200km/2500m sportive - 3 months - what's the plan of attack?


I have signed myself up to this Sportive 200km and 2500 meters of climbing . What would you recommend as training plan to do?

A bit about myself.

I got into cycling 15 months ago.

Biggest cycle I have done is 135km . I have about 15 100km under my belt. I train 3 times a week on the smart trainer , some times I race on Zwift and I try to get a long weekend ride on the weekend. I am 90kg and have an ftp of 285.Realistically I can commit 6-10 hours a week on the bike

Any help would be great because I want to preform my best on the day but I don’t know the route to success

That’s the race


That’s the route



Follow a normal TR plan, and replace one of the weekend workouts for a long 4h+ ride. Your Sportive doesn’t have any big climbs, you should be ok.

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Put the event into your TR calendar as your A event - classify it as a Gran Fondo. Then use the Plan Builder functionality to automatically construct a training plan based on the time available. It will be some combination of Sweet Spot Base, Sustained Power Build and Century Speciailty. With 15 months of cycling, you should probably pick the Low Volume option, and add some zone 2/endurance rides if you feel you can tolerate more stress.

As the weather improves, you may want substitute in some longer outside rides - initially 3 hours, then getting out to 5 hours as the event approaches. The Week Tips notes for each phase of the training plan will detail what you can substitute.

You don’t really have to do these long rides from a fitness point of view, but they do help you sort out any issues of bike fit and comfort, nutrition, pacing and are good for your confidence.


Aside from training endurance, you’ll need to train your gut. At such distance you’ll want to eat along the way (at rest/aid stations and/or while pedaling’). Do you know how many calories you can eat per hour while pedaling at a good clip? What food do you still want to eat after 3-4hours? There’s a fine line between glory & vomit.

Check your gearing . It looks like the steepest slope you’ll face is about 10%. Can you stay below FTP in your easiest gear while climbing such slope? Have you practiced pedaling at low cadence (to stay below ftp) while keeping your balance ?

During the event, you’ll want to pace yourself and stay at ~65-70% of FTP on avg. Many will pass you at first as so many people cannot pace themselves.

As has been said if you are looking for a TR plan on low hours then use Plan Builder and put your goal in. Select which volume you want and which days and it will spit out a plan. Just remember that with AT, what you see pictured at the start wont be what you do - it will likely swap sessions as soon as you get training.

Remember that at weekends you can simply swap out an indoor session for an outdoor ride. Obviously you wont get sessions suggested for Zwift races but if you’re serious about your goal and have a max of 6hrs per week then you probaby want to stop doing those and stick to the plan.

Please let us know about your experiences and the route - this is on my list of possible events for 2023 so I’d love to know more about it and if its worth the journey over? :wink:

As has already been said, training yourself to eat and drink, even when you don’t think you need to will be your biggest win. Try mixing things up. You don’t need to be limited to energy gels.

Also keep in mind that if you’re smart, you won’t ride the whole route on your own. Try to find a group doing a pace you can sustain. Take your turns on the front and rest when you can. Being in a group can really lift your spirits when things get tough.

As far training, from past experience, I’ve focused on muscular endurance (Sweetspot and Over/Unders) and good old 4/5 hour endurance rides for this type of event.

Good luck :+1:

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The advice around training seems spot on, so here’s some general advice about the route from someone who has done it before:

  1. A reply mentioned the sportive “doesn’t have any big climbs” - while this is true on an international comparison, it contains some of the biggest climbs in Ireland so if you’re based here make sure you’ve done some climbing and descending in preparation

  2. Each climb has steep sections. Make sure your gearing enables you to get up this without going into the red. I ride these roads with a 34 tooth cassette and I’m often glad of it.

  3. There are long flat sections (eg. Hollywood to Baltinglass). If you are able to ride in a group here it will go a lot quicker and you’ll save a lot of energy. Practice riding in a group ahead of time.

  4. If you’re not based in Ireland - Irish roads are slow. Mentally add a few percent to each climb gradient and knock a few kph off your expected average speed to compensate

  5. There are food stops, but these are often crowded. Bring some of your own food so that you will be capable of skipping some of these if the line is too long.