One hour and a half is the longest workout for Grand Fondo - Why?

There’s no discussion to be found about the topic. Maybe I am not using the right key word. I am planning on doing a 106 miles hilly ride in four months and the GF plans longest workout ride is only an hour and a half. Is this right?

Thank you in advance

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I’ve wondered this as well. I’m on the Fondo plan for three gravel centuries that I’ve got this season. It seems that the focus is on sweet spot and threshold work which has greatly improved my endurance as well. The system is working. I went out for an 80 mile, 7000 ft ride. To my surprise, my NP was a solid 15% over what it was last year.


Triathalon plans aside, TR puts a workout length cap of 2 hours on all mid and high volume training plans, and a cap of 1.5 hours for all workouts in low volume plans. I think they start with the overall time allotment and then divvy it up in the most efficient way. Plenty of people use the low volume plans and then add one or two long (>2hrs) additional rides/workouts instead of moving up to mid or high volume plans.

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Because it is targeted to a “time crunched athlete”, which likely describes a significant amount of TR users. Are max 1.5hr rides best way to prepare for a fondo? Absolutely not, but if majority of people complete a 1.5hr ride where they’d fail a 3hr ride then both TR and the users/athletes will see far better results.


Also riding for 5 hours is not the same for training for 5 hours. There’s a LOT of z2 in a fondo.
And it’s about training energy systems not just riding a duration.

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The idea is that the blocks of intensity you are doing inside of that two hours will easily translate to longer hours at lower intensity. I’ve found this works. In fact in my own training away from TR plans I’ve added very very long sweet spot blocks to help with road race prep. Like 30-50 minute blocks of sweet spot.

Also keep in mind that the efficiency of riding on the trainer is way higher than on the road. If you look at outside workouts there is a ‘time coasting’ block in the ride analysis. Even when I’m trying to put pressure on the pedals the whole time I still find I’m around 15-20%. Whereas on the trainer its all pressure on pedals all the time.

Hope that helps?


Sure, for many, but what if they want to complete it mostly at sweet spot or tempo for a faster time than just getting around?

There is lots of discussion on this topic, it comes up every couple of weeks, but yes it can be a difficult thing to search for. I think this resource probably covers most aspects of it: Preparing For Big Events With Low Volume Training - TrainerRoad Blog


How many hours per week do you have to train?

because an event is 4hrs doesn’t mean you need to train for 4hrs at SST. In fact if you’re capable of doing 4hrs at SST you’re FTP is likely set too low.

Again, its about training energy systems. You can push where/when you need to, you can recover adequately between efforts, and you can get around faster than just “pedaling around”.


You are self coached, using this software as guidance.

If you want to do a long ride for prep, go do a long ride. Skip the weekend workout and go outside.


Not for Traditional base…lots of 2.5 to 3 hour rides.

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Indeed, and they used to mention an option for swapping out a typical Sweet Spot ride on Sunday (Mid & High Vol) for a longer Endurance ride. Those were typically 2.5 hours and longer.

The changes with AT mean I don’t know for sure where to find that now, but it used to be in the Weekly Notes that get added to the starting annotation for each training week.

As mentioned above this comes up every few weeks.

The Weekly Tips used to give advice about swapping the 1.5hr weekend rides (on the LV plans) for longer outside rides if you had the time. Not sure if that’s still there.

From what TR have said, they used to have longer weekend rides in the plans but hardly anyone was actually completing them (most people won’t do workouts much above 90 minutes on the turbo - although people keen enough to post on here are possibly/maybe more likely to do longer turbo rides).

Therefore if the choice is between doing 90 mins or doing nothing, it is better to do 90 mins.

In any case this should change soonish if they move towards allowing you to specify the time to train on different days (something Nate’s trailed), and then adjusting those within the AT framework.

They just answered a question about swapping Sunday rides in the latest podcast. They basically said make it 50-75% longer than the original planned workout. So if you have a 90 minute sweet spot workout choose a productive 2.5 hour workout. I don’t want to hack what they suggested at the time of 1:46

I personally try to do 1 long ride of 4 hours a month, zone 2. That always helps, the Sunday sweet spot comes in handy when I work 6 days a week, like this week.


I’m hoping to do a 12 hr (hilly lap) MTB race in July , in complete contrast to my winter cyclo X race season.
I was thinking the Grand Fondo plan would be good, as the event is all about energy conservation.
I would do low volume, add in a 6 hour mtb ride(outdoors) and a 2.30-3 hour TR ride(indoors) / week, or if not got enough time I would do the 6 hour ride every 2 weeks.
On the 6 hour ride I would try out planned eating and drinking strategies , with some experimentation, so I would know what will work best in the race.
I think the OP could do similar, adding in 1 or 2 extra workouts to LV.
I just scroll through the list of workouts over 2 hours ,and pick one that suits.

FWIW Lydia I would recommend you take a look at TR’s full distance triathlon plan. The cycling portion assumes you are also doing run and swim workouts, so it’s not optimized for cycling only, but to my eyes it’s the only TR plan designed to build a strong aerobic engine by insisting on long low intensity rides and not taking the “not enough athletes are doing the work, let’s shorten and raise compliance” approach of the other plans. The founder of my coaching company had this to say: Alternate workouts - #7 by FRANK - Training Plans - FasCat Forum


I have ridden maybe 10 fondos, and I would strongly suggest completing some some long rides in the weeks and months prior to the event, but this is more for trouble-shooting, mental prep, and injury prevention than for training energy systems.
At a minimum, if it were me, within ~2-5 weeks of the event, I would do a ride that is at least 70% of the duration/length/elevation of your hilly event, using the same equipment and nutrition that I plan to use for the event.
While you probably don’t need to train for 6 hours of z2 or whatever, I think it is very helpful to use a few long rides to see whether foot or back pain, saddle discomfort, nutrition/hydration problems, etc crop up.

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This is where you adapt the TR plan to your own needs. You can get plenty of intensity in a 1.5-2hr “workout”. You aren’t going to need more of an interval workout.

You might need more saddle time though to do well in a long fondo. So add more saddle time. Add another hour of endurance to your workouts. Put all your winter clothes on and get outside for 3-4-5 hours if you can. Put your skis on and go out for some hours if that is an option. Do double days adding in more endurance hours. There is a million ways to skin this cat.

What a great reply by the Big Cat! An honest answer that really talks to what is the best solution, rather than just designing a shortcut because they think its what people will actually do :wink:

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