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  1. #1
    dmo
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    How to train for long events with limited time

    Ive been racing xc for the past 2 years. I started at cat 3 then moved to cat 2 for the past 2.5 years. The races i do are usually 1.5 to 2 hours in length. I usually finish in the middle of the back half of racers....sometimes faster, sometimes slower. Anyway, id like to train for longer races, 3-4+ hours and maybe try a stage race. Right now im able to ride 6-8 hours a week. Doing any more is really tough. Between work and famliy its hard to find time. I have 2 young kids and a wife that wants to see me too so its hard to go and ride 3-4 hours, especially if i have a 30min drive to a trail center.

    Any tips on how to train for endurance events and manage the challenges of work and family?

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  2. #2
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    Google Time crunched cyclist and sweet spot training. I do most of my training on my spin bike. The only "training" I do on the trail is just saddle time. Sometimes, I'll put on a movie and do 2+ hour base mile spins in my house. Not for everyone but it is for me. Getting to and from the trail, loading and unloaded takes too much time or quite frankly, it's just at pain and don't want to mess with it during the week after a long day at work. Not to mention lack of daylight in the winter.
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  3. #3
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    A couple things I've found that help me that are pretty easy to accomplish:

    - Commuting to work. Not possible for everyone but I find it really helps with my base miles.
    - Ride at night. My wife and daughter go to bed around 9 every night (wife goes into work super early). I strap my light on and go get a 2-ish hour ride in about 3x a week.
    - Find a time that works for your wife and agree that one day a week at X time you would like to do a long training ride. I usually wake up real early on Sat or Sun and do a 4+ hour ride.
    - Never underestimate your diet in the couple months leading up to a race. I've found this makes a huge difference for me. If I have been eating clean and limiting beer intake I can push myself harder and suffer through more.

  4. #4
    dmo
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleSpeedSteven View Post
    A couple things I've found that help me that are pretty easy to accomplish:

    - Commuting to work. Not possible for everyone but I find it really helps with my base miles.
    - Ride at night. My wife and daughter go to bed around 9 every night (wife goes into work super early). I strap my light on and go get a 2-ish hour ride in about 3x a week.
    - Find a time that works for your wife and agree that one day a week at X time you would like to do a long training ride. I usually wake up real early on Sat or Sun and do a 4+ hour ride.
    - Never underestimate your diet in the couple months leading up to a race. I've found this makes a huge difference for me. If I have been eating clean and limiting beer intake I can push myself harder and suffer through more.
    I cant bike my commute...too long
    Riding at night is tough...especially alone and in the cold winter
    I have one day a week i can get along ride in. I find the more i ride the more sleep i need too.
    I agree on the eating part too. With more training i end up more hungry and want to eat more though.

    Thanks for the advice

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    Get TrainerRoad, it works really well for what you need.

  6. #6
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    You don't need to ride for 3-4 hours, you need to turn your 2hr rides into training rides. That means intervals, 80% to max effort rides, some way to push yourself, which by the way is not as easy as it sounds. That's where the real trick is.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmo View Post
    I cant bike my commute...too long
    Riding at night is tough...especially alone and in the cold winter
    I have one day a week i can get along ride in. I find the more i ride the more sleep i need too.
    I agree on the eating part too. With more training i end up more hungry and want to eat more though.

    Thanks for the advice

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    Could you drive in part way, park and then ride in the rest of the way?
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    Remember, there's always quilting and knitting if pedalling becomes too tough.

  8. #8
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    Tabata intervals.
    "These things are very fancy commuter bikes or really bad dirt bikes, but they are not mountain bikes." - J. Mac

  9. #9
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    OP, your life situation sounds very familiar. I have 2 kids under 4yrs old and a wife that still likes to see me. I work full time, though I have the luxury of being able to work from home a lot. Anyway, what has worked for me is to do shorter rides during the week. I usually do my rides during lunch. Start work a half hour early and I can take 90min for lunch. Mid-week workouts are interval based. For example this week is over/unders, steady state, then an endurance miles ride. A rest day, then speed intervals the day before a 6hr race. This is the 3rd week in my block and SM100 is my target race, not the 6hr this weekend. Long rides are on the weekend, and usually start early and on the road. In fact, most of my training rides are on the road now since that saves 1hr for each workout. If I had an extra hour each day to train, then I'd get more value out of using that time for riding rather than driving to the trails anyhow. While I'd prefer more time riding the trails, I've found that this compromise balances time with family better.

    I also commute to work occasionally (only works on days where I'm not doing intervals though. Ripping through a busy Boston suburb doing a power repeat on a bike is a great way to end a race season.) and get a 27 mile ride in each way. My commute is right around 1.25hrs by car, so 1.5hrs by bike doesn't have a big impact on my life schedule while still giving me an option to boost my weekly mileage.

  10. #10
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    not to sound too snarky but you can do it if you want to and you don't "need" to ride for 15-20hrs/week to be competitive. Keep in mind what your limiters are (time) and adjust your expectations for those - podium vs. mid/front of pack.

    Granted i'm reading between the lines from your initial post and then your other response but it seems like you're already defeated "I can't..." and "It's Hard..." Again, keep in mind that this tone may not have been your intent but it's how I'm reading it.

    If you want it, get up early and bust out those sweetspot rides in the morning before work or on your commute into work. Get some panniers (or a cargo bike) and do your grocery shopping on the bike. Bring your wife/kids a pastry from the local bakery after your long ride early Saturday/Sunday and they'll eventually look forward to you going on these rides. Bring them along in a trailer and get some hill repeats in.

    Kids are tough (we have two but they're both adult-ish now - and two grandkids) but both you and your wife need time away for your own sanity.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Disney's Frozen Head View Post
    not to sound too snarky but you can do it if you want to and you don't "need" to ride for 15-20hrs/week to be competitive. Keep in mind what your limiters are (time) and adjust your expectations for those - podium vs. mid/front of pack.

    Granted i'm reading between the lines from your initial post and then your other response but it seems like you're already defeated "I can't..." and "It's Hard..." Again, keep in mind that this tone may not have been your intent but it's how I'm reading it.

    If you want it, get up early and bust out those sweetspot rides in the morning before work or on your commute into work. Get some panniers (or a cargo bike) and do your grocery shopping on the bike. Bring your wife/kids a pastry from the local bakery after your long ride early Saturday/Sunday and they'll eventually look forward to you going on these rides. Bring them along in a trailer and get some hill repeats in.

    Kids are tough (we have two but they're both adult-ish now - and two grandkids) but both you and your wife need time away for your own sanity.
    I didn't want to be the one to point this stuff out... why come ask for opinions on how to eek out more training and then respond to every response with "I can't do that". I get a lot of my training in at night, riding by myself with a helmet light. It sucks and it's hard to get motivated, but I do it because it's necessary.

    I feel like a lot of people these days want to do something cool and interesting, but they don't want to put in the effort.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmo View Post
    Ive been racing xc for the past 2 years. I started at cat 3 then moved to cat 2 for the past 2.5 years. The races i do are usually 1.5 to 2 hours in length. I usually finish in the middle of the back half of racers....sometimes faster, sometimes slower. Anyway, id like to train for longer races, 3-4+ hours and maybe try a stage race. Right now im able to ride 6-8 hours a week. Doing any more is really tough. Between work and famliy its hard to find time. I have 2 young kids and a wife that wants to see me too so its hard to go and ride 3-4 hours, especially if i have a 30min drive to a trail center.

    Any tips on how to train for endurance events and manage the challenges of work and family?

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    you are going to have to get some rides at last 75% of the race distance you plan to do. Not every ride, but at least some to give you an idea how your body will react and how to manage that. If not you will hit a wall and it will hurt. Fueling and pacing are important. Racing 1 to 2 hrs can be full gas pretty much all the way, but most guys can't do that for 3-6 hrs. So you need to get that in just set some baselines. Most of your rides can be shorter and you will still do ok.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  13. #13
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    Hey DMO!

    The issue you're experiencing is one that most of us non-professional athletes encounter at one time or another. When I was racing UCI Juniors XC I was training 15-20 hours per week. But then, I started working full-time and started College all at once and all that time for training faded away.

    Luckily, I started working at TrainerRoad and had the opportunity to switch to highly structured indoor training plans that allow for a much more efficient use of time. Despite cutting my hours down to 6-8, I found that I was still getting faster. Don't get me wrong, the workouts are tough, but it is still possible to get faster on a low volume plan.

    We have Low and Mid Volume versions of all of our plans, including those designed for endurance events. If you are looking to improve your endurance, a great Progression would be:

    Sweet Spot Base -> Sustained Power Build -> Marathon XC

    This progression takes 28 weeks, and should fully prepare you for any Marathon XC race that you tackle

    Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

    Bryce Lewis
    TrainerRoad Community Manager
    Get Faster with TrainerRoad

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Disney's Frozen Head View Post
    not to sound too snarky but you can do it if you want to and you don't "need" to ride for 15-20hrs/week to be competitive. Keep in mind what your limiters are (time) and adjust your expectations for those - podium vs. mid/front of pack.

    Granted i'm reading between the lines from your initial post and then your other response but it seems like you're already defeated "I can't..." and "It's Hard..." Again, keep in mind that this tone may not have been your intent but it's how I'm reading it.

    If you want it, get up early and bust out those sweetspot rides in the morning before work or on your commute into work. Get some panniers (or a cargo bike) and do your grocery shopping on the bike. Bring your wife/kids a pastry from the local bakery after your long ride early Saturday/Sunday and they'll eventually look forward to you going on these rides. Bring them along in a trailer and get some hill repeats in.

    Kids are tough (we have two but they're both adult-ish now - and two grandkids) but both you and your wife need time away for your own sanity.

    So I didnít get any of the woa is me attitude from the OP. I work in a profession where communication is everything. Body language and tone are 90% of the communication
    You get none of that from reading a text on a screen.

    Back on topic. I can sympathize with trying to find saddle time. Itís tough when you are a family man. I do CrossFit for times a week and eek out a ride when I can.

    It worked for my doing Rim to Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon 50 miler. Not the same as a bike race. But my longest training run was 17 miles. I was amazed at the endurance high intensity training gave me.

  15. #15
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    Good adivce in thread for me I just tend to do a couple key things:

    - Can't commute to work but I do "commute" other places, kids sports games, birthday parties, meeting family for a friend or family party etc. basically find the wasted hours and ride somehow. Get over the I might show up hot seaty and get questions from people feeling

    - Get a high quality trainer sneak in hours where you can, i havent tried trainer road but know other have had great success lot of options out there for reasonable $s

    - Stretch some of your rides just a little longer, for instance if you are doing 3 1 hour rides and can get those to avg 90 minutes each it is just an extra 30 minutes wife kids may not notice but your fitness will

    - make sure your wife know 3 out of 4 weeks that one key longer ride is key for you. Try to work in that if you miss too many of your longer rides it hurts your ability and limits effectiveness. Seriously getting 3 hour ride in with some intensity one day a week 3 of 4 weeks will get you to ability to race 4+ hours

    - Back to back rides, sometimes trading days so you get some consecutiv days works well to build fitness as well, always try to follow up.

    - For the stage race thing really depneds o nthe stage race, for that I would pick a week scheduel well up front and just try to do 4-6 days straight with 60% of realtive effort you think you will need for stage race. Doesnt have to be exact same but for instance if live falt area but know will be climbing a lot during stage race do low cadence MTI (muscle tension Intervals) or something that is close. Also learn recovery and look into supplements.
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  16. #16
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    In a similar boat with family and work, but I am lucky enough to have hills and trails at my doorstep.
    Still I second the Trainerroad (or similar) approach. Get a dumb trainer for $200 and instead of the nightrides hit the indoor trainer. It will get you fit.

    I have a 6h/week goal also and in winter hardly get there. But still I did several long XC marathons with 5-7 hours in length this summer. Pacing and nutrition are more of a limiter than fitness, because I donít have the time to train these 6h rides. So after 4h I sometimes fade, because I overreach early in the races :-)


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