Leadville 100 on Low Volume Plan

I’m looking for some help on a best approach to training for the Leadville 100. For a little background I will be 63 and this will be my 3rd go at Leadville. First attempt I had an 11:13 min time. Second, 11:57 (used trainer road for that attempt but became less faithful to the plan as summer approached). I have done a lot of research since then and would say I’m a fan of Stephen Seilers Periodized training. I’m not quite ready to commit to TR’s experimental periodized training as the hard structure does not seem hard enough and in general I don’t like the HIIT workouts (I believe their to be better VO2 max workouts).
Other limiters are I have to train at 4:30 am on many week days mornings before work making 1.5 hour trainer rides difficult at that time of day. I have an FTP difference of 30w between indoor and out door rides. My current plan would be to do Low Volume (3 days a week) and do everything else at Z2 out doors with greatly increased Z2 volume as the race approaches. I have proven to be able to be able to carry TSS up to the 700-900 range. My current FTP is 164 but I don’t think that expresses my endurance capabilities (age group podiums twice last year). And I have an eFTP of 194.
Because of my differences in indoor and outdoor FTP I add 30w to my TR workouts when I do them outside and then do not accept the adaptations that TR suggests.
I would be interested to hear what suggestions others have for preparing for Leadville with my specific limiters.

I think your plan is sound, but main concern would be that with you planning to do all your intensity/quality work indoors then you need to get to the bottom of that 30W indoor-outdoor difference as that is huge relative to your FTP. Nearly 20%. Are you using the same power meter indoors and out? If the 30W can’t be explained by different power measurement then it implies there are some pretty big problems with your indoor setup that are going to seriously impact the quality of your indoor workouts. E.g. not enough airflow, too hot, bike setup different to outside, and/or just not enough entertainment meaning you have low motivation.

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If you’re doing a lot of outside Z2 work, you can probably do two high intensity workouts per week (maybe more depending on your overall volume, and how well you recover) - not the one high intensity workout in the TR low volume plans. So I’d say for this reason alone, the TR low volume plans are not the right ones for you.

Regarding what high intensity workouts you like - well that’s somewhat up to you - although a “typical” VO2 max workout will have 3-4 min intervals at 115-120%, with 5-7 repeats. I don’t know if that’s what you are referring to as HIIT, but that’s pretty standard.

For Leadville, I’d augment a pure polarized plan with some long tempo/sweet spot intervals. This is helpful for the long sustained climbs. E.g. my go-to is 60 mins at 85-90%. This would push you towards more of a pyramidal distribution… which is a pretty common distribution for cyclists.

No solution, but stick to the low volume TR plan and supplement the rest with endurance work.

Too many people choosing higher volume plans just because that’s how many hours they have to train. In my experience you’re better off choosing the plan below and supplement the rest with endurance work.

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I agree with your assessment of differences in power. FTP is based on using wheel on trainer (Kickr Snap). Santa brought me a direct drive trainer and I will be doing an FTP assessment in 10 days with new trainer. I’m hoping that much of the variance in indoor vs outdoor will be explained when I reassess. I will also do a power match with my outdoor training bike at ruffly the same time and apply an offset if necessary. I’m well versed on reasons for difference’s in indoor vs outdoor power and I’m hoping the new trainer will be found to help if not alleviate the discrepancy. If not, next step more cooling. Thanks for your input.

Low volume with century specialty or climbing road race specialty and try to get one long 4+ hour ride a week. Try to extend the long ride week by week, that way your used to the saddle time and nutrition will get locked in too.

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Thank you, for your confirmation and input. I do feel like this long Z2 is very beneficial especially for aging athletes doing endurance events.

That doesn’t sound like a low volume plan to me! :smiley:


It isn’t! I have a work schedule that includes 8,10,12, 14 hour days that move around randomly. So I fit training in whenever and wherever I can. I get 5-10 workouts in a week in but since my schedule is so random I have a difficult time of following a pure structured plan. It is pretty easy to do a 1 hour workout on any given day…even the long work days and that is why I picked the low volume.

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Sounds like you are suggesting a lot of sweet spot work. This would be easily accomplished in my 1-1.5h commute to work.

Just kidding around a bit lol. As Dave mentioned TR increases intensity when you go low volume. Some of the progressions in TR mid/high volume plans look better to my eyes but aren’t Plan Builder drop in easy to use in your situation. No easy solution in general, or in your specific case. Like you I look for more aerobic endurance work in a plan, along the lines of 80/20, and found some good plans on TrainingPeaks from reputable coaches and companies. For me that was easier versus “just add endurance” to LV, but it won’t be for everyone.

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Not necessarily “a lot”. Just some.

I live in Colorado and ride a lot of hills. I usually include one SS workout for every VO2 max workout. Then a lot of Z2 and “just ride”. Overall, my intensity distribution ends up pyramidal.

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I live in Golden, Co, so there are plenty of hills to do sweet Spot work on. Thanks for your input. While it’s cool to cold outside it is easy to just plug and play with TR. My knowledge base is good but a great memory is lacking. Building a training plan seems kind of daunting and was just hoping that I could use TR with some modifications. One of my big weakness (like many of us) is my rest week. TR provides suggested
timing for that. As we know Anerobic capabilities are lost quickly. I liked the way TR builds that block into the plan later. Being self coached sometimes feels a little daunting, all I’m looking for is improvement over previous Leadville times. Thanks for your input. I will look at some of the plans available by coachs on TP.

Was in Golden recently for my nephew’s wedding, enjoyed hiking around Table Mountain.

Self-coaching can be daunting, and I think there are well established/proven ways of combining shorter mid-week with longer weekend work. I found success with the FasCat plans (Boulder), and personally like some of the weekend progressions in TR’s full distance triathlon base plan. Your work situation definitely throws a wrench into the best laid plans, so best of luck navigating and have fun training!

You could use the high volume polarized plan from TR. Keep the two intense sessions for indoors, and do the endurance rides outside.

Although, I’d swap the threshold session for a session with long sweet spot intervals instead…

Thanks for your input. Judging by the T-shirt in your profile picture you to have suffered in that Leadville 100 special kind of way. I have been thinking about your suggestion and it seems logical to me. And the substitution of one sweet spot per week is logical as that is really what Leadville is all about. My one reservation is that while I really like TR the VO2 max intervals are not as hard as what I would like to see, so I might substitute there some as well. Are you using the Periodized plan? Are you back in Leadville this year?

There should be plenty of substitutes available. I created this family of VO2max workouts, and these are plenty hard for me.

No. I’m riding SBT GRVL which is the same weekend. I’d like to ride Leadville again in the future - maybe when my kids turn 18 if they’ll ride it with me :slightly_smiling_face:.

I might ride the Silver Rush again - if we’re not on a camping trip in the Tetons that weekend.

I don’t really follow a plan any more, as I like to have the flexibility to go ride my bike when I want to. I do “train” however, and will fit rides into my week with specific goals, generally aiming for a pyramidal distribution.

  • VO2max
  • Sweet Spot
  • Endurance

I’ll do these types of ride indoors or outdoors, depending on weather and time constraints.

Those are exactly the type of Vo2 max workouts I was referring to when I said that the TR Polarized plans were not offering what I wanted. I’m riding Leadville with my 31 y/o son :slight_smile: this year. And will probably be at the Silver Rush. Also, Considered climbing Mt Moran in Last week of July (bad Leadville timing) but plans fell through. Thinking I may start the high volume periodized training in March when it is more friendly outdoors. Thanks for your thoughts.

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