Doug Moore raised his FTP by 41 watts with TrainerRoad while training for a multi-day ride across Utah. He did this using a low-volume training plan while managing a challenging schedule. As a busy father of five with a demanding career and a farm to care for, Doug made low-volume work for an ultra-endurance event.

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Key Takeaways

  • Consistency is more important than training volume.
  • Be realistic with yourself and your abilities.
  • When you face setbacks, adapt to keep things on track.
  • Simple things can make a significant impact on your training.

Committing to Life Changes

Nearing his fortieth birthday, Doug noticed that he was a little overweight and not as healthy as he wanted to be. He felt he would be setting himself up for poor health for the rest of his life if he didn’t make some changes now. With this in mind, Doug significantly altered his diet and committed to training three to four times a week. 

With a swimming background, Doug understood the principles of structured training, which led him to sign up for TrainerRoad. The objective data and structure were appealing. He also liked completing workouts in Erg mode because it forces him to commit to the power levels of his workouts. He believed that TrainerRoad would get the most out of his hard work—and it did. In less than a year of training, Doug increased his FTP from 271w to 312w and increased his w/kg from 3.3 to 3.9. Here are the principles that he followed to get the most out of the training. 

Value Consistency Over Volume

With a hectic schedule, Doug has little time for training. To make the most of his available time, he values consistency over training volume. That means that Doug uses a low-volume training plan that has him on the bike three days a week, and when the weather is nice, he’ll add an outside endurance ride on Saturdays. 

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With a schedule that’s always changing, Doug focuses on getting the low-volume training in and not on how he can do more. The emphasis on consistency means that sometimes he’s training in the late evenings or before dawn on the weekends. It’s not the optimal schedule for training and recovery, but it works for Doug.

Be Realistic

To say Doug has a lot going on would be an understatement. With a big family, five kids aged 3-14, and a full-time job, Doug’s calendar is understandably full. Add in a side hustle and a fourteen-acre farm, and there is little time for training. After seeing his fitness grow, he’s tempted to change to a mid-volume plan. However, he must be realistic about his schedule and abilities.

Even though it’s very tempting to pick a mid-volume plan for next year, Doug says that “Yes, I may get some fitness gains, but is it worth it?” Additional workouts would come at the cost of consistency and recovery time. Instead of changing to mid-volume, he’s going to sneak in some strength training.

Emphasize Recovery

One of Doug’s biggest struggles is making sure the recovery is there. At first glance, it’s easy to discount recovery time—especially when there are other things to do. Doug learned that emphasizing recovery and sleep not only helps you feel better but aids with consistency. Working out late in the day can cause sleep issues, and Doug admits that “it’s challenging for sure to keep juggling those things and doing it well. I don’t always do it well.”

Managing the struggles is about dealing with missed workouts. Doug jokes that when he skips a workout that he “doesn’t feel like a cyclist.” Like many cyclists, Doug’s mood can swing depending on how often he’s on the bike. After a bit of self-reflection, he checks himself and doubles down on the commitment to get in those three to four rides of the week.

The key for Doug is the flexibility and determination to find a way to make it happen. Sometimes it’s less than ideal with back-to-back rides and training sessions at odd hours of the day. For Doug, it’s worth it because “the bike is a source of stress relief and help.”

Adapt to Keep Things on Track

A busy schedule isn’t Doug’s only challenge. Just after signing up with TrainerRoad and one week into Sweet Spot Base I, he suffered a broken rib. It was painful, but Doug continued to ride. Shortly after, he deeply cut his finger, which severed a tendon and forced him off the bike for two weeks. Unfortunately, these weren’t the only setbacks. A few months before his goal event, riding across Utah, Doug crashed, destroying his bike and breaking his collarbone. It was a full month before he was ready to ride again. 

These setbacks provided a learning opportunity on how to listen to his body and adjust the training. Doug felt it out with each setback and listened to his body to make sure it wasn’t too much too soon. When returning from the broken collarbone, Doug postponed the ride across Utah by two months and rebuilt his training plan with Plan Builder. The extra time was a confidence booster. By adapting and keeping things on track, Doug felt prepared for his goals. 

Train for Your Goals

Doug’s goal event was initially the LoToJa race. However, with the pandemic, Doug decided to plan a ride across Utah with three friends instead. The three-day route began at the north border of Utah in Cache Valley and finished at the southern border in Kanab. Each day was about 140 miles long and featured 4,000 to 6,000 feet of climbing. 

This was an epic event for Doug because each day would be longer than he’d ever done, but the preparation was there. So how did it go? Simply put, he crushed it. While each day was challenging, Doug finished the entire ride feeling strong and well prepared. Along the way, there were plenty of learnings. 

Trust the Plan

Doug’s longest ride leading up to the ride across Utah was only 4.5 hours. It’s easy to think that if your goal event is very long, you need equally long training rides. But this isn’t the case because the training focuses on developing the necessary energy systems, not necessarily on the event’s length. Doug says that cyclists tend to fixate on how many miles, but if the aerobic fitness is there, you can adjust the pace to match it. It’s always a good idea to complete a long ride to dial in nutrition, pacing, and equipment issues, but extended rides are not regular necessities.

Stay on Top of Nutrition

Getting enough calories is vital for performance. Training the GI system to handle numerous carbs takes time, but Doug worked on this throughout his training plan. When he first started with TrainerRoad, Doug only fueled with some cashews and dried apricots. He quickly realized this was not sufficient and started to incorporate more carbohydrates into his diet. This change paid off, and he was able to fuel appropriately throughout the event. 

Plan with Your Team

For Doug, planning the logistics of the ride was fun. Investing in planning help create a great route and provided some extra motivation. Regular meetings with the riders meant that the team got along and provided some accountability. It helped motivate his training because he didn’t “want to be the guy just sitting on the wheels.” 

Do Something Epic

It’s rewarding to pull off something epic. Seeing your hard work pay off after months of training and planning is a fantastic feeling. Looking back, Doug attributes his success to the simple things that make a difference—consistency, recovery, and nutrition. Doug encourages other cyclists to do something epic because “it’s possible if you put in the work and plan it out.”

Tell us your story. Success isn’t always a race win. It can be life-changing health improvements, reaching a personal goal, or more.


For more cycling training knowledge, listen to Ask a Cycling Coach — the only podcast dedicated to making you a faster cyclist. New episodes are released weekly.



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Jesse Fortson

Jesse Fortson lost over 145 pounds with TrainerRoad's help. He uses his experience as a teacher and race mechanic to get faster for crits, gravel, and marathon XCO races.