Century training plan: when to start? What would follow it?

Hi folks,

Road/gravel/former track racer from Minneapolis who has mostly been focused on running this winter due to a lack of trainer setup. I’ve just signed up for my first century and I’ve got my rig all set up and ready to roll.

My goals are to be ready for my gravel century by mid-May and continue to do longer gravel rides throughout the summer and fall.

My training plan starts Saturday and is 8 weeks, going from now through March 25.

I’d love input from folks as to what’s a good way to keep going strong for the month and a half between the end of training and my first century. I’ll also continue cross training with some running and weight training.


Since you have a ~6 week gap, I’d throw in a SSB plan before you start the century plan (I’m assuming you’re using a TR plan). I think it would be more ideal to have that Century plan end close to the event and not well before then try to maintain the fitness for another six weeks. If you think you have enough base fitness, then I’d go with half of a Build, general or sustained, which is 4 weeks and then go into the Century plan. With the build only being 4 weeks, you could stretch it out to 4 weeks of build the a week of recovery, then go into the century plan and build in an extra week to buffer in case something goes wrong one week.

I definitely would want my specialty training plan closer toward the beginning of the event.

yep, using a TR plan. That’s probably a good idea. I stupidly did an FTP test yesterday having been off my bike (other than maybe once a week or so) most of the winter, and I have some building up to do. Running definitely helped my aerobic abilities, but there’s work to be done.

Thanks - appreciate the input!

Out of curiosity, are you riding the Almanzo?

Echoing what @thebigbadox said, you’d do well to incorporate a SSB plan in there. If you’re doing the Almanzo you’ve got ~11 weeks to play with and having some base fitness would be more helpful than attempting to maintain after having jumped into the century plan.

Yep, it’s the Almanzo. I’ll definitely start with the SSB plan. Last year I did the Hero gravel in Stillwater which was around 65 miles or something, and that was fairly brutal without building up to training (and hilly as hell), but I finished.

Also Almanzo is in Northfield this year, so a whole different deal. I’m stoked.

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Hey @tarascottswanson!

Congrats on making the commitment to your first Century!

I thought I would chime in and mention that all of our Plans are designed to be done in order of Base>Build>Specialty. The Century plan is a Specialty plan, so we really recommend having completed a Base and a Build phase before embarking on this plan. In the case of training, the groundwork is the most important part, while the Specialty phase is more of a refinement of your fitness.

So it sounds like you have a total of 14 weeks until your event. The best way to prepare for any event is “from the ground up”, so I would recommend:

SSB I (6 Weeks)
SSB II (6 Weeks)
Sustained Power Build (Week 1)
Century (Week 8) - This week is the taper week that is specifically designed to prime you for your event

And as for your FTP test being a little lower than you thought, don’t sweat it! Your FTP is just a number used to customize your workouts to your current fitness level. As your fitness increases, you’ll retest and watch that number increase :boom:

Best of luck with your preparation!


Thanks, Bryce! I appreciate it. Question: By SSB I and II are the I’s and II’s in reference to first doing low volume, then doing mid volume?

EDIT: nevermind! I see the I and II options. Thanks!

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