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We know that in an ideal world, you could periodize your training, balancing between longer, more endurance-based efforts and hard intervals, sprinkling in strength training and mobility work along the way

Unfortunately, for many time-crunched riders, that’s simply not realistic. Fortunately, you don’t have to hang up your bike just because you only have a couple of hours of training time each week. Here, we’re talking about a few practical tips for the time-crunched cyclist—that won’t be painful to apply to your life. 

Focus on HIIT vs LSD

Long slow distance (LSD) may be the more fun way to ride, but if you’re pressed for time, make sure you’re making the most out of shorter rides by including high intensity interval training (HIIT) instead. Recent research has been promising when comparing recreational riders doing longer, slower rides versus shorter, harder efforts—while both groups made gains, the HIIT group actually had better overall results. 

Prioritize strength

That’s right, we’re telling you to take some of your precious workout time and stay off the bike—hit the gym instead. If you’re truly time-crunched, a 15 minute strength session will offer more benefits than an ultra-short spin possibly could, especially when you factor in getting ready to ride versus tossing on an old pair of shorts to lift some dumbbells in the basement (or even doing a bodyweight-based routine). 

Streamline Your Setup

The next time you’re getting ready to ride, use a stopwatch and see just how long it’s actually taking you to get ready. Often, we lose 10-20 minutes getting ready between finding our shoes, trying to match water bottle tops to bottoms, finding the pump after realizing a tire is low, digging through the laundry for clean shorts, et cetera. Take an afternoon and try to create a ride-ready station that keeps helmet, shoes, tools, bike, and a charging setup for cycling computers and lights all in one spot. Find a place where water bottles can be stored (with their matching lids) right next to your drink mix. And create a kit-only drawer so it’s easy to grab and go. These little pockets of time can add up to more hours on the bike very quickly!

Commute by Bike

You may not be able to ride to work every day, but could you do a hybrid ride/drive (or public transit) commute? Many cyclists will opt to ride in one direction and grab a ride home with a co-worker (or even take an Uber). Some will just commute by bike once or twice a week, or drive to work and ride home, then reverse that for the next day. If that’s not an option, are there any errands you can run via bike? These miles may not be optimal training, but they’re better than nothing! 

Make the Most of Conference Calls

If you’re in a job where conference calls are the norm, try to find a way to move while you listen to your boss. This might mean taking a walk during some work calls, or if you’re not expected to speak or present during the call and you work at home, you might even be able to hop on the stationary bike and do a quick spin. And in some offices, walking desks are becoming more popular. While walking isn’t quite the same as pedaling, a brisk pace will offer plenty of cardiovascular benefits that will translate to the bike.

Add in Movement “Snacks”

Movement expert Katy Bowman recommends that people add regular movement snacks to their day, and for time-crunched riders, these are key to maximizing fitness as much as possible. For you, this could be doing 10 squats every time you get up to walk to the washroom at the office, or even dropping and doing a set of pushups or holding a plank. If you work from home, you can get even goofier and do walking lunges from your desk to the kitchen when you’re refilling your coffee. 

Get Creative with Family Time

If your family isn’t into family bike rides, you may assume that you’re doomed to never get a ride in on the weekends. But plenty of cyclists manage to do their workouts—just in a smaller area. You may be able to loop a playground while your kids playor loop a nearby office park while they’re at an activity like karate. Some parents will jog around the soccer field in order to squeeze in some miles.

winding road

Ultimately, if you’re time-crunched, creativity is key when it comes to getting in workouts. Don’t expect perfection—embrace the messiness of your training and set a goal of simply moving as much as possible, whenever possible. These small wins add up to big results over time. 


Would you like to find out more about what our different destinations can offer? You can book a call with our team now and get some personal advice on the best inGamba adventure for you.

Molly Hurford

Molly is the author of Fuel Your Ride, and a Precision Nutrition-certified coach. Her writing has appeared in many leading publications, including Bicycling Magazine and Outside. When she's not writing or coaching, she loves ultra-running and racing on trails, riding bikes, or hiking with her mini-dachshund DW.