Are the TrainerRoad plans good enough for long 3hr+ races?

You’ve said a mouthful Brendan, will start by adding 30 min Z2 ride to every 1.5h TR workout, as I get comfortable I will change the 30min Z2 rides to sweet spot then increase the duration to 3 hours workouts.


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as you switch to sweet spot, look for a progressive build in duration…2 x 20, 3 x 15, 2 x 25, 2 x 30, 1 x 40, etc etc etc. DOn’t just wack yourself with 30m all at once.




Can you share the links to some of these rides? @brendanhousler mentioned this, but your FTP is too low if you’re able to maintain a 1.12 IF for 90 minutes

Second, I don’t think you necessarily need longer sessions to hang with these events. If staying with the group requires a 0.95 or higher IF you simply won’t be able to hang for three hours no matter how well you condition yourself for longer efforts. You have to find ways to conserve energy or increase your available power

Curious what kind of races these are - are they road races? fondos? mtb events? The answer to that would probably determine the best way to improve your performance into the second and third hours


Maintaining that IF suggests either way too much effort, or as mentioned, FTP is set too low. Look at your nutrition for more than 2 hr events. Eating is always hard in the first hour, but it really helps for more than 2 hr events. Also, how about caffeine gels after 1:30 or in the 3rd hour ?


I don’t think that is correct. Nate never did more than 2 hours sessions and did sub 9 hour Leadville.

No science here but in my humble opinion I equate an hour on the trainer to an hour and half outdoors. No coasting no lights no stops no interruptions just riding and riding!

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@Jobrila some examples to consider:

  • 3x12 Geiger
  • 3x15 Tallac
  • 2x25 Eclipse +1 (customized in Workout Creator)
  • 1x50 Echo -1
  • 4x15 Tallac +2
  • 3x20 Eclipse
  • 2x30 Wright Peak (customized in Workout Creator)
  • 1x60 White +3

or something like this:

  • 4x15 (Tallac +2)
  • 3x20 (Ecliplse)
  • 2x30 (Wright Peak)
  • 1x45 (Reynolds -2)
  • 1x60 (White)
  • 1x70 (Leavitt +3)
  • 1x80 (Echo +3)
  • 1x90 (Phoenix +1)
  • 1x105 (Polar Bear +1)

Something else to consider during Sweet Spot Base training at MV - swap some of the 1.5 hour MV sweet spot rides with longer 2 hour sweet spot workouts from the HV plan.


Yes and No.

Structured training in general is great to raise your fitness and FTP, all good for any types of racing, but in my experience I feel I need some longer rides too. My races are also 2-4 hours and I do endurance rides from time to time to supplement the TR plans and I feel this helps me.

In base period, I aim to get out once per week for a long endurance ride. But at least every second week if I can’t manage that due to life. I substitute the Sunday ride with one 3-5 hours in length. Sometimes I do some sweet spot efforts but sometimes I just noodle and go out for a long time.

In Build period, the same, aim to go outdoors every week. I substitute the Sunday ride. In this period, make your Sunday ride, not just a noodle, but include a mix of effort levels, sweet spot, threshold, VO2.

In Speciality phase, I tend to do these rides once a month to maintain endurance levels.

Just careful not to go overboard on these longer endurance rides. What matters most of all is consistency in your training and don’t go deeper than you can and start skipping workouts later or doing them at a lower quality due to tiredness.

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My experience is outdoor riding is needed to be able to handle outside factors like wind, etc.

TR structured training is okay for the shorter 1-2 hour rides, but anything over that requires getting outside and doing longer rides.


I tried TR exclusively prior to a race earlier this year. The arm pump I got trying to handle the bike through rock gardens was something I wish to never feel again in a race.

I definitely will not use TR exclusively for any race prep again. I think they should encourage the long rides to be done outdoors as part of their plans. I am all for structured training and still use TR weekly for that. Outdoor rides add benefits that indoor rides simply can’t.


I don’t disagree but you should never leave out full body workout. A strong core and other muscles that help you be stable on rough terrain e.g. rock garden is mandatory for every serious rider.

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Thats not true just check out his strava


I lift 3 times a week which I actually felt may have made the arm and chest pump worse. Very different movements at the end of the day.

There’s no replacement for training where you race.

I didn’t check anything just what was stated on a podcast or two.

I don’t know how your strength training looks like. Are you using a functional training or Classic lifting approach?

He did the Tahoe Trail the month prior to PbVille @ 5 hours 27 minutes. I think it is fair to say he did most of his training at 2 hours or less on TR but the “all” part gets quoted a lot and isn’t accurate.

I count at least 5 rides over 3 hours starting in the spring, and Nate is not newer cyclist he has years of experience.

I would say you can lift however you want as long as you want and if you go ride a bike through rock gardens you will still end up using your muscles differently. It’s like doing leg presses and then going on a long run. It’s just different. If you literally don’t run and then you go out and do a long run you will be sore regardless of how you weight train or how often you do it. Cycling is no different.

  1. You can train for 3 hour races with TR, but if you want to train for 9 hour races you probably want to get outside for a long ride on Sunday.

  2. Your FTP needs to be re-assessed.

  3. A more accurate FTP will help you train your FTP, which you will probably need to raise to stay in the mix at these races. And/Or lose weight so that you are improving your power to weight ratio.

  4. You need to eat more during the ride. I don’t know how much you weigh or how much you can digest but you need to be really be fueling up early, once you run out of energy your going to get dropped.

I had a lot of luck with Beta Fuel for the start of really long rides, you get a ton of carbs/calories and you water in when you might not have much time to get a gel open.

Nutrition is a very complicated issue and you should be able to put in the research and testing on yourself to figure it out for yourself.


Well there’s your problem.
You’re pushing power/pace that you simply don’t have the fitness for.
A few things you can do.

  1. Raise your FTP - duh. This makes everything else easier by comparison
  2. Ride more efficiently - power leakage is real. Are you chasing things you dont need to, are you hiding in the pack properly to conserve energy, are you anticipating the surges before they happen so you aren’t having to put out big power just to hang on… all of these things start to add up, and cause issues
  3. nutrition got brought up but its a bit of a red herring i believe given your power stats. If you were telling us you were .70 IF over 2hrs and getting dropped i’d be more inclined to say nutrition/hydration need to be addressed.

Raise power and use it more efficiently, the plans aren’t the issue at this current time based on your other limiters


Nate has a lot more riding in his legs that a new rider…I dont know that whole story though so can’t really comment.

re: no coasting, don’t coast on the road either! 10% or less of z1 on an endurance ride! it’s hard but doable

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