Now that you’ve committed to racing Unbound Gravel, you’ll need a training plan that can help you get across that finish line. But where do you begin when you’re training for an event as long and challenging as this? Take the guesswork out of your training and build your Unbound Gravel training plan with Plan Builder.


What is Plan Builder?

Plan Builder is an automated training plan creator that builds custom training plans designed to peak you for your goal event. Plan Builder uses the amount of time you have until your event, your experience with interval training, your current training load and the discipline of your event to build you a custom training plan. You can further customize your training by choosing which days you’d like to take outdoors and what additional races you’d like to integrate into your training plan.

Can I use Plan Builder for Unbound Gravel?

Absolutely! There is a common misconception that to train for an ultra-distance event; you can’t use a traditional training structure because you need a plan that largely consists of super long training rides. In reality, you can train for an event as long as Unbound Gravel with a plan composed of workouts that are even just a few hours long. This efficiently trains the energy systems used in an ultra-distance event. You can get more effective training done in a more reasonable amount of time and avoid the massive fatigue that comes with extremely long rides.

That being said, while it’s not necessary to replicate a 12-hour ride outdoors, you can learn a lot by spending 2-3 hours in similar race day circumstances. When possible, we recommend using Outside Workouts to do your weekend training. This gives you time to test your equipment, sharpen your bike handling, and experiment with your nutrition.

Unbound Gravel Training Plan Examples

Plan Builder takes your individual training variables and circumstances into consideration when it builds your training plan. Because it does this, an Unbound Gravel training plan is going to look different for every athlete.

So what might that look like? Here are a few examples of different athletes training for Unbound Gravel with different circumstances and training variables.

Kris is currently training ten hours per week, is experienced with interval training, and is training for Unbound Gravel. Kris started structured training 5 months ago.

This is an example of a high-volume training plan for Unbound Gravel.
Because Kris has an advanced level of experience with interval training, Kris will benefit from repeating the Base > Build phase progression multiple times before the Specialty Phase. Since Kris started training 5 months ago, he can backdate the start of his training plan and continue from where he is at in his build toward Unbound Gravel.

Erika is training six hours per week and has some experience with interval training. She has just begun structured training for Unbound Gravel.

This is an example of a mid-volume training plan for Unbound Gravel.
With the time frame that Erika has and her intermediate experience with interval training, Erika’s time is best spent completing a full Base and Build progression, followed by a truncated Specialty block. This ensures she will get the most improvement from the limited training time she has.

Brian is training eight hours per week, has little experience with interval training, and has completed two months of structured training in preparation for Unbound Gravel.

This is an example of a mid-volume training plan for Unbound Gravel that accounts for extra time to prepare.
Brian started training two months ago, so he has enough time to complete a regular progression. He will complete both Base phases, followed by Build and then Specialty. Because Brian has already been training, he can choose a mid volume plan and back date the plan to the day he started so that all his completed work is included.

Plan Builder will take into account your unique situation and build the right plan for you, but you can customize your plan even more once it is built. Drag and drop workouts on the fly, change an inside workout to be an outside workout, change plan volumes, and much more. It’s the best way to get a personalized training plan for an event as demanding as Unbound Gravel.


FAQ

Can I train for Unbound Gravel with a low volume plan?

Absolutely! Plan Builder will recommend a training volume based on your current training load. If Plan Builder recommends low volume, then this is probably the best training plan for you. As long as the weekly TSS is challenging enough to promote adaptation, you can successfully train with this volume.

Additionally, you can use the Low Volume plan to supplement the other riding you are doing as the structured and high-quality portion of your overall time on the bike.

You can always increase the volume of your training plan at any point in your season. If you get started with a low volume plan and decide that you can successfully handle more training, then you can increase the volume of your plan. You can change the volume of your current training block or your next training block in your TrainerRoad Calendar. Just remember that the best training plan is the plan that you know you can nail.

Can I add outdoor rides to my Unbound Gravel?

You can complete as much or as little of your TrainerRoad plan outdoors as you wish. Every TrainerRoad workout has an indoor version and an outdoor version. When you want to take things out on the gravel bike, mark your TrainerRoad workout as an outdoor workout on your TrainerRoad Calendar and take it outside on your Wahoo or Garmin head unit. 

How many rides should I do outdoors before my race?

You can complete as many outdoor workouts as you’d like. Depending on your schedule, your opportunities to ride outdoors, and your personal preference, the perfect amount of outdoor rides will differ for every athlete. 

That being said, if you plan on completing the majority of your training indoors, try to integrate some outdoor rides into your plan so that you can keep your technical riding skills sharp. While the Unbound Gravel course isn’t super technical, being able to safely and confidently ride a gravel bike comes with practice. If you are new to riding gravel bikes, try taking your longer TrainerRoad workouts outdoors on the weekends.

Do I need to complete an ultra distance workout before Unbound Gravel?

You don’t have to complete super long training rides to race well at an ultra-distance event. The workouts in your training plan are specifically designed to strengthen the energy systems used in a long-distance event. Continuously breaking your body down in long training rides is not the most effective way to strengthen this energy system. Instead, your training plan sharpens these tools through shorter workouts that target these power zones in the most effective way possible.

For more information on this topic check out this article: I’ve Never Done My Full Race Distance Will I Be Ready For My Event

How do I create a pacing plan for Unbound Gravel?

As you progress through your plan and learn more about your power zone, you can build the perfect pacing plan for Unbound Gravel. For more information on building a pacing plan for your long-distance event, check out this training article: How to Build a Pacing Plan For Long Events



Getting Faster with TrainerRoad

Ready to get faster? Driven by science and data, TrainerRoad provides the training, planning, and analysis tools you need to become a faster cyclist with a focused and straightforward system. Create a custom training plan with Plan Builder, complete workouts indoors, outside, or with friends, and prove that your training is working with post-ride analysis tools. You can be confident that you will become a faster cyclist, and over 1,500 stories from TrainerRoad athletes prove it. Try TrainerRoad with a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

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Meghan Kelley

Meghan Kelley is a writer, XC MTB racer and all around fan of trails, rocks, dirt and the desert. Her years spent racing XC and working at TrainerRoad has translated to a passion for all things cycling.