No long rides worry

Just started with tr, and I have a 5hr mtb race in 6wks. My base is excellent, but the training plans longest ride is 2hrs. Ive been on the over 50s podium twice so not a newbie. Id appreciate comments but i dont think 1.5 to 2hrs is enough for an endurance ride.

I suppose you’ll get the answer:
“Don’t worry, you train the relevant energy system, not a duration, so you can do a 10h ride with 1.5h/2h training sessions.”
There is for sure some truth to this, but you can pick a longer alternate for the longest scheduled workout and add some extra endurance anytime :slight_smile:


I dont think 6 weeks is really long enough away to really worry - you’ll be doing plenty of work and you dont need much aerobic work to maintain your current level anyway. Conversely you could argue that 6 weeks isnt long enough to really see any gains from long aerobic rides anyway! If you’re well used to the demands of the race and dont need to ‘practise’ the distance then don’t worry.

6 weeks will however potentially make a significant difference in higher intensity capabilities that will potentially also benefit your endurance over the race.

Good luck.

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So do a longer ride. You are experienced and know how much you can handle. You can take the intervals and do them during long ride and do simple aerobic long ride.


+1: what I’ve done is pick a lower volume training plan and “complement” it with a longer endurance ride


Especially as far as I know this longer rides are very helpful to maintain your gains from the base period. TR simply does not include them in plans as no one was doing them.

If the 2hr rides have been on the trainer, your fitness should be OK (based on my experience)

Where you will suffer is shoulders / neck / wrists as these don’t get a work out on the trainer. I’d do at least a couple of 3.5hr rides outside


I wouldn’t worry 5 hours on the turbore would be unproductive anyway and the plan although shorter than 5 hours will have had you doing higher intensity work anyway that will have actually raised your longer term endurance. What you might want to do is some outdoor rides of about 75% of your race distance before the event just to let your body know what to expect but with the higher intensity shorter TR sessions you’ve already got the fitness :+1:

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I just wouldn’t worry, roll in a few longer weekend rides where you can but Nate talked about how he did Leadville on no more than 2 hour trainer rides. Personally I did Dartmoor classic this year with 90 mins my longest on the trainer. Did a 3 and 4 hour outside ride I. The build up to test nutrition but that’s it.

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I did the Belgian wafuer ride in Asheville 58 miles 6k climbing with a couple long rides to make sure bike comfort was good leading into the event. Mostly I just followed the plan and longest rides were 2 hours long. I got 9th in my age group and I live in Florida where we don’t have hills just bridges.
Make sure you have a solid nutrition plan that works for YOU and just pace yourself.


I think the TR crew would also say that you should be doing some outside rides over those 6 weeks to maintain your skills, test your equipment/nutrition/etc. So make 1 or 2 of those rides longer rides.

The 2hr rides on the plan are Outdoor rides. Its tempting to stick to the plan and see what happens, but I’ll be doing 4hrs single track most Saturdays. As UKCarl said. “shoulders/ arms/ wrists”.

Totally this. 3-4 four to six hour rides in the next 6 weeks will be perfect


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Also nutrition and pacing.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that this is one of the few areas that really irks me when I hear “the crew” say it. Let’s just say for the sake of discussion that you can train all relevant energy systems at (let’s say again) 2hr max ride. Great. You also need to learn to eat over 6 hours, hold your body up for six hours, mentally focus for six hours, learn how your chamois feels after 4+, etc. I just do not subscribe to the idea that we shouldn’t ride long in training too.

I think the reason that Nate et al can pull it off is that they have the decades of cycling experience to know that all of the things listed above won’t affect them. OP, maybe you do too. But for someone who is working towards a first century, first 6 hour ride, etc, absolutely I think they should ride long in training too.


On the most recent podcast Jonathon gave an example of him doing exactly this…

Fitness wise - I don’t think you get anything extra riding for 4 hours outdoors than you would get from 2 on the turbo (obviously 2 hours outside can be effectively a lot less if there are lots of stops, descents, coasting).

But all the other stuff is totally valid and I think you’re misrepresenting the “TR crew” with your post here.

Oh another thing - there used to be longer weekend rides in most of the TR plans but nobody was actually doing them (since most TR users, and in fact most humans, don’t like doing more than say 90 minutes on the turbo) so they took them out and replaced them with 90 minute alternatives on the whole. But the week tips, if you read them, advise replacing them with longer and lower intensity rides if you like. The idea being it’s better to do a 90 minute ride than to bin off the 150 minute ride and do nothing.

Fitness wise, you are probably fine with that plan.

Personally, I ignore it. I like to enjoy riding my bike. I use a low volume plan and do the two weekly interval workouts, and then do whatever the hell I want on the weekend.

No amount of time on the trainer, or even rollers, will prepare you for actually riding your bike.

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No need to worry. Ideally you’d get a ride in similar conditions 60 - 70% of the duration of the event, but not 100% needed.

Sorry but this is just plain wrong. Volume is one of the biggest things you can do to move the needle in endurance sports. If this wasn’t true then pro riders wouldn’t be pushing their volume north of 20hrs/wk. 2 hours on the trainer is great and a pretty difficult milestone to hit but there are lots of aerobic adaptations that will take place on a 4 hour ride vs a 2 hour ride.

Will they create a big enough difference to notice in the next 6 weeks? Maybe, but not super likely. But in the long term if you did a 4 hour ride every Sunday instead of a 2 hour ride then you would likely gain some pretty large benefits.


It is not plain wrong.

Pro riders do 20 hours a week because they have 20 hours a week. There’s clearly incremental gains in riding longer - I don’t dispute that.

2 hours of properly structured riding on the turbo is likely to be more productive than a much longer ride outside for exactly the reasons above - you have to stop at lights/junctions, coasting/descending, easing up due to road conditions traffic etc… I have to ride 30+ minutes to get to roads which are any use for intervals for a start. I usually work on about a 1.5:1 or so ratio for outdoor rides and turbo equivalents.

Most of us aren’t pros and don’t have 20 hours a week of spare time - if I was purely focused on fitness gains and was choosing between a 3ish hour outdoor ride and a 2 hour turbo, the 2 hour turbo is the better option. I usually don’t do that, because I am at least partly focused on enjoying my time on the bike, obviously, but it’s more relevant for me if I only have 60-90 minutes to ride when the turbo is pretty clearly the better option if it is supposed to be a certain type of intervals.

Personally I do both at the weekend anyway - there’s two days so a nice 3-5 hour outdoor ride one day and a 1.5-2 hour TR workout the other works well for me (weather dependent).