riding with friends
who are trying to get fit, but I just, I don’t have as much time now. So I was wondering, maybe
you could tell me what, like, really, key sessions I
have to fit into a week. – Well, the key element of riding something like the Maratona, or a sportive of similar
distance and a similar terrain, is endurance, basically,
’cause they’re long events. And also, of course, the very long climbs that you have to tackle in
the Dolomites, for example. – Yeah, and like around
Bath, there are no climbs as long as those Dolomite mountains. So, I mean, I’m gonna be totally rubbish. What can I do? – Well, you can be far
better than totally rubbish. You don’t necessarily need a
climb to improve your climbing. You need to train your FTP, so you need to aim to include between one and two FTP sessions
per week in your training. – [Emma] That sounds a
bit painful, to be honest. – It’s painful, but very, very effective, and it doesn’t take too long at all. A session like three by eight
minutes, 110% of your FTP, does the trick. Or, an hour at sweet spot, which is around 80 to 90% of your FTP, with some acceleration spaced
out throughout the hour. You’re writing all this down, aren’t you?
– Yeah. – [Matt] You just need a
quieter section of road so you avoid stop pedalling by sitting. – [Emma] Yeah, or I
guess an indoor trainer could be pretty helpful
for this kind of session. – [Matt] Oh, definitely. It’s a real controlled environment, and I must admit, I used
a hand trainer at least two or three times a week
when I was training full-time. – [Emma] Wow. I’ve, yes, I’ve seen that somewhere, you’ve got a 20-minute
FTP session up there. – It is.
– Super time-efficient. – It is pretty brutal,
it’s one of our hardest. It’s the 20-minute HIIT session. A couple of those a week will
really see massive benefits. – Yeah, wow, cool. So, that’s pretty good. Is there anything else I
should include in my plan, you think? – You definitely want to
make sure that you include variability in your training plan. It will help keep you fresh, and also help maintain your enthusiasm. So, I recommend some shorter hill reps, so basically, HIIT sessions on climbs. – [Emma] Ouch. – There’s a lot of ouch
– Yeah. – [Matt] But it’s a lot
of bang for your buck. – Yeah, good point. Okay, thanks, Matt. What about strength endurance? So, I’ve got friends who race, and they are mad on
this strength endurance, like it’s over-geared stuff. – Strength endurance is
something that I put in when I’m out on the road, and
also, on the indoor trainer. So basically, we’re in
the sweet spot session. I might throw in five
or six one minute reps, but really over geared
and out of the saddle. Again, it’s essential, like
gym training on a bike. – Cool. So that’s great, I mean, it’s like, between SE and sweet spot and
functional training power and threshold power and endurance, I mean, I’m gonna have sessions every week, great! – [Matt] Now, you shouldn’t be doing a hard session everyday. That’s a real common mistake. You’ll end up very tired, and actually, you’ll lose the efficiency
and the efficacy of your training. Make sure you have a couple of rest days and arguably, more importantly, even a nice café stop with a bit of cake. – (chuckles) That is the
kind of advice that I like. Thanks, Matt.
– Of course. – And any more tips? – A good tip is, first of
all, is to plan your training. So, write it down. That way, you’re far more
likely to stick to it as you’re doing that. But, don’t only write it down. Actually, record your results, and most importantly, how you feel. It gives you a nice
journal to reflect back on, and you can basically see
if you’ve made any mistakes, or weigh if you’ve
particularly done things well. That basically positively
affects the training. – Awesome. Thanks, Matt. That’s brilliant. (laid-back music) – Right. So, to summarise what I should try and fit into a weekly training pattern. An FTP session once or twice per week, high intensity interval
training once a week around FTP training, An endurance ride once or twice a week, and a strength endurance or
core once or twice or week. Oh, and a coffee ride
once a week, at least. (inhales deeply) So, that’s the plan. Now I’ve got to try to implement it, so I’m gonna give you seven of my tips for how to try and stick
to training pattern. (rock music) As Matt said, it really
helps to follow the plan if you’ve written it down. I mean, that’s a method
of feeling accountable, and that’s a way to help
with your self-discipline. But when you’re making the plan, you have to be realistic and honest about what you can fit into the week. I mean, it’s fantastic to be enthusiastic. It’s essential to be motivated, in fact. But if you’re unrealistic and
overambitious in your plan, then there’s a strong chance that you won’t be able to stick it, and you’ll end up feeling
disappointed and guilty. If you overtrain, your work and
your family life will suffer and there’s also a strong chance that you’ll stick to it for one week then not at all, and that is
no help in getting fitter. Consistency is the important thing. One huge session or one huge week does not make you fit. Whereas chipping away week after week is what makes the difference. So, you’re better off erring
on the side of caution when planning your training. (rock music) As I said before, consistency is key, and you can help yourself to be consistent by making your training
part of your weekly routine. And by being smart with use of time. So, if, for example, you
have to commute to work and it’s possible to do it by bike, that’s a great opportunity to
make use of the time to train. A few mid-week sessions. You can extend your ritual
if it’s not long enough. (rock music) An indoor trainer can be hugely helpful in terms of getting training sessions done with minimum fuss, especially
those more intense FTP and high intensity sessions. It doesn’t take long to set up. It doesn’t take long to get dressed. I find that minimum layers are best, because indoor training
is always a sweat-fest. And there’s also no time
wasted on free-wheeling, traffic lights, punches, I mean, not to mention
the fact that the weather is not a factor at all. So, if you have access to
indoor trainer, use it. In fact, I did most of my
intense training for the Taiwan KOM last year, or my
Oahu Kicker, using Zwift. I even quite enjoyed it. That’s the advantage of
smart trainers and Zwift. (rock music) Right. Personally, I like to get
any hard training done first thing in the morning rather than leaving it to the evening, because it sets me up for a good day, although, potentially,
also nodding off at GCN HQ. But,
(yawning) everyone is different, and some people do prefer to train in the evening. I just know that if I’m
tired or something comes up, my training is likely to suffer
or just fall by the wayside. So I’d rather get up a bit
earlier and get it done. (laid-back music) Training with other people also helps because if you’ve arranged
to meet someone for a ride, that’s another form of accountability, not to mention that it’s also
more fun to have company, and I think fun is important because cycling should be fun. (laughs) I mean, if you enjoy your training, you’ll stay enthusiastic and motivated. I know that riding with
people stronger than me is what really helped me
to become a better cyclist, and I made some really
great friends along the way. (laid-back music) Now, to a topic that
I really love, snacks. Planning nutrition and
be smart with meals. Remember that you need
calories both to fuel good-quality training and
to recover afterwards. And you’re better off
getting those calories from a well-balanced
meal or a healthy snack. If you plan ahead and take a healthy lunch or
breakfast into work with you, it can help you to resist the temptation of the relatively unhealthy
or, not to mention, expensive food that is so readily available. Me, I’m very into my snacks, and I often take my breakfast into work to eat straight after training. (laid-back music) You have to plan recovery into your week. Training itself doesn’t
actually make you fitter. It’s the recovery to train
stimulus that makes you stronger. Skip out on the recovery, and
you won’t make improvements. Training hard is already an extra load added into your busy life. And when time is short, I know that I often tend to sacrifice sleep, which is stupid, because
if you don’t recover well, you risk getting over-trained or sick, and neither of those will move
you forward in your goals. So, listen to your body. Make sure to plan in the time to recover. As Matt said, a coffee and
cake ride at least once a week. I hope this helps if you’re
planning to take part in a big event in 2018. I know you’ll get real satisfaction from training efficiently, so feel free to leave your
comments or questions below and give it a thumbs up. Coming up, I’ll show you a
few of those training sessions built into my work commute. It’s the commuter session series. So, watch out for those videos. And in the meantime, check
out this video that Matt made for indoor training sessions. Just 20 minutes long to
train your FTP with surges.

100 comments on “How To Train When You’re Short On Time | Big Goals, Time Efficient Training

  1. Dear Emma, thank you so much for speaking slowlier then in previous videos! This is the first video with you that I was able to understand every your word without subtitles))

  2. I work full time (9-5ish), my wife works permanent nights as a nurse 3x per week and we have two primary school aged children.

    This winter I've managed to squeeze in (mostly) 2-3x 30min-1hr turbo sessions per week, plus commuting to work by bike (18-20mins each way) and an off the bike routine 2-3x per week along with a 60-100km weekend ride 1-2 times a month.

    I keep the schedule fully flexible to work around my wife's shifts and the family etc. but to make it work I pre-planned a number of different turbo sessions, planned out my off bike core and strength session so I could slot them into the available time.

    Up to the end of January I focused on FTP and base building, since then I've added the sprints and strength needed for the road/crit season.

    This weekend's race was cancelled due to the weather so rather than wasting my taper, I'm going to do an FTP test later on.

  3. Thanks Emma. As a swimmer and biker I have fallen into the overtraining cycle wondering why I cannot improve. It was not until I stopped exercising so much and exercised smarter that I improved. My whole life improved when I found better balance. A beat up body creates a beat up mind.

  4. Hi GCN, I'm a student living away from home in London and don't have my bike with me because of not wanting to ride on the busy roads. How do I keep up my fitness without a bike, so that when I'm back in Yorkshire I can still do the same distances, and hills, that I used to do before moving away? Thanks #torqueback

  5. why don´t give SHE complete episodes, im tired of matt and simon taking about ftp when most people does NOT have a powermeter

  6. Her asking Matt questions and taking notes made it look like she wasn’t as qualified to talk about the topic as he was. I’m sure she could have done the whole presentation herself, and I can’t imagine any of the guys taking notes from each other like this. There’s no need to portray the woman as less of an expert than the men!

  7. Great vid! Emma is a great presenter, and on this one, I did not have to set the YouTube speed to .75. I think there is some self-discipline at work, since she admits that she talks too fast.

  8. So , basically you are saying, if someone is short on time , she/he can do 5-7 training sessions per week .
    And what if time is no issue ? I understand those are very strategic planed sessions, but…. is this for (ex)Pro's or ordinary poepple?

  9. I am so pleased that GCN has hired Emma. It is wonderful to see a female perspective in cycling. Two thumbs up! I can't wait for more episodes.

  10. i'm doing a fondo from vancouver to whistler in september (122km) – been spending the winter on zwift so will be spending the summer riding up local mountains to prepare – have been enjoying the gcn videos and hoping all the great advice sinks in

  11. Near goal: some good times in the local climbs. Long goal: Strade Bianchi fondo. My train commute is 45 minutes each way (in Los Angeles of all places!). Twice a week I swap the commute in into a 1.5 hour ride, so it's a 1.5 hour ride with just 45 minutes extra of time. But it's even better since 15 minutes of the train commute is walking from the station, which taking a bike shaves to 5 minutes, so it's about 1.5 hours of riding with ~30 minutes of extra time.

  12. Just got back into cycling last summer after a 15 year hiatus (too many reasons to list). My goal in 2018 is to ride the equivalent of San Francisco to New York (3,000 miles). So far, I’m slightly ahead of the pace needed thanks to Zwift. Big proponent of smarter not harder training. I have seen huge improvements the few months after getting a smart trainer for Christmas and doing Zwift 4 week FTP builder program.

  13. That's all well and good, but what if you don't have the chance to ride/train 6 times a week? What about if you're only able to get in 3 sessions per week. Please help @globalcyclingnetwork @torqueback

  14. Emma, can i ask on the tips u compete with a taller person or does a taller person have better advantage in cycling? Pls make a video

  15. doing a 543 km race in june. Can squeeze in about 10 hour of training pr week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. 2 interval sessions pr week. The rest zone 2. Fitness is coming along nicely. Looking forward to it 🙂

  16. Great Content!! Will increased base-miles help to improve your FTP? According to the 20 min test on the Wattbike do I currently have a FTP of 253. I would like to rise it to 270, but I feel that I have plateaued. Because of my busy job I do a lot of training in-door training, so the only area where I could really improve would be increasing the length of my Sunday rides.

  17. This feels kinda awkward. I know she is new , but they just don’t have the fun and smooth chemistry like the other presenters had before

  18. around bath theres no climbs ! Try the Quantocks, I managed to get in 1500m of climb in a short 60km including a 30% up crowcombe really good fun rubbish road surfaces, and not that far from bath !

  19. Most important rule: Do ride when there‘s time and don‘t waste it on building cardboard shrouds for your bike to “get more aero“.

  20. Great video! I’m also doing la Maratona this year, best get my training in order by the look of it! Would you think 250km and around 4000m a week be sufficient to get myself a good base?

  21. Emma, it s great to see you on GCN, have you ever thought of doing the Fred Whitton Challenge in the Lakes, I think you d like it.

  22. Emma please please do a show about female saddles and other with procyclists about what they do to to avoid saddle sores

  23. Having a woman presenter isn't diverse enough, the new presenter MUST be an islamist, peadophile or child grooming, primitive, third world, shit hole mozlem.
    Please attend to this ASAP.

  24. Great video by Emma – I'll see you at Maratona! 🙂 So if Matt's suggestion consists of 5 to 7 sessions/rides per week, then that's still a lot of training and therefore time (even if the sessions are short). That doesn't sound like there are many recovery days, or have I missed something? I guess the cafe ride is a recovery day in itself, but it's still a pretty full on schedule. How many complete rest days would you recommend a week?

  25. Listen I totally love the channel and all the guy presenters, BUT there is something about Emma's style that convinces me of her advice 100x more than anyone else on the channel. Is this just me?

  26. Good timing :). Just started training for Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle (Ireland) (170km/1,475 m elev) with 2 sessions a week.

  27. End of August. 95 miles each day for two days. Hilly route. I am unfit/overweight. Scared it will be too much.

  28. Thanks for doing this series! I tried it out on yesterday's morning commute? What do you do on ride home?

  29. I normally train 4-5 times of 1-3 hours a week. My body screams for a rest day. when I do 3 days on a row. is this normal?

  30. Ace video Emma, thanks, we’re training for our first Sportif’, only a tiny one by your standards but we are in our 50’s, all this helps, thanks, keep up the good work!, Rob & Nicki, Herefordshire.

  31. Have really enjoyed this series, some good info and advice. Also like at 2.10'ish in this one that although a blooming fantastic rider, Emma's not so good at handling the chair 🙂

  32. Perfect music for your interval training…A minute and forty warm up, then boom!!!!. Get it on repeat and you are sorted…. don't mention it… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLp_Hh6DKWc

  33. Great advice!

    We all know it really! but the self discipline, planning and goals is a choice – just do it.

  34. Morning is so hard for me. Former racer wanting to gain back some fitness here….Morning is really the only time I can get out on the regular but IT'S SO HARD to throw myself on the bike. Nice to hear you say this too. Like Jimmy Morrison said, "No eternal reward will forgive us for wasting the dawn."

  35. I'm pretty sure an "out of shape" Emma will be able to beat all the women in this event with half-assed, half-assed training.

  36. What exactly is FTP training? Googling for it is impossible — it just turns up stuff about File Transfer Protocol. The phrase was used so widely in this video but not once explained.

  37. Wow Emma! If this was exactly what I needed this Evening. I was literally just thinking about trying to go in early for work do you do an indoor training session. I was trying to think about all the things you discussed in your video. Thanks so much for the invite and discussion. Keep up the great work and love for cycling

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