Implementation and modification of TR plan for gran fondo focused race season

Dear Trainer Road Community,

In addition to the awesome podcast, I have been following the discussions on the forum - great stuff and a lot of know-how here!

As written in the description of the topic, my race season is focused on Gran Fondos. This season I would like to try to use TR for preparation (worked with a coach last year). However, I have a few questions and would be thankful for your advice. First some info on myself:

  • Age 29
  • FTP over 1 hour 300 Watts, last season peak was 315, targeting 325 @ 65 kg this season
  • Second season following a training plan (worked with a coach last season but would like to use TR)
  • Races will be Gran Fondos in Central Europe, e.g. Engadiner Radmarathon @ 211km with 3500m climbing and Ötztaler Radmarathon @ 238km with 5000m climbing

Now my questions:

  1. What plan to chose?
  • Build: Sustained Power - mid volume
  • Specialty - mid volume: Century or Climbing Road Race? From what I read the Century plan is more for people who just want to finish the race, whereas the Climbing Road Race is more geared towards people competing. I am not competing for the podium but feel I have surpassed the level where I “just” want to finish
  1. How to adapt plan to long base rides?
  • I know the theory of the plan says that you do not need any other workouts than the ones in the plan but I just like riding my bike too much, especially on the weekends.
  • How would you adapt the plan to fit either one or two longer rides in on the weekend?
  • If you only do one longer ride on the weekend which of the TR workouts would you replace?
  • What type of workouts would you do when riding longer? Only base, or also include some form sprints and some longer sweet spot work on climbs?
  • How fast do you increase the TSS of the longer rides and how (volume vs intensity)?
  1. Tapering using TR
  • How do you taper and what TR workouts to you do preceeding the event if your plan does not perfectly end on event day?
  1. Riding outside
  • Once weather permits I will be riding outside as much as possible. How do you upload the workouts onto your wahoo? I am currently considering just recreating them in Training Peaks.

I look forward to your answers and would love to keep you up to date with my progress :slight_smile:

Please feel free to refer to other forum posts where I can read up or TR podcasts that should answer my questions. I feel similar questions have been discussed before!

Cheers,

elvis

Are you going to be attacking others or responding to attacks? If not then go with Century.

It’s not simply for those aiming to finish. The demands of a self-paced gran fondo are different from an actual race.

There is pretty good info on the forum and TR blog about including outdoor rides into your plan.

Re: tapering - these are built into the plans and generally consist of rest weeks at much lower TSS. I think if you want to homebrew your own the rule of thumb is to reduce the time you spend on the bike but maintain intensity. The aim of that period is to reduce your stress whilst maintaining your fitness.

The difference between Century and CRR is that CRR includes more over-threshold efforts required to respond to (or initiate?) attacks.

In the context of a Fondo, the fastest way up the mountain is a sustained effort just below threshold, and Century is a better fit for these demands than CRR, even if you are looking to set a very fast time, rather than just completing ahead of the cutoff time.

https://support.trainerroad.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005942626-Weekend-Workout-Modifications has information about adapting the plan for weekend rides.

The recovery week at the end of each training block should be a reasonable taper.

I don’t think you can download onto head units. Probably the better way is to find terrain locally that generally matches the demands of workouts - eg. 3 minute climbs, 20 minute climbs, etc.

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Short story - Last October I was riding up to Pico de las Nieves in Gran Canaria when I found myself riding with a guy called Mathias. I’m in the blue, he’s at the front - and it’s not just perspective making him look tiny. He was like Pantani. I didn’t last long on his wheel; he was on the front chatting away while I was 20 watts over threshold.

Anyway I got home and looked on Strava, and it turns out he won the Ötztaler Radmarathon last year. He also runs a training business on Gran Canaria and counts Trek-Segafredo as his clients. It’s called Nom Training - maybe if you give him an email he might be kind enough to offer some tips about that specific event?

I think I can see why he rode away from you - his socks are pulled right up and yours seem to be in some kind of aero-drag-inducing rolled-down state :wink:

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Hello together,

thanks for your answers this far.

@Willball12 and @mcalista :

  • I completely understand your input on the choice of the training plan. I will then stick with the Century, as I do not plan on attacking anyone except for my last season’s results :smiley:
  • Between my two A-races I have eight weeks off. Three of these weeks I will be cycletouring, so only doing base. The remaining four I thought of doing the first four weeks of the Climbing Road Race plan in order to get the intensity in. What do you think?
  • RE the taper: I know the plans have taper weeks built in, I was just wondering if the taper week prior to the event is not too little intensity. Only doing Petit and Townsend may cause the form to decrease. I am tending towards incorporating some shorter sweetspot efforts and form sprints

@martinheadon:

  • I have heard of Matthias and his business. Not sure how much info he will share without me becoming a client, but one can always ask :wink:

Generally, how would you structure the outdoor rides, especially with regard to progression?

Thanks for your answers!

When you have skinny calves but big feet, that is a constant hazard!

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@willball12 @mcalista
I have the same objectives (GF) and, therefore, the same doubt, if follow CRR or century plan: last year I followed the CRR increasing some effort in the short term (<5’) but I had problems over long distances (GF Sportful).
so you say that it may be due to the chosen plan and that I should opt for the century?

Between two A-races I generally do, for the first half time, the first or the second part (depending on my recovery) of my Build plan and, for the other half, a part of the specialty

As for tapering I never use the recover week of TR but a normal week, same intensity and frequency, simply decreasing the time (50-75% depending on the type of race).