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

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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So if the workout I am supposed to do on the MV Sustained power build is for example Stromlo+4, are you saying I should add leavitt+3 after completing the workout that is on the plan?:thinking:

So in response to original OP, I was thinking this same thing today. Coming back from group ride which was around 2hrs long on no breakfast or sports drink and I was feeling the bonk coming on.

I place a lot of weight for this on nutrition. As on mostly trainer road riding I was able to complete several 5hr rides with lots of climbing earlier in the year. I did sprinkle in some hill rides of around 3hrs periodically before I went.

Also I have trained for 8hr riding events with only shorter rides of around 3hrs. For these rides I tested prior to the event some longer rides at 6hrs just to work on my nutrition.

It takes a bit, but your body gets accustomed to these types of efforts.

I tend to do all my training indoors on Trainerroad, not doing any workout beyond 90mins and 3-4 workouts each week. At .85 IF I found that my legs would fall apart soon after 3hrs of riding. I would definitely recommend get in some hard 3hr rides in.

Very hard to not coast or stop on the road at times very hard. I know where I live it wouldn’t be possible.

There’s the reason I don’t want to go back to living in densely populated areas. If I’m not mistaken Brendan lives in Memphis so it’s possible.

If you’re falling off after 1,5h then you’ve gone out too hard and it’s not because you don’t have enough miles in your legs. Sure a lot of long distance rides help adapting your muscle-fibers to slower ones but that adaptation occurs in shorter durations as well, that’s why SSB is resulting in the same adaptations as traditional base does but in much lesser time.

So you need to figure out what pace works, nutrition and other race-specific training is equally important but you need to learn how to ride in a pace that works for you.


It is possible, even in urban settings.

Over the summer I reduced my 5hr ride coasting “power” from 10% to 1%. The 3 things which really helped were route planning (both geographical and time of day), consciously always being on the power, and hard stops (something I learned from the pros!).

If you’re really packed into a decent sized city then you might have to drive your bike outside the city limits (if possible) in order to accomplish a low coasting/power ride.