Build Endurance Fast! Your 10-Day Super Plan
High-volume training leads to deep aerobic fitness that can support a lot of high-intensity interval work, but only the fortunate few have the time for it. One long ride per week is good, but the cumulative impact of back-to-back days of big rides provides a bigger overload and — with adequate recovery — a bigger boost to your fitness. In other words, if you put in 10 days of focused effort, you’ll jump your fitness forward at least four weeks. You can do a cracking endurance block from home. Think of it as a training camp run right from your house.
The typical cyclist can carve out only seven to 10 hours of riding time per week. The trick is to find an extra five to 10 hours in a 10-day period. Before you dismiss the idea, remember that this isn’t a permanent change. It’s a one-time thing that you can pull off by taking no more than three personal days from work.
It’s important that your family buys into this programme. You’ll be riding for a lot of hours, and when you’re not riding you’re going to be eating, relaxing or sleeping. These aren’t the weekends to go furniture shopping or paint the fence. I’ve found that this programme has been well received within families: The cyclist gets to focus on training for a short period of time, but without spending much money, leaving home or taking a lot of vacation days.
As for executing the plan, I recommend working a half day on the first Friday to minimise impact on family time. During the week, while you’re stretching your weekday rides by as much as an hour, you can find the time by going to the office an hour later or leaving an hour earlier. (It might be an idea to get the buy-in from your boss, if you don’t have the luxury of flexi-time.)
For the second weekend, I encourage you to take both Friday and Monday off from work. This is the big push—16 to 18 hours of riding in four days. Don’t worry about overtraining; these are moderate-intensity rides and you’ll get plenty of rest the next week.
One more thing: You’re going to be tired. This is more riding than you’re used to, but you’ll be able to handle it if you pay attention to nutrition and recovery between rides. The week after your endurance block, you’ll gradually feel less fatigued and start to notice that your cruising pace or power output is higher and easier to maintain. As you resume interval workouts, you should see an increase in maximum sustainable power, and you’ll almost certainly recover more quickly between intervals.
TUES: 60-90 min. w/ intervals
WED: 60 min. endurance
FRI: 150-180 min. endurance / Work half day
SAT: 180-240 min. endurance
SUN: 180-240 min. endurance
MON: 60 min. recovery
TUE: 120 min. endurance w/ 30-45 min. tempo
WED: 120-180 min. endurance w/ 30-45 min. tempo / Work half day of possible
THURS: 60 min. recovery
FRI: 240 min. endurance / Personal day or half day
SAT: 240-300 min. endurance (may include group ride)
SUN: 240-300 min. endurance w/ 45-60 min. tempo
MON: 240 min. / Personal day
THURS: 60 min. endurance
FRI: 60 min. endurance
SAT: 120-180 min. endurance
SUN: 120-180 min. endurance[/box]
Plan assumes a typical training week of 7-10 hours w/ 2 or 3 interval sessions and 1 or 2 days off per week; after week 3 of this plan, resume normal training.
Endurance = 60-88% of your time-trial heart rate; 45-73% of time-trial power; Tempo = 88-90% of your time-trial heart rate; 81-85% of time-trial power.
Chris Carmichael is is the founder and CEO of Carmichael Training Systems.