Century in September - Plan Builder or Century Specialty Phase?

I have registered for a century ride in late September. I just finished up SSBLV I and II with pretty good compliance (maybe 80%, which is good for me).

I looked into using Plan Builder. If I enter a start date of next week, it recommends 10 weeks of SSBLV I and II and 1 week of Century Specialty.

Another option I looked at was just doing the 8-week Century plan and filling in rides either before or after.

The final option was backdating the start of the plan to when I started SSBLV I (April). In that case, it recommends 7 weeks of Sustained Power Build and 4 weeks of Century.

I will continue with LV no matter what I chose. I think it is safe to say that whatever plan I chose, 80% compliance will continue (let’s call it 1.5 missed workouts every two weeks; this is either because of other rides or life generally getting in the way).

Which option seems smartest to you?

By the way, after a rise in FTP between SSBLV I and II, I found myself less able to complete every workout, especially towards the end of SSBLV II. I could not get to the end of Lamarck and Spencer +2. Even though HR seemed ok, legs just died.

Thanks for the input,


  • This is the “best” answer, IMO.

With the time you have, you do not want to miss Sustained Power Build. It is super important and rewarding. Jumping to Century Specialty would be a mistake, no matter the trigger.

  • What is your age and prior training history?
1 Like

I thought this would be the case. I was more unsure about Century vs Build. Thanks for the input.

I am 42 years old. I have been “staying in shape” since I was 12. But I did not start cycling or any structured cycling training until two years ago. The first year was more one and off. This year has been more dedicated.

Thanks, Chad.


1 Like

I share these too often, but for some new riders and/or masters age riders, altering the Work : Recovery Week arrangement is one option to handle the mounting stress a bit better. Here are the guides I wrote and have used for my training the last season or two with good results and less fatigue towards the end of the Work weeks.

Some naturally find it easier to develop strength endurance. Sounds like you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to cycling, but I think you would see good results if you could squeeze in a long aerobic endurance / tempo ride.

FWIW in my own experience (16 yrs older), I’ve seen better results doing 2 hard days mid-week and then doing longer rides on the weekends and targeting minimum 6 hours/week. For base this year I’ve done 3 weeks loading and 1 week de-load (less work, but still doing sweet spot). If you do ramp up volume, there are two ways you might want to explore: what Chad posted above (TR plan and modify 2 weeks loading, 1 week easy), or use a plan designed for masters that has less hard work and more recovery built into plan (and uses classic 3:1 loading/deloading). I’m a fan of masters plans, but the key is to find something that works for you.

1 Like
  • Is that your combined time for the long weekend rides only (not including the 2 short/hard ones mid-week)?

6 hours total for the week, that seems to be the minimum in my experience to really start enjoying the century events. For reference before buying a road bike I started doing 3-4 hours a week: 2 mid-week spin classes (Tuesday/Thursday) and a 1+ hour weekend ride around the city on a really old mountain bike.

I think this video

does a good job at laying out the different approaches and tradeoffs to structuring a week.


Often times, my compliance issue stems from doing something like this. If the weather is nice, there is a 45 mile route that I love nearby. I will skip the TR Saturday workout and do that ride. It takes me a lot longer than the TR workout would last (how long depends on the day and company). Maybe this is actually helping and not hurting. That would be great.

This looks great and hopefully will help. Thanks, Chad. One small question. I followed your instructions, and because it adds a week total (I think it does), the week of the century ride starts with Washington +2, Mount Baldy +1, and Galena, which I imagine are not a smart thing to do that week.

I compensated by moving the start date back a week to artificially add the week, but that changed the Plan Builder results. Should I just delete the three hard workouts from that week and move up the recovery workouts (Petit and Whori)? Is there a better way?

Thanks again to you both. I appreciate it.


  • I think that sounds reasonable to me, considering the PB limits.
  • Seeing what you learned from the Plan Builder, you could delete it, then add your own plans manually. That allows more easy manual adjustments of deleting and moving weeks around to better match.
  • If you are getting a good workout (and not overdoing it), you are probably winning, not to mention hopefully having a fun ride outside :smiley:
1 Like


1 Like