Century Training and Plan Builder

I used Plan Builder to create a plan for me for this ride: 2023 SDGF Route · Ride with GPS (last year’s course, am assuming this year will be basically the same). I’m doing a masters low volume plan and prior to TrainerRoad, I had essentially no experience with intervals on my bike (I’d done intervals before on my Airdyne). I’m doing all my rides outside.

I have two questions as I’m looking over my plan (I’m three weeks into it already):

  1. The longest ride plan builder has me doing is 90 minutes. I anticipate the ride I’m going to do at the end of April will take me between 6.5 and 7.5 hours of actual riding time. While I know I probably don’t need to do a really long ride prior to the event, I’m thinking it might still be a good idea. (My longest ride to date was a metric century in June 2023, which went fine.) Thoughts on subbing one of the workouts towards the end of my plan for a ~60 mile ride with roughly the same ft per mile elevation gain as the ride I’m training for?

  2. If I do sub a workout in my plan for a long ride, I’m thinking of replacing either a threshold ride or a VO2max ride. I haven’t done any VO2max rides yet, so I don’t know whether those are more or less challenging than the threshold rides. I’m guessing more and if that’s right, then I’d lean towards substituting the long ride for a VO2max ride.

I know that course - it’s a pretty long day in the saddle. I’d say keep your plan as is with your intensity session and try to have a long endurance ride during the weekends. What’s worked for me is to say make my long weekend ride 3 hours at an all day pace for a 3-4 weeks, then increase it to 4 hours for another 3-4 weeks, then try to get to 5 hours for 3-4 weeks. At that point you’ll have built up some solid endurance and have a very good idea of how hard you can ride for multiple hours while getting your fueling requirements down.

Good luck on your training plan. Oh, and pay attention to how you are recovering form your training and what is taking a toll on you and make adjustments along the way.


I second the increasing the long rides as said above. With 6000 feet of climbing I would try to work some hills into some of those longer rides

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Thank you both for your responses. I unfortunately don’t have a 4th day in the week to devote to riding on any kind of consistent basis. I can probably find a couple of weeks where I can throw in a long weekend ride on top of the TR rides, but that will be about it. Both of your responses have rekindled my suspicion that I might be better off following a more traditional plan for getting ready for this ride.

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I have gotten through a similar deal a few years back when I decided to do a one day StP (double century, 208miles). And I got some nasty flu at the most critical part of the training. Still made it in just over 10 hours and partied until 2am that day. My advice is, definitely do at least half the distance at least once. It’s not even just about fitness. If your bike or shoe fit is not perfect, you might not notice on a 2 hour ride but you might get into a lot of pain at hour 6. If you don’t understand your nutritional needs you might spend the last few hours of your long ride looking for the next closest bathroom because you have severe diarrhea. I’ve seen all of that and more happen at StP. For me I spent the money on a pro bike fit, custom molded shoes (still use them now, love Bont), and messed around with saddles until I found one that worked really well. And I more or less knew what to do for food and water (in my case the key piece is LOTS of sea salt and some real food like raisins, not so much gels and straight water). I have not seen anyone that struggled to finish because they ran out of fitness, it was mostly those kind of problems or inability to pace well and blowing up half way in.


Don’t stress about it. My training for the Mallorca 312 (195miles) was pre TR and my coach had me doing sub 1h training sessions (threshold and VO2max) and on the weekend the group 3h rides at the weekend and occasionally extending those weekend rides by an hour or two. I’d keep your VO2max and threshold stuff and substitute your weekend rides only as and when you can for an outdoors ride. But as you are on a LV plan do all the indoor stuff and add the outdoors rides at the weekends. Good luck :+1:


Hey there!

1 – You’re right that you don’t necessarily need to do long rides to prepare for a longer event, but we do agree that it’s still a good idea! It can be a great way to test out your equipment, nutrition/hydration plan, and your bike fit to make sure everything is dialed in for that extra time in the saddle. Getting out for that 60 miler you mentioned is definitely worth it to get a feel for those things and then to make any changes you may deem necessary before race day.

2 – We’d advise keeping whatever workout(s) in your plan most closely resemble the efforts you’ll be making during the event. Since VO2 Max workouts a generally shorter, higher intensity intervals, I think you’re on the right track with choosing those to sub out. For a 6.5-7.5 hour long ride, you’ll probably find yourself pushing mostly into Threshold territory (while ideally keeping things more in the Sweet Spot or Tempo range for such a long day). Those VO2 workouts will still help you prepare physiologically, though, so they’re still useful as part of your plan!

Hope that helps! Feel free to let us know if you have any additional questions. :slight_smile:


This is not only bike fit or shoe fit but getting the body fully prepared for a 7h bike ride, no? Personally would require me now at least multiple 3/4 hours rides, even with 6 years? biking under the belt where I did such long rides more than once

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Very helpful, thank you! I will definitely do the 60 miler and I will probably do it a little further out from the ride than I might otherwise. If it ends up being a sufferfest because I’m just not ready for that much saddle time, I will then have time to do a few more longer rides to get my body ready.

In my situation when I do the longer ride(s), if I do that as an unstructured ride, will TR take that into account for progression levels? Edit: Or should I try to find TR rides that somewhat match the ride I’m planning to do?

No not yet.
TR is not going to punish you for doing an unstructured ride and skipping the scheduled workout.

That’s good! I actually meant will I get positive credit for the unstructured rides.

Not yet. It will add TSS and hours for the week for that ride.
It does not have the ability to analyze those rides yet.
There is a very lengthy thread on this.

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If you have a PM it will analyse the unstructured ride and use it for AI Ftp

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This is one of the struggles I have with TrainerRoad. Within the platform, it incentivizes you to stick to the workouts but 90 min endurance ride training can’t take the place of a 4-6 hour ride training on the road, for all a long outdoor ride entails.

In the past, I’ve done LV plans but included progressively longer endurance rides outdoors until I get to about 75-85% of the distance two weeks before the event, increasing distance and elevation as time allows. I subbed this for the 90 min endurance workout and then just matched the ride to the workout. You have to be able to practice bike handling, decision-making, nutrition and hydration over that extended period of time – no practice of which you’ll get on the trainer. You also need to dial in what an endurance pace feels like on the road. Your perception of this will be skewed by the shorter interval workout and you could actually blow yourself up if you’re too accustomed to short, high intensity workouts.


When you say this, do you mean that if you knew your long ride was going to be 3ish hours, you looked for a 3ish hour TR endurance workout to sub for the endurance workout that was in the plan? Something like this is what I was considering though I’ll probably sub out the VO2max ride when I do this.

Actually, I keep the one-hour workouts during the week, and instead of the 90 minute TR workout, I go out and do a longer ride. The nature of the outdoor ride (distance, elevation) depends on how far out the event is, and each week I increase either the distance or elevation until two weeks before the event when I get to roughly 75-85% of the distance and elevation. The week before the event is a taper and I’ll stick to all TR for that, unless I feel like going out one more time instead of the 90 min TR ride, but the distance will be shorter.

I try to match elevation profiles to my target event with what I can find around me – so if the event has an early and late climb, I map routes each week that have early and late climbs, etc.

The long rides I do outdoors in place of the TR 90 min ride might go like this:

Week 1: 55.0 miles, 3,000 ft
Week 2: 65.0, 3,000
Week 3: 65.0, 3,500
Week 4: 75.0, 4,000
Week 5: 75.0, 4,500
Week 6: 82.0, 4,500
Taper week: TR workout as scheduled
Event: 109.5, 4,222

After I finish the outdoor ride, it syncs into TR and I go into the item and “Match” it to the TR workout scheduled for that day. That way, per TR I’ve done the workout and it should keep my training on track.

If for any reason I can’t do the outdoor ride, then I stick with the TR workout. However, I think there’s a lot of value of getting out as much as possible and managing being on the bike for these lengths of time.


I get what you are doing now. Thank you for taking the time to clarify!

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