Nine Hours Training in 10Day Cycle - How to do it?

9hrs in my 10day training cycle, similar to 6hr weeks! Due to work, kids, a myriad of other excuses that’s my limit right now. Training for Olympic distances this year as a reasonably seasoned competitor.

My query is how best to structure training, I regularly see mention of 80/20, polarised etc. but do these models only work effectively on high hours of training where there is still plenty of quality work done in the 20%?

I’ve spent the winter “base” phase mostly running slow miles while pushing FTP and big watts on the trainer. Swimming ticking over. For build the rough plan was harder running and swap some hard bike for a long ride.

I’m wondering thougg whether I should have at least some quality work in all my sessions as long as I’m recovering ok as opposed to 80% zone2! Should I focus on more tempo instead of all the aerobic while keeping 20% Threshold or higher.

Input welcome on maximising performance on limited hours. My point of reference for over/undertraining is currently the Form chart on Intervals.ICU set as a “percentage of fitness”



I’m no expert, except that 6 hours per week is pretty much the deal here too. I don’t plan much in advance but like to have a few set fixtures each week. Also I like to do something every single day, and usually before going to bed have a rough idea what the next days session will be.

Ttowel on TriTalk1 was an advocate of intensity in training. I seem to remember him saying something like “if you can’t carve out an hour per day to do something you like, you’re in the wrong life” and “try to do something maximal every session”. Dunno if he still thinks that way because he bu99ered off somewhere else, but he was and still is a fine athlete.

Maybe some people will say that’s a route to injury, but I took it on board years ago & have not found that (although am more careful with the fast running now in the Autumn of Tri life).

Over the year I tend to have phases of focussing on running, phases of focussing on cycling, and- once every 100 years or so- swimming. Driven by what keeps me interested, but I think it probably it also helps balanced performance and avoid injury.

Just some ramblings. Will enjoy watching your training & results if you care to post them :+1:


Trainer roads low volume sweet spot is basically three turbo sessions a week of sweet spot (1,1,1.5 hour) then in phase 2 2 and threshold and the other one is fairly high aerobic (70-75%?) I think.

I think I’d make the bike the majority of my week with three a week and then decide how much swimming you need a week and probably something like

3 bikes as above
2 runs a week 45 minutes each one with some intervals in the other with strides you might have to make one of the cycling days easier to facilitate harder runs
2 swims 45 min a week. Don’t know what here I’m a shit swimmer but as a minimum know what you’re doing in each set. I’d guess both should be structured as one shorter harder intervals and the other some longer but not steady intervals depending on what you’re training for?

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Did he have kids when he said that?

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possibly the discussion was more around work

I think I said before that on the Oz site we were talking about gout much training we do and one IM year mine came out as an average over 10ths for just 7.2hrs. However, that was pure training.
Turns out loads of them were counting time at wall in the pool chatting or even changing time, plus some of the ‘long rides’ included coffee stops!
Nothing wrong with a coffee stop or anything but don’t use it to pad your numbers and then wonder why you went 15hrs plus


When people are talking about having 6 hours a week to train, that normally means carving out those 6 hours from other sucks on your time: work, family, watching tv, etc. So the coffee stops, chatting at the edge of the pool all count towards those hours and really need to be minimised to pack a full 6 hours of training into those 6 hours away from your other responsibilities.

6 hours a week training could be 8 x 45min sessions, maybe 3 runs, 3 bikes, 2 swims? Maybe one of them could a brick session? Maybe one of the runs and one of the bikes could be faster paced or intervals each week approximating to an 80/20 training load?

Good luck with the Olympic distance training and racing this season.


In the 80/20 model tempo counts towards the 20%, so you’ll soon reach 20% doing tempo work.
Your looking at about an hour a day which should be enough for most people. The 80/20 rule applies to individual sessions so an hours run can be split 48 minutes and 12 minutes remembering that your high intensity 20% is based on pace (run) or power (bike) and not HR.
I follow it, but only use it as a general guide. My last run was 12km as 2km easy then 3x 2km tempo with 1km easy in between then 2km easy to finish. That’s not 80/20 but I also do an hour MAF run per week which all counts towards your 80%.


Assumptions; you have no strengths or weaknesses, you mean 6 sessions a week.

M Swim Sprint Intervals alternate weekly with Endurance Intervals 45min
T Bike Vo2 intervals alternate with Sprint Intervals 1hr
W Run Easy 1hr
T Swim Vo2 Intervals 45min
F Run Tempo alternate with Speed Intervals 1hr
S Bike Endurance 1.5hrs
S Try to move; go for a walk, gardening, DIY, strength when you wake up etc


For me that’s maybe a bit too run light. I’d be wanting at least 4, maybe 5 thirty minute runs in there.

Also ideally 4 or 5 thirty minute bikes (Zwift)

That leaves 1-2 hours to practice the dark art of swimming, and/or to extend 1 of the runs or rides a little

But we’re all different & what works for one person may not work for another I guess

Thanks for the input everyone, for starters my training time is “training time” no coffee or showers involved!

I train on a 10day cycle in line with my work and I find it allows me to get all the various sessions I want in easier. Let’s say I average 8 sessions, none are S&C (I know I should) and usually 1 is swimming (definitely not enough but very time inefficient training with driving there)

Obviously I should have minimum one more swim but as it is that leaves 7 sessions. In winter months that has been:
3 Bike (1 Threshold based, 1 Vo2/Sprint based, 1 SweetSpot or Endurance time dependent)
4 Runs (1 Long, 1 with Hill Reps, 2 Easy with Strides)

Moving into Spring my plan was:
4 Bike (1 Long Endurance, 1 Sweetspot, 1 Vo2/FTP Mix, 1 Easy)
3 Run (1 Long, 1 Threshold, 1 Vo2)

How does this look?

Also let’s say I average 9hrs in 10days, 20% of which is 1h48m of quality work. This seems very little across the disciplines. As I can’t really add to the total hours at the moment I feel the only way to progress is to cautiously push this up to 30/40%?

Intervals.ICU since start of 2022 I have:
61% Zone 1/2
13% Zone 3
19% Zone 4
5% Zone 5
2% Zone 6


Well as per my assumptions, he means 6 sessions per week as well as 6 hours.

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It’s hard to say, especially on a 10 day cycle, but my suggestion is based on one hard run and one hard bike per week. I don’t think you need to ease up on swimming, so two quality sessions there. Yours could be 6 hard days in 10, depending on how you do them, how much time.

I’m not really bothered by TiZ.

Sure @joex, but another way of structuring it might be more like 10 sessions per week?

Eg 1 after work on 4 work days per week, and 2 per day on 3 non-work days per week (if someone is so lucky). 8 of those sessions at 30 mins & 2 at 60 mins, makes 6 hours. That’s probably closer to what I’d settle on if trying to optimise things, but then have basically got a very short attention span and prefer sprint races :grinning:

Horses for courses I guess :man_shrugging: Kristian Blumenthal hasnt come round asking for coaching advice yet though, so don’t read too much into this obv :grinning:

Edit: good point about the 10 day cycle, that probably makes this weirder to implement


Some thoughts.

First, this is supposed to be fun, what do you enjoy doing? Short, hard sessions, longer tempo, steady endurance? Bike sessions, trail runs, OW swimming?

Second, what are you trying to achieve and what are your (perceived) weaknesses? You can emphasise running or biking for a 4 week block, then switch it up to keep things fresh.

You say you can do 8 sessions over a 10 day cycle, as others have said can you do double days or bricks on any of the days to increase the number of sessions if not overall time? Are all sessions the same time or are there longer and shorter days?

If you are concentrating on Olympic Distance, you don’t need to go over 2 hours for a long bike session or over 1 hour for a run. A BRBR brick would be a good session nearer race day. And at some point you are going to have to swim more! Can you get in OW over the summer? Swim followed by bike or run, all done in 2 hours.

That’s what I would do anyway.


Some food for thought thanks @buzz

I enjoy the mix to be honest so I try to incorporate some degree of everything into the mix without overdoing it! A long slow run with a podcast to nailing Vo2 reps or a savage turbo trainer workout!

I’m competitive in the sense I want to race as strongly as possible given the hours available so I want to train efficiently as well as enjoy it.

Bike/Run are quite equal with Swim unsurprisingly lagging behind, perhaps 2022 is the year to throw a duathlon in the mix. I do want to do more open water stuff though, to get more comfortable with it if nothing else.

Double days are nearly impossible around shifts and kids and most workouts are an hr, I can manage a couple of longer sessions though which are long ride / brick depending on season.