Don’t have enough time to train? The reality is most people are in the same situation, or at least think they are. 90% of the cyclists I work with train for between 5 and 8 hours per week, very few do more than that. The reality is that unless you’re aiming to turn pro, you just don’t need a huge amount of time to train.

The relationship between training time and performance improvement is not linear, in other words, 8 hours training per week will not bring you double the performance gains of 4 hours per week.  If we were to plot a graph of training time vs performance gains it would show rapid improvement between 0 hours per week and 8 hours per week, but then the rate of improvement would gradually decrease.

Of course, it’s not just about time. To be effective, training must be suitable for you, being appropriate for your current fitness, and specifically developing your ability to cope with the demands of your chosen event. For the purpose of this post let’s assume you have got the type and distribution of training spot on. If you’re training effectively (for you) then you can almost certainly reach 90% of your athletic potential on 8 hours of training per week. To make that extra 10% might take 16-20 hours per week but for all but full-time athletes and the odd exception, this is just never going to be realistic.

But it doesn’t matter that 16-20 hours is not realistic, riding at 90% of your potential will be more than enough for most people to achieve their goals, providing those goals are realistic. Whether you want to compete at Age Group National Level or just beat your mates in the sign sprint on the club run, 90% of your athletic potential will be more than enough to get you there.

The image below is an illustration only and is based on the assumption that training is suitable for the individual and their event.

Start by setting clear goals, ensure you are completing the right training for you and your event, build consistency, be patient, and over time you will get where you want to be. You can do this without having to find a huge amount of extra time you just don’t have. Even 4 hours of quality training per week is going to have a significant impact, and doing something is most certainly better than doing nothing!

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Dan Small, Mountain Goat Coaching.

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