Making The Most Of One Hour

  • By Samantha McGlone
  • Published Jun 27, 2013
  • Updated Jul 24, 2013 at 12:24 PM UTC
Photo: Nils Nilsen

I only have an hour each morning to train. How can I make the most of each workout?

Pros have all the time in the world to train—that’s our job. But life still seems to get in the way and we all end up with a limited amount of time to sneak in a training session. I have compiled a few workouts over the years that I know I can get done under almost any circumstances. I have trained in an airport hotel gym on a two-hour layover, squeezed in a workout during the last 30 minutes of lap swim, hammered out a track session in the dark and even managed a little jog at a highway road stop on a cross-country adventure. Mini workouts (anything less than 45 minutes) can be fitted into even the busiest days. The key is to make up in quality what you are lacking in quantity. I personally know athletes who have done sub-nine-hour Ironmans on less than 12 hours per week of training, so it can definitely be done. Here are some favorite “quick and dirty” workouts that will give you the most bang for your buck.


The most efficient way to get a quality workout in a short time on the bike is on the indoor trainer. Most coaches agree that a solid hour on the trainer is worth 1.5–2 hours on the road due to the constant resistance and lack of stoplights, descents and coasting.

Trainer set: 10-minute spin warm-up, increasing resistance every 2 minutes. 15×1-minute big-gear hard effort with 30-second spin between, straight into 10 minutes steady state (Zone 3-4 or 40K race pace) then 5-minute easy spin cool-down.

If you have quick access to a short hill you can get a complete workout while only venturing a few miles, if that, from home.

Hills: 10–15 minutes easy spin warm-up, increasing effort every 3 minutes. 5×3 minutes (max effort) 4–6% grade with 2-minute spin down between, then 10-minute easy spin cool-down.

RELATED – One-Hour Triathlon Base Workout: Cycling

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