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Planning A Weekly Training Schedule

Putting together a weekly training schedule can be a tough one for people, but it’s important to get an actual schedule and stick to it from week to week. I’ve experimented with training schedules that were independent from a standard 7 day week, but it can get cumbersome and hard to manage. I’ve done it for both myself and for clients at the gym that might have had a non traditional work schedule. There are some obvious benefits to it in relation to rotating easy and hard training days on the bike, but I find it easy to know what to expect each day of the week and get into a routine.

Whenever I’ve gotten behind on training or fallen off the wagon, per se, is when I’ve tried to just fit the training in randomly when I could vs being deliberate about it. This past summer and year as a whole was a perfect example of that. By June I was swamped and didn’t take the time to deliberately plan out the week. In the end, I missed a lot of training that quite honestly, I could have gotten in if I were to have stuck to a standard training schedule and routine vs being reactive. Those Thursday night commutes home that sometimes turned into 10:00 or 11:00 at night rides, just didn’t turn into the training rides that were really needed. Some of those late rides were quite enjoyable though.

I love using Training Peaks to go back in time and look at my training. I started on Strava like many and still use Strava, but it doesn’t have the tools that Training Peaks has. I always like trying new things, whether that’s new workouts or training schedules. But… I always like to go back and see what has worked and I did a deep dive into that recently as I was starting to plan my year and figure out what I wanted to do. I thought it was a good time to write something up and share my thoughts on training schedules as I put my own together.

Hint… I’m getting back on the training wagon and plan to be more active with Endurance Path as well. Anyway… I wrote up a quick little blurb about each day of the week and what I like to do for training on those days. As always, hit me up if you have any questions on what I share. I share it because I like doing this and there always seems to be somebody who finds it helpful and appreciates it. That alone, makes it worth my time to share.

Weekly Training Schedule

Monday

I always liked Mondays to be the off day or reset day. It doesn’t really mean off day completely, but it’s the day I take off of the bike. I’ll do my strength work on Monday, which is usually a pretty short workout, especially when I’m just doing strength maintenance and core work. It’s pretty much a rest day, so I’m ready to dive into Tuesday’s workout, which is the kickoff bike workout of the week.

Tuesday

Tuesday is usually my most intense day of the week. Not necessarily the highest TSS day, but the day that I will likely hit the highest power #s. It’s my super short efforts at the highest intensities, assuming I’m past any max strength work in the gym as I would not stack those as back to back days. During a period where I’m getting back into a routine or very early base when I’m doing max strength work on Monday, Tuesday does end up being a lighter recovery spin day with a few light spin ups thrown in.

Wednesday

Wednesday is a recovery day or lighter endurance workout. I’ve gotten carried away with these in the past and was trying to squeeze in a longer endurance workouts and could get myself burried as they would turn into longer Tempo workouts. I learned to keep this lighter to spin the legs out from the previous day and be ready to go for a hard workout again on Thursday.

Thursday

Thursday is another structured workout day. The intervals get longer. When I’m doing base work… My Thursday workout seems to stay fairly consistant throughout base training and build periods. It’s where I start throwing in Tempo intervals early on, that migrate to Sweet Spot work and then onto Threshold work that I carry right through a build period. I really like my Thursday workouts. It’s my most consistent workout day that I am able to go back through time and easily compare data to see where I stand today vs earlier in the year or previous years as the workouts are simple and consistent.

This is a different topic all together, but there is a lot of effort put into making workouts more entertaining and therefore making them more complicated. There are obvious other reasons as well, especially as you get closer to your main event and need to build some specificity, but I think that’s what Saturdays are for. I think this makes it harder to compare the data over time to make adjustments and I just don’t think it needs to be complicated to begin with. I say this from the standpoint of an everyday working athlete, who likely has somewhere between 6 to 10 hours a week to train and likely has not reached their max potential with the basics.

Friday

Friday is an off day again or at least off from the bike. I may do some stretching, core work or a little bit of yoga, but in general… It’s a pretty light day. If I do get on the bike, it’s very lite work where I might be going through a routine warm up or something if I’m planning for a big breakthrough ride the next day. During the summer months, this usually means checking over my bike and making sure it’s ready for a ride on Saturday.

Saturday

Saturday is another great workout day. Saturday is the payoff day for putting in your structured workouts on Tuesday and Thursday. It’s the reward day! If trails are open and you’re training for a mountain bike race, then you hit the trails. If you’re into road riding, then you hit the roads Saturday is the day I use to build specificity toward my next target event in both duration, intensity and terrain.

A couple caviats to all that… If it’s winter or I’m indoors for some reason, then this is another structured workout and modeled a bit after Thursdays workout, but with less intensity and longer intervals. If it’s just simply way early in the training season, then it might just be a long ride.

Sunday

Sunday can go a lot of directions… It could be anything from a complete off day up to another long easy ride and anywhere in between. It really depends on how the week has stacked up on me and whether or not I’m 1 week into a training block or 3 weeks into a training block, how my training stress is stacking up or how deep of a whole I’m digging with my form. Sunday seems like the opportune day to bury yourself if you’re not careful. If you want to ride on Sunday, then you really have to manage the Saturday ride so you don’t stack yourself up and dig a hole that you can’t come out of by Tuesday. I’ve learned to be ready to call an audible on Sunday, if needed. When I hit Sunday, I’ve learned to think about making sure I’m ready to put in a solid workout again on Tuesday.

Final Thoughts

Screenshot right out of my Training Peaks calendar for next week

This is likely another topic, but one thing I like about consistent and simple intervals is that it’s easy to compare against previous workouts and have some confidence about where you stand at the last one. Meaning, I’ve planned 4 Sweet Spot Intervals at 12 minutes long for Thursday… But, I’ll easily be able to call an audible during the workout and decide if I should add a 5th or even need to pull the plug after the 3rd.

I can tend to overanalyze things and even find myself with a bit of paralysis of analysis at times… Likely comes from my engineering background… But at the end of the day, I do believe things should be kept simple and easy to follow for 90% of us. That screenshot above adds up to 8 hours exactly on the bike for the week, which is really quite manageable. I’ll be hitting these workouts in the morning, but you could easily knock those out after work as well.

Wow… It was nice to sit down and do some writing again and nice to get back on my Endurance Path! I hadn’t been labeling my Strava rides as I use Training Peaks for most things, but I started labeling the Strava rides last week for reference and will keep that up going forward. You can follow along on Strava here: https://www.strava.com/athletes/2022281

-Steve

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