2020 plan - 3 Centuries followed by Etape du Tour


I’ve been using TR for a couple of years now and have been following various plans during this year with decent success in reaching my goals (doing a couple of centuries around the 6 hour mark). I’m not a racer but want to put in some good times and to enjoy what I’ve got lined up…

For 2020, I’m planning on:
April 13th - Amstel Gold - 150km / 2186m
May 17th - Black Rat Sportive - 181km / 2423m
June 7th - Dragon Ride - ideally 223km / 3612m (but could opt for 153km / 2417m)
July 5th - Etape du Tour - 177km / 3570m

The Etape du Tour (France) is the ride that I’m most excited about, but the Dragon will be pretty challenging.

Having read posts on multi events and ‘A’ races, my questions are:

  1. Should I aim to do the Century plan before Amstel and the Climbing before Etape/Dragon?
  2. Should I consider the Dragon or Etape to be my A race. I want to be able to comfortably(!) do them both.

The plan that I have in mind (supplemented with one 4-6 hour outside ride a week) is:

  • Base Sweet Spot I Mid (Completed)
  • Base Sweet Spot II Mid (currently on week 2)
  • Build Sust. Power Mid
  • Speciality Climbing Mid Week 1
  • Rest 1 week
  • Amstel
  • resume Speciality Climbing Mid Weeks 2-4
  • Rest 1 week
  • Black Rat
  • resume Speciality Climbing Mid Weeks 5-6
  • Rest 1 week
  • Dragon Ride
  • Rest 1 week
  • resume Speciality Climbing Mid Weeks 7-8
  • Rest 1 week
  • Etape du Tour

It feels like a pretty intensive run up without much room for error / missed weeks due to illness/travel.

Am I overcomplicating it?!

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Have you tried using the new Plan Builder to see what it provides?
I’d enter all your planned events on the calendar first. Assign appropriate A, B, C designation and try the new tool.


Hi, yes, I have tried it out, but:
a) it didn’t feel like it considered the part played by any outdoor rides
b) it was keen to put me in Low rather than Mid. This would bring my TSS down quite a bit.
c) at this point, I have quite a decent run-up to the various events so wanted to get some real world input and experience prior to embarking on quite a mega bot-powered training programme.

That said, overall, it gave some very good context and outline structure.

As an aside, whilst I prefer not to modify workout plans, a number of them include 2 hour indoor sessions. I find these uncomfortable and difficult to find the time (sometimes boring!). Would be good if I could set a session time limit so I didn’t have to self-modify.

a) What did it do or not do that is different than your expectations?

b) It simply looks at the last 6 weeks of your training, and picks volume aligned with that. As with everything in the planner, it is adjustable. You can simply swap to Mid Volume and get the same overall load you have had in the past.

c) Copy that. Just wanted to point out the tool, since you didn’t mention that you already tried it. I am sharing the link with most of these “what plan…” posts unless someone states they tried it and want verification.

Aside: Several people have requested the option to set time limits at the planning stage so the PB would choose workouts appropriately. No idea if/when it could happen, but TR is aware of the request.

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Would’ve thought century would be the speciality rather than climbing road race?

I’d personally have the one I’m most excited as an A race. I’d probably go Amstel as A, the other’s as B (rebuilding for), Etape as A.

Notwithstanding you saying you didn’t like the output of the plan builder, for me about the only thing I’m wary of in it’s output is it looks like straight into hard workouts the week after. But the week before B events looks spot on, with added openers.

@Macy Thank you for that. I shall have another go at the tool and see what it suggests using two A races. It’s amazing how short time seems when you stitch together just 3 or 4 programmes!

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I’m definitely not as expert as some, that’s just what I’d do. I did liege last year, and was advised century over rolling road race or climbing road race for that.

Jealous of the event programme all the same. Opted for Dirty Reiver over Amstel, still mulling over the Dragon Ride. Hadn’t heard of the Blackrat before.

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@mcneese.chad thanks for taking the time to reply. It’s handy that you put in your profile that you aren’t Coach Chad as I assumed that you were him! Not to say that that makes your opinions any less valid…

a) In terms of planning workout programmes indoors vs outdoors, being based in the UK, the balance is going to change with the seasons. In winter, it goes down to once every week or 2, whilst in the summer it’s nearer twice a week. Unless one considers that the outdoor rides aren’t structured so don’t count, the result would be a TSS that’s much higher than prescribed. Should I be doing MIDs in the winter months and LOWs in the summer months??

b) Useful context. Will have another go with the tool.

I think that overall, I’ll end up blending the tool’s suggestion with real world context. There are snippets of real world experience that are difficult to replicate in a tool.

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Blackrat is quite a small one (up to 300 people, I think) starting in Bristol and looping into Wales.

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  • Yeah, happens too often. I set my forum name with my last name first, in attempt to make it clear who I am (and am not), but I still get some confusion.
  • I’m happy to clarify as I have some knowledge on a range of topics here, but so… so much less than Coach in many as well. I don’t want people taking my advice as his by mistake.

a) Yeah, weather is a huge modifier for sure. And the differences in type of stress and duration variables from inside to outside are worthy considerations.

  • It’s one nice thing about the Plan Builder, since we can pick different Volume levels for each block. That may allow for tweaking to align with weather and associated distribution between inside and outside workouts.
  • Additionally, the option to set workouts within the block to default to inside or outside can be used as well in all blocks

Agreed overall. This tool is a huge step up from the prior, simple training plan implementation. It probably nails an 80/20 split on the basic plan that is better since it is attempting to directly adjust for events. But as with anything, there will remain some level of manual understanding and control to get the final setup and outlier cases to the way that some people want.

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I don’t really have anything to offer here other than to wish you the very best of luck with your training. I am also doing The Dragon Ride (153km) and then Le Etape du Tour so may see you at both.
I am a fairly novice rider so this will be a big ask for me. I’m presently on week 5 of Sweet Spot II Mid volume (but I’m mostly just doing three TR indoor sessions followed by a longer Sunday ride).

My build is slightly different to yours in terms of events but hopefully we will both end up on the finish line of Le Etape :slight_smile:

I’d be interested to see what you eventually come up with. I am going to go look at the plan builder this weekend and see how my build looks based around the sportives and events I have in my diary.

So as I said at the beginning, I wish you all the best and I may see you at the start in Wales or France.


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Thank you, David.

The 2 rides should be a decent challenge, but definitely achievable give how far off they are and that by using things like TR, we can be structured in our training. Maybe bump into you at one of these events!


I’d be a bit wary that if you put Le Etape as an A race, plan builder will schedule quite a big training load approx 4-6 weeks out (I don’t know, but it would be typical). That might give you too much fatigue for the Dragon ride. I’d be tempted to build for the Dragon ride, and then use ‘maintenance’ until Le Etape. You should have a very decent aerobic base by then, which you won’t lose that quickly. And the Dragon could well have steeper climbs than Le Etape (which might be good to specifically target).

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