Intervals for ultra cycling training?

Cycling 3 to 4 years with a few 500km rides under my belt. Planning on breaking the 1000km mark ‘non stop’ next year and would like to know if putting 3 workouts together for e.g.“an endurance 3 hours workout , 2 hours tempo workout and finishing with some threshold intevals” would be something that could be done to emulate a hilly long outdoor ride?? New to TR but finding it great :+1:t4:

I think it will be difficult to do ‘quality’ threshold intervals after 5 hours of other intervals on the trainer. Would you really be doing climbs at threshold after 5 hours on one of your long rides? From a workout point of view, I’d consider reversing the order you have - the hard stuff first, so you can complete the hard intervals at the proper intensity, then drop the intensity over time to build up endurance, and to work your muscles at a lower pace when they are glycogen depleted. “What is a quality workout for ultra events?” is a different question to “how do I simulate an ultra event with an interval?” - both are valid, with probably different answers.

I’m also interested in other views on training for very long rides on the trainer - in my case how to help build durability for the very long rides. How do I develop the durability to do a 24 hour ride without injury with shorter trainer rides? Analogous to this is how to find fit or other issues that are more likely to show up on really long rides in a shorter amount of time (shorter here may still be a long trainer ride.) Maybe there aren’t any shortcuts :slight_smile: but any pointers are welcome. I’m currently nursing a sore knee after an everesting - I think I like the really long rides, but if I’m going to do more I need to be able to do them without injuring myself…

I can’t help you…never done even 300 miles my self. Just wanted to say GOOD LUCK! Sounds like fun to me.

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First of all, this may be of interest for you:

Then, you may want to check RAAM winner Christoph Strasser. He’s quite open about his training. Not sure what’s available in English though. He’s doing quite some intensity, e.g. threshold, slightly above threshold, intervals.

I compete in MTB endurance events. 7-15hours. I make the podium in my AG every once in a while and I consider intensity quite important (I mention this for context setting, not for bragging). O.k., MTB is slightly different because to be competitive you have to go with the fast guys in the beginning. And even in long races they rush off like in a XCO race. You have to be capable of going with them.

However, I see a huge benefit for intensity late in a long training ride. The purpose is fatigue resistance building, not improving your FTP. You have to train you’re body to cope with the time point when it gets “dark”. When you look at the time splits of top pack vs mid pack you’ll see that the top pack is not that much faster initially. They simply keep up the pace longer. A solid endurance base. High fatigue resistance. And of course, a high FTP never hurts.


Examples from Strasser, prep for 24h WC

or a winter indoor session

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and perphaps google translate can help with this:

Fellow long distance sufferer here. Done 24 hr racing and 200k - 400k rides, also considering PBP next year.

At those distances it’s about being able to maintain the output, so good nutrition and pacing is critical as well as bike comfort. I just do my normal workouts but with substituted outdoor rides of increased distance where I focus on a steady yet decent pace. I don’t have a PM on my outdoor bike so I have to use my own perception of effort and HR to make sure I don’t go too deep.

But the biggest thing for me is developing and sustaining mental toughness. If you’ve ridden 500k non stop you already have that

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Good advice there. Nutrition and mental toughness are major points which I think I’m starting to get on top off. I’ve started the General build mid volume and only on my 3rd workout which was Carpathean peak which was bloody tough and I dug deep to get it done. Will go on to road race climbing and maybe Century then along with a long outdoor ride at the weekend. I’ve never done interval stuff but mostly long slow stuff which has helped keeping me on the bike for long, ie: 555km in 32.5 hours in 2017 and the same 555km in 27.5 hours in 2018 but was a little disappointed because I never actually got a lot faster as it was more improving nutrition and being able to stay on the bike longer which I was still happy with. I’m hoping these workout plans will give my speed a lift for next year’s 555km😀. One thing I would love to have on TR is a 4 or 5 hours workout at endurance pace but which contains 2 or 3 gradual 10 to 15 min climbs incorporated in it. I’d definitely use them when I can’t get out on the road during the winter😀

Workout Creator is made for you. Very easy to put a long pyramid type stretch in to simulate and long climb then a long downhill , some flat and repeat.

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@teamkennyg Donegal atlantic way by any chance?

Beat me to it.

You can adjust, extend, amend existing workouts our create your own new one entirely.

I use it regularly to modify existing workouts based on my own needs.

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Use the workout creator! :sunglasses::raised_hands:

Yeah Johnyboy😀

Yeah, work out creator sounds great. My laptop not the newest so hopefully It’ll let me do it. Thanks👍🏽

Thought so, I’m on the same wet island as you :wink:

If you’ve done that race twice you won’t have any issue with motivation, but joking aside it can run completely different depending on the weather conditions as well.

Ha! WorkoutCreator isn’t for everybody! :wink: It doesn’t work for me & TR was never able to resolve the issue.

I don’t see much reason to mix HIIT with endurance rides on the same day. In 2011 after my 600k, my preparation for PBP mostly consisted of short, hard rides. My legs felt good all 4 days. Of course, that’s not quite the same thing as 1000k straight through, but I don’t see any reason to expect that training should be much different for an endurance ride as anything else. You want your training to increase your FTP (for lack of a better metric) and then on the ride itself, you need to avoid going too hard as much as possible. For me, anything over 300km seems to lower my fitness a little, so I don’t ride that far as training. 300k seems to help.

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Hoping we can resume this thread (and I have searched for others - good reads)
I am getting into these ‘sprint’ ultra rides; which are c 1000km
So not as epic as TCR which are 10-15 days
These are c45-60 hrs in total

Did one already and loved it
It’s just about riding your bike, plodding along and eating. I am built for this !

I also do ‘normal’ riding and racing, so have a pretty well balanced training plan

Quite a lot of people recommend back to back 5-6hr rides instead of 10hr ones
I believe you get 99% of the physiological gains after 5hrs; and as long as you know you can mentally do 12hr + rides you dont need to replicate these often in training

Any other tips?

Do people do long low tempo intervals, or mid tempo
Or 1hr or so of SS etc

Or mix it up?

Do you try and improve fat adaption, or because pace is low enough thats less important and ability to ride and eat is?

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I wouldn’t do much more than what you’re doing for the 500k rides. You could do higher intensity stuff on shorter rides, but if you’re riding 1000k, going deep probably isn’t a great idea at any point in time! Good luck

@teamkennyg I know you know who this guy is:

But I’ll throw it out there anyhow. Try some of the things a national champion does.

Hope to see you out there next year!