Training volumes for different events, classifications, etc.


New Member
Jan 30, 2004
I have a question that may be too general to give anything but a vague answer to but I'm hoping someone will have some input. Basically it involves training volume on either a weekly or even daily basis.

For clarification, I'm actually asking this within the context of using cycling as an off-season/cross-training modality for in-line speed skating racing.

Basicaly it revolves around how much training is necessary or required for different lengths of events in terms of optimizing different physiological characteristics.

That is, obviously someone training to compete in a multi-day stage race is going to need to spend hours in the saddle. For example, I've heard that someone like Lance may be spending 5-7 hours per day in the saddle during base work. Obviously, someone training to compete in a shorter, single day even wouldn't need that much base work?

or would they?

I guess I'm looking for some base guideline in terms of how much training per week would be necessary as it relates to the length of the competition event.

As well, I'm also thinking in terms of the differentiation between
aerobic endurance: ability to maintain aerobic levels for extended periods
aerobic capacity: VO2 max

It seems like many training sources (books, etc) tend to conflate those two characteristics. Or give completey useless recommendations such as "The volme of your base training depends on the length of your event and your level of trainnig" without giving any sort of guidelines.

You'll read about spending hours (I've seen 2-8) in the saddle at fairly low intensities (say 140-150 heart rate) to build aerobic endurance but shorter periods (say an hour) at higher intensities (maybe 160-170) for aerobic capacity. Or use VO2 max intervals (repeats of 3-5 minutes with an equal break).

I know that both types of training develop the physiological characteristics that go into all of this but I constantly argue with myself (considering that the event I'm targeting, the 10k, is over in about 16-20 minutes) with how much training and at what intensity I should be doing.

I mean, I understand that 2 hours at a low intensity in the saddle may help develop physiological characteristics beneficial to competition (capillary density, blood volume, mitochondrial density/number) but some sources seem to feel that shorter periods at higher intensities accomplish the same thing. So I can't decide if I should just punt the very high volume/low intensity stuff (which seems terribly non-specific to my event, which is far closer to a time trial/all out sprint) or just focus on shorter aerobic capacity workouts.

As another annoying question, how might this vary for different classifications of athletes (i.e. in terms of training age or even ability level)? I mean, many sources will list hours/year for different training ages but this seems to stem from the old days when the focus was on volume, volume and more volume. Sure, it seems pretty evident that a beginner wouldn't need as much distance/time to get effects but does anybody have any rule of thumb guidelines for how much to increase?

Finally (whew), any ideas on ways of monitoring training progress. I mean, outside of simply testing every 3rd to 4th week. I mean, I get to week 4, do a recovery week and retest. If I ahven't improved in any objective measure, how do I know whether I'm training too ahrd, too easy, too much, not enough? This is the kind of stuff that doesn't seem to get adressed well.

Thanks for any input anyone can give,