5 hour A Race, But Plan builder Workouts Only 2 Hours Max?

So my A race will be a 157km Gran Fondo with 2500m of climbing, almost certainly a 5+ hour effort for me.
Traditionally i’ve always done a single 3+ hour ride on the weekend (maybe with the odd 4-5 hour ride closer to the event), a single weekend ride is also often more optimal from the family life/commitment perspective.

Plan builder (med vol) will have me doing two 1.5-2 hour workouts over Sat-Sun, but this presents 2 potential issues for me:

  • I may not be ale to workout both days due to time constraints
  • Aren’t there additional benefits to doing a longer ride when your event will be long? e.g. acclimatising to time in the saddle, pacing, nutrition strategy, additional fitness adaptations?

If I can’t workout on both days, or if I should do a single longer ride to get the additional benefits how do I plan this ride? Try to aim for the combined duration of the two workouts with combined TSS or something else?

Any advice appreciated :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes - all of the above. The TR crew has said many times on the podcast that it’s fair game to replace the weekend ride(s) with outdoor ride(s).

In terms of what the outside ride should look like, that’s your call based on what kind of fitness you want/need to work on.

For example, you could replicate the TR over-under workouts if the terrain/route allows (select “outside workout” and it suggests an appropriate workout to replace the indoor ride) Or you could do a mixed intensity ride. Or you could go with a long endurance paced ride.

If you found your longer rides from past seasons we’re helpful, seems like a good place to start is replicating them.


Thanks for the info, appreciated.

After doing some digging, I also found this when looking at the Century Specialty Phase info:
“…The option for an increasingly long, weekend Endurance ride is included in the ‘Week Tips’ if you prefer a long, low-intensity approach on the weekend.”
although the longest option is Maclure at only 3 hours, so I may have to come up with my own workouts.

Excelsior and Hoffman are both 4+ endurance rides. There are a lot more out there but search for those and see what you think.

Also, I agree, ride longer outdoors on the weekends if you can or longer on the trainer if you can’t get outside.

1 Like

I don’t know why they never showed up when I searched. These will be great, thanks.

In 2019 I completed a 17:30+ brutal mtb :100: that had a 37% completion rate.

To add to the discussion, in 2019 my longest trainer ride was 2 hours. My longest outdoor ride was 4:30 and I only did two of those all year. My longest previous ride ever was 9:19 in 2018.

There are plenty of adaptations to doing long rides however, if time constrained the MV plans with just 2 hour workouts can prepare you for much longer events.


I would say most healthy people are able to ride 5h without any training. It is only a matter of pacing and fueling, but most pacing, since fueling mostly helps to ride faster.
I doubt that a 5-6h/week plan can make you strong enough to really race a five hour event. This is not a matter of z2 vs intervalls, but just a lack of overall volume.
So you will definitely be able to finish an 5h event with a MV plan. But the faster you want to go, the more volume you need to be able to handle consistently during the weeks. Adding Z2 work to the MV plans or replacing weekendrides with long endurance rides is a save way to do that.

One of the benefits to longer rides is as type 1 muscle fibers fatigue type 2 fibers will be recruited more and more as duration/fatigue build. Fatigue dependent training plans sort of revolve around this (not sure what your plan looks like) but, I’m guessing the plan builder follows this principle.

As far as the one long ride on the week end I don’t think it matters much time v. TSS. Ride for as long as you can but, always with constant pressure on the pedals. Try to limit the coasting or easing up to fatigue those type 1 fibers.

Anything over 2 hours is torture on the trainer