Low volume training—can it work?

choosing-a-plan

#1

So here’s the deal. I just added another child to family (she’s 4 months) and already have a 6 and 4 year old. Life just got exponentially more tricky in terms of being able to fit in exercise.

Last year when I was training (Dec-Mar) I would do M/W/F mornings (on bike by 5:30 or 6 am) and then work a weekend ride in when possible. I was able to do this because both of my “older” children would sleep in till 7 which gave me enough time to sneak out and ride while everyone was still stleeping.

Training in the evening wasn’t possible. Things are different this season as one of my kids has decided that he no longer wants to sleep in…making it impossible for me to get on the bike while the family sleeps. It wouldn’t be fair of me to ask my wife to wake up early so I’m kind of in a bit of a pickle here.

Starting Jan 1 I’m going to work back into things (currently on an 8 week strength training plan with a couple Z2/Z3 rides per week) in earnest.

My plan is to start with Sweet Spot Base Low Volume I on January 1, take a 7 day rest week, and then do the SSBLVII plan on February 19th followed by a 7 day rest week and then General Build Low Volume starting on April 9. This takes me to May 27th—which is the same weekend as an A race. Perfect lead up.

Below is a screenshot of my last 18 months of training/riding/racing.

I have found a lot of improvement over this time and have managed to put together a nice, albeit short, CX season this year. I went from cat 5 to 4 and managed to podium three 3/4 races. TR works. I’m a bit uncertain though as to whether or not I’m going to get stronger this off season given current life situations. Perhaps the off-season strength training will yield a benefit and on-the-bike work will simply hold me at current fitness. Can/should I hope for more?

My question is this. At my current fitness, can I expect ANY gains during this block of training or is there simply not enough TSS to raise my CTL enough?


#2

Sorry can’t see detail of current training as on my phone, however I only use low vol due to similar life situation and have seen gains…however if already been doing well structured training on MID or high volume for a while then unlikely to continue to gain fitness and ftp using low volume. You may carry on gaining but at a slower rate but can certainly maintain current fitness in my view on low volume- especially if focus in races of about a hour or less (e.g. crits, cx, 10m and 25m time trials). Find I struggle on longer stuff with less volume.


#3

I have found doing long rides (3+ hours) more than once per month is the best I can hope for given work, family, etc. As a result, I don’t do much road racing. Right now it’s 1 or 2 early season gravel races (50-75) miles, general riding during the summer (always spirited) and then focus primarily on the CX season.

During the season volume is generally around 7-11 hrs/week with 5-7 of that coming from commuting. I have found this to be enough to build fitness to where I can ride the front in those gravel races and podium in cat 3/4 cx races.


#4

I hope it does. I can’t “commit” to medium or high volume without causing ripples at home and/or having to constantly move things around on the schedule. I am going with low-volume that I know I can keep the schedule and throwing in another ride on the rollers when I can for an easy TSS and to keep me on my track bike.


#5

I’m in the same boat, young kids meaning that low volume plans are my only option. Last winter doing ss base, gen build and TT plan, I raised my ftp nicely and bagged a good few PBs this season just gone.


#6

Only low volume plus odd commute or extra ride (something like petit if time but rare) and seeing gains. However depends on history and current fitness. If done mid/high volume STRUCTURED training for couple of years then hard to see further gains. If not however then no reason can’t improve.


#7

Yes, low volume training can work. If it’s done properly.