Distance and terrain
Getting the balance right in terms of volume and intensity is subject to a number of factors including your main goals as a rider, strength or weakness, your training environment and time available. On top of this comes experience; knowing how your body feels and reacts to certain loads is fundamental in really getting the most out of your training time and overall sporting performance. It’s important to listen to what your body and mind are telling you on a daily basis with the flexibility to adapt your schedule around this.
Often the winter months, out of the main season, are the best time to work on your endurance capacity with longer rides geared towards building a solid base fitness from which to work from as you come into the season. Tracking your training in hours as the main measure as opposed to miles is another point of consideration.
Naturally if you live in a flatter part of the country you may get in more miles, as you’ll have a faster average speed, than when on hillier terrain. Likewise a nagging headwind can easily scrub your speed compared to a still day. Time never lies, therefore if you’re expecting to take 6 hours to complete your main ride with 2,000 metres of elevation then keep this in mind and aim to mix your longer rides and hillier routes accordingly to bring your endurance and climbing efficiency to a level that builds towards this.