50-70 mile fitness

Hi all,

I’m looking to take part in some medium distance sportives this year for the first time, but don’t have much time to commit to training.

I have 2 days per week to train up to two hours per session - I’m wondering how I’m best using this time?

I’m at 2.5w/kg and completely new to structured training so hopefully I’ll see some improvements even with limited time on the bike.

I’ve considered picking one of the 3 day low volume plans and dropping a workout (although unsure of which workout), or doing all of the Olympic Triathlon plan.

My other worry is will such a low volume plan get me fit enough to complete a 70 mile ride?

Thanks in advance

2 x 2 hour Sweetspot sessions will give you must bang for your buck, assuming you have enough fitness and endurance to complete the sessions. The high volume plan has longer workouts so you can pick from there, may need to adjust FTP to get through them.

It’s not an ideal approach of course, but if that’s what you’ve got available then make the most of it! Certainly possible to complete


Do these two rides per week also include your opportunities to ride outdoors? If you do a longer ride on the weekend, that can often be used as a replacement for the longer workout in the week.

Otherwise, I agee with @cartsman in that you can do some sweet spot sessions to get the most bang for your buck. Could start with a 1-hour session and extend the cool down with some Z2 riding as you build up to the 2-hour sessions.

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Just a thought, (unless you’re really set on the sportives) why not target something that fits in better with your training time?

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You can totally do a 70-mile sportive on 4 hours a week, assuming you’ve got a several weeks to train and you’re not trying to win it. (Keep in mind that managing your nutrition and hydration during the ride is as important as building fitness, so don’t skip planning that stuff!)

If you look at the individual workout details in Sweet Spot Base Low-Volume and scroll down, many of them have alternative “plus” versions that extend the length of the workout. For example, Ericsson is a one-hour workout, and Ericsson +4 pushes out to two hours. Doing the + workouts would be one way to sort of follow the plan, while also doing the two-hour sweet spot sessions other folks have suggested.

For workouts that don’t have a two-hour version, or if you’re not sure you have the fitness to pull it off (it could be hard!), you could tack on a second, endurance-zone workout to make up the difference. So do regular Ericsson, then do an hour of endurance (like Pettit).

As far as picking workouts, I’d grab the 90-minute one, and then whichever of the two 60-minute ones looks appealing/convenient. Your schedule could look something like this:

Day 1 Day 2
Week 1: Ramp test, then Pettit, or something sweet-spotty Baxter +2, or Baxter then Volunteer (half an hour of endurance)
Week 2: Goddard, then Pettit Antelope +5, or Antelope then Volunteer
Week 3: Ericsson +4, or Ericsson then Bald Knob because you’re bored of Pettit Eclipse +3, or Eclipse then Volunteer

etc., you get the idea.


Off topic: I need to dig into this post and learn the table formatting, love it :smiley:


I fall over while clipped in but my Markdown-fu is ON POINT :rofl:

[e] I could also be a decent human being and like, link the docs. :woman_facepalming:


With that little time to train, I’d recommend the two-hour sweet spot stuff (Antelope +5, Tallac +3, etc.) over tacking on the endurance sessions to the 60-90min rides. If those two-hour jobbers are too tough (and they’re hard), I think what @ellotheth mapped out with additional zone 2 stuff is pretty good.

I’d look into the SSB1 high volume plans and take the two two-hour sessions out of there as my starting point.

To answer the first question, two hours on the trainer twice a week with adequate intensity will get you through 50-70 miles, no question IMO. You may not be tremendously fast, but that’s the trade-off of limited training time.


Flip side of that is that 4 hours/week isn’t enough to be competitive at shorter distances (unless you’ve been competing at a high level and are cutting back to 4 hours), so it might well be more enjoyable doing participation-focused events like sportives where most people are just trying to finish and have fun, than more race-focused shorter events where it’s all about the podium and the points.

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Being competitive and being in good shape to do shorter events is a different thing imo, I don’t believe the OP is wanting to win national championships at this stage.

You could do quite nicely at 10 and 25 mile TTs for instance on 4 hours a week. I’d wager that those 4 hours could be extended on a regular basis to add in more intensity or volume too. TT really lends itself to the time crunched athlete.

I’d also throw in that it’s better to complete a 4 hour per week training plan than fail a 5 hour one.

And one final point as mentioned above, you can totally do 50-70 miles rides on 4 hours per week so don’t let it stop you if that’s what you want to do.

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Might be a regional thing, I looked into the TT scene when I first got into cycling (came from a rowing background so TT seemed a good fit) and found it to be a pretty intimidating and niche scene to get into. Found triathlons and sportives to be far more accessible and beginner-friendly. Have done plenty of TTs now but still not sure it’s where I would recommend somebody first dip their toe into organised cycling events. Might be different in other countries/regions, and I know there is a move to make TTs more accessible with road bike events.

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Certainly some truth in that. In the UK we have Club events and Open events. Club events are just turn up and race, Open events require pre-entry. The club events have a full range of people racing and enough people without full TT rigs to not make people feel intimidated, it’s great “fun”.

There are also more Open events that are becoming road bike only or at least have a category for road bikes only which should hopefully keep catching on.

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There’s a huge difference between triathlon and road cycling everywhere, IMO. Triathlon is generally more welcoming for whatever reason, odds are because you’re not directly riding against each other throwing elbows, etc. I think it’s odd that TT would be intimidating, since it’s you vs. the clock. If anything, that would break down the barrier to me… I can just compete against myself and not worry about the overall.

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I could imagine TT in a place where there are very few of them, to be full of people with high-spec bikes and full aero kit, and think that could be intimidating to new riders.

I’m in the UK though, where there are way more TTs than road races, the club ones are every week, everywhere, cost less than a fiver to enter, and have riders of all abilities. The most intimidating thing is that everyone knows everyone and they speak in this secret language of cryptic course names and standart times that nobody ever seems to know how its calculated. :laughing:


I’m in the UK and that’s exactly what was intimidating! Plus even within a lot of cycling clubs the TTers are the slightly strange people who are off doing solo rides on their space age bikes and testing out whether their new shoe covers can save them 0.1 watts while everybody else is off for a nice sociable club run with coffee and cake after. I think there’s a nice steady progression from group rides and club runs, to local sportives which are basically just a club run with timing and aid stations, to bigger sportives like Tour of Cambridgeshire where you start to race in packs, to full on road racing and crits. Whereas TTs feel like just diving right into the deep end and hoping for the best.


Thanks for all of the replies - much appreciated.

I’m happy to go with the consensus and do 2 long sweet spot workouts or a mix of sweet spot with endurance tagged on the end as you all seem to think that’s by best option.

Will the absence of V02 or threshold work be a big limiter on climbs, or would sweetspot get me through these?

And should I make sure that the TSS increases still from week to week?

I’ve taken to cycling because I want to move away from being ultra competitive against others - played football (soccer) all of my life and I’m no longer enjoying the niggles or arguments!. I’ve never done any endurance activities so completing a 50 mile ride would be an achievement for me, which is planned for late September followed by a 70 mile event in mid November.

Frequent club rides are very much out of the question as are long weekend rides - I work office hours Monday-Friday, have 2 young kids and the other half works shifts which include most weekends.

Thanks for this, appreciate the detail and workout suggestions

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Depends on the climb - short, steep climbs might demand higher power, longer gentler climbs you can definitely get by at Sweet Spot. Check the course, and set your gearing appropriately and there’s no reason why you can’t stay sweet spot or less on climbs.

If you steal the 2-hour workouts from SSB1/SSB2 HV, the progression there will likely increase your TSS over time. I would look at TSS, but probably moreso interval length vs. recovery time and total time spent “in zone”. The TSS difference between some of these rides is practically negligible, but you’d want to ensure you’re working your way up to some of the longer duration intervals as well as increasing total time in zone as you progress.