Nervous about endurance event... is TrainerRoad right?

Hi there,

I’ve got a bit of a mess of questions… I wonder if someone could help please?

I’m training for a 200km gravel ride with 4k meters of climbing in 10 weeks time. I’m not planning to race it, my objective is just to be strong enough to enjoy the ride. I’m 47 and although I’m certainly no couch potato I’m no elite athlete either. So I’m feeling nervous / motivated to get my training right.

I’ve loaded up the base training mid volume and am hoping that, with some long outdoor weekend rides, I’ll be in good enough shape. I nearly went for the high volume programme but I worried about burning out. So I’m thinking I’ll supplement the mid volume programme with a longer endurance ride on the trainer, during the week. And I’ll extend the easy endurance ride that I see in the programme each week.

So my questions I guess are about whether my approach seems right:

  1. Is TrainerRoad good for training for a long ride of this type, which I’m not intending to race?
  2. If I just do base training - which appears to be all I’ve got time for - without getting into the build or specialty phases, will that be ok?
  3. Is adding extra low intensity endurance sessions a sensible way forward, do I risk burning out by doing more than the programme and what signs will i see in the data that I may be over cooking it?



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Yes yes and yes. @Nate_Pearson did Leadville using trainer road 2hr rides. You’re in exactly the right place :slight_smile:


You’ll be fine. I completed my first century last summer (a hilly course) with no issues.

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Yes to all your questions - and to add onto @trswem mentioning Nate’s Leadville training - do a search of the podcast for the Leadville episodes.

They talked about it a lot in the episodes leading up to the event and then did several episodes that were purely dedicated to to the event. You’ll get a lot of really great information about training and race strategy.

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Given it’s only 10 weeks away you won’t get into the build or specialty phases and that is just fine. Unless you had a well developed aerobic base anyway that would be recommended.

Longer outdoor rides will also help you, especially if you aren’t used to spending that time in the saddle. I would say work on your nutrition/hydration strategy in those rides rather than pushing yourself to the limits.

Finally, don’t be nervous - you have a good 10 weeks to get some structured training in which is something you have control over. Trust in the process and your fitness will end up pretty close to the best it can be given the time.


Thanks for coming back to me and thanks for the encouragement. I’ll look up Leadville.

Thanks all for quick answers. And positive answers. That’s great. Feeling encouraged by your positivity!


If you are new to long, endurance-type rides you might find this challenging but I would bet not in the ways you are worried about.

When I see people quit endurance rides, it’s not usually because they don’t have the legs and lungs or training for it. Aside from mechanicals, the bailouts usually come down to under-fueling, over-pacing or under-hydration.

Eat before you are hungry. Drink before you are thirsty. Make sure you are getting some salt either via your drinks or your food. I find some protein helps later in the day, in addition to the simple carbs that will be the foundation of your nutrition.

Make decisions in the start of the day that end-of-the-day you will approve of. That means don’t turn on the afterburners when your legs feel good. Look for a pace above “social” but below “training,” and pin it there. You’ll find it can last basically for as long as you have fuel in your system. If you want to go harder as the day wears on, you’ll be able to make that call with more information after you know how the first part of the ride went.

Good luck!


Thank you. Good tips. Appreciated!

Yes yes and yes. But if you don’t have previous experience with rides around 200km, I would at least do 2 rides of 150-160km before. Why? 2 hours in the saddle is something different than 8hrs. It will give you a rough idea about how your bum will feel. You can also test with your food and drinks like mentioned before.

Anyway, good luck and enjoy the ride (start slow, you have more then time enough to speed up)


Dirty Riever?



Please, please, please do some long endurance rides when you can. This way you can try out your nutrition, pacing, etc. TR is great and all, but the tried and trued long ride is still a huge benefit. Not saying you have to go out there and crank out 200 kms @JamesFulford
3-5 hour rides with minimal stopping will go a long way.


I am riding Land’s End to John O’Groats this September. That’s very nearly 1000 miles over 9 days. TR forms the backbone of my training, plus outdoor rides of steadily increasing distances with back-to-back rides thrown in for good measure.


If it’s the dirty reiver, last year I PBd based on mainly trainer road workouts with a few outdoors sessions.

This will be year four of the DR for me and I’m 99% trainer road workouts for it


Dirty Reiver!

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Nice one Jonny. That’s good to hear. That’s basically my plan.

And for those people sensibly suggesting longer outdoor rides… thank you - that’s definitely the plan too. That’s the kind of riding I’m used to. What I’m NOT used to, is a long gravel ride with that much climbing. Or using a training plan.

But I’m feeling pretty reassured based on all the replies here.


Good luck with that Bill!

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Firstly, it’s a great event. One of the best organised I know. The whole thing is brilliant fun and the feed zones are superb and really well stocked.

None of the climbs are super steep, just long. It’s not overly technical and you can keep up a fast pace.

Please, please, please go tubeless. If you do nothing else, go tubeless

Also, go tubeless. Seriously

Good gearing will help. I run a 50/34 and 11-34 but go as easy as you can.

Pack every item of cycle clothing you own. 2016 I had rain, sleet, wind, snow, hail and sun… all in one day. 2017 and 2018 were sunny and warm. But the early mornings are always cold… 3-4 degrees. Choose what you need based on what the forecast is when you wake up.

They are not joking about there being no phone signal coverage.

Keep your training up, do a few long rides and you’ll be grand.

If you really are struggling you can cut off at around 110k and take the 130k route. But you won’t need to I’m sure

Any more questions, just ask


Agree with all the previous. Last year I did a 100 mile MTB with 10,000 feet of climbing and 90% singletrack. I signed up 5 weeks before the event and my longest ride had been 3 hours. This was all before I found TrainerRoad. Just to add on top of the already given good advice:

  • Test your nutrition and hydration strategy before event with a couple long rides (3-5 hrs).

  • Try nothing new on race day that hasn’t been proven to work based on past experience (food, hydration or gear).

  • You will have plenty of fitness, your biggest challenge will be mental during the final 25% of the event. Stay positive and strong and know that when your mind gives up, your body has only actually used about 40% of it capability.


Yep - only heard / read good things. Excited to be doing it. And yes, I’d heard advice on going tubeless and have switched.

No phone signal and the relative remoteness of it is definitely a thing. The fact you’ve got to take an emergency whistle and a space blanket a. makes me laugh and b. freaks me out a bit. Truly gotta be self-sufficient.

One question… the videos I’ve seen look like it’s mainly fire track / made paths. No single track…? Is that right? And if not, what’s the mix of surfaces like - that’s really going to make a lot of difference to how hard it is?

The mental side of it is definitely a potential challenge. I guess just knowing I’ve done the training will help a lot.

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