|Can't eliminate 'em, but maybe I can reduce their number...|
A simpler way of looking at it is that i'm aiming to remove one excuse that is often used for not doing endurance and ultra-endurance activities. Its clear to me that at least 90% of what it takes to complete these sort of big efforts is mental, not physical to begin with - and my training does not really address this mental side - but neither do most (or all?) of the more 'conventional', high volume programs. But if you've got the mental will, are comfortable with suffering, and have confidence in your abilities, then i'm convinced that the amount of time available to train should simply not be a factor in whether or not you're able to do big things. Granted, i'd theoretically be able to do everything faster if i had 4, 6, or even more hours a week to train - but this also assumes that the quality of each of these hours stayed high.
As it it presently (training 2 hours a week), i'm able to keep all of my training pretty high value. I've currently structured it so that i'm doing one 20 minute, one 40 minute, and one 60 minute a week. The 20 minute workout usually involves short, super intense intervals of less than 90 seconds, with comparable length rest periods. The 40 minute workout is also an interval workout, but the intervals are longer, lasting up to 5 minutes. The 60 minute workout is a tempo workout, with anywhere from 30-60 minutes being at race pace (or greater) effort. I'm currently alternating bike and run workouts which keeps my motivation pretty high. I'm in my fourth week and have yet to have any noticeable mental or physical fatigue going into the workouts, which thus far has allowed me to string together nearly 10 sessions where my perceived effort was very high.
Previously (using 3 hours a week) i was able to get my running up to a level equivalent to a Vdot score of 52 - I'll be testing again in about two weeks, so i'll have a bit of hard data for comparison.