Plan phases/workouts for long endurance gravel events

I am new to training on a bike but not new to cycling. I ride primarily gravel endurance events. I wouldn’t classify myself as a racer but more of a rec rider. My focused goals for this year include completing 2 long distance gravel events, 100mi, and 125mi. hilly (for me) courses. I have set a custom plan in TR that has Base 1, Base 1, Build, and Specialty phases before my events, then Recovery. I am currently finishing Base 1 phase which is mostly Sweet Spot.
Apologies if this is addressed elsewhere, if it is, please point me to a specific thread or podcast.

I notice later in the plan, there are workouts for Vo2Max and Anerobic that appear to be full-gas sprint efforts. I assume these are to build muscle/break muscle down and repair, which will lead to endurance, but I have ZERO desire to sprint in real life outdoors. I am a heavier rider, and prefer to remain seated for my hill climbs. I am not out to win anything other than my own PR.
So…my question is, what is the usefulness of the VO2 Max and Anerobic workouts towards achieving my long gravel event goals?

What actual Build and Specialty phases did you get on your calendar?

How were those plans added to your calendar (manual or through Plan Builder)?

For initial reference, here are two guides from TR worth review:

Hi Chad,
First, thanks for the quick reply.
I used the custom plan builder, low volume plan. I added in C, B, and my 2 A events to the plan.
I also added in my longer group rides on Saturdays and estimated my TSS based on duration. I haven’t finished building out the longer endurance rides on Saturday to my calendar yet.
From what I see, my phases are
Base 1 - SS low volume 1
Base 2 - SS low volume 2
Build - General build - low volume
Specialty - Rolling Road Race - low volume

I see the suggestions for gravel. I am thinking I should swap out to
Base 1 - SS low volume 1
Base 2 - SS low volume 2
Build - Sustained Power build
Specialty - Climbing Road Race

Here is a link to my calendar on TR.

Here is an export I made with Pivot tables if it helps.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1iaHud4zelv8aGqBZMK8a1OLAxBDIHH58/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=113012095380827195553&rtpof=true&sd=true

Thanks for the link to the calendar. Gives a look, but I can’t access the details of your A-race or the Specialty. Maybe you can open those and share what those are exactly?

You can effectively alter the resulting plan based upon the setting you have for your A-Race. If you aim for more steady state type of event, you can swap to something like Gran Fondo that might give more steady workouts vs the sprinty ones you have now.

PS, your export seems restricted without requesting access. Not sure if that is intended or if you meant to give it open access?

1 Like

Thanks Chad.
I changed the setting on the Google file export. I will highlight the event rides on the sheet.
I went into the calendar to change the
Build - Sustained Power build
Specialty - Climbing Road Race

That seems to have removed the Anearoebic workouts. However, I am not sure if I should choose the Climbing Road Race for Speciality.
My A race is in Iowa, 125 miles with like 8-9,000 feet of climbing but it’s mostly rolling hills. Not at elevation. However, I live in MN where it is super flat, so any outdoor workouts in my usually riding area maxes out at like 500 ft. for 50miles, or 1,500 for 100mi. rides.
Thus, I appreciate TR and the Erg mode on the trainer.
Plus, my current weight is 268lbs. working my way down. Hoping for 215-230lbs on race day, end of June.

Good info. All I can really offer for specifics is to consider your expected effort output (intensity & duration) through the event more than any naming. From your info, it sounds like the more “steady” efforts at lower intensity vs what is common in the Climbing Road Race approach may be better for you.

Climbing without actual “attacks” is more often that longer and sub-threshold level we see in the Gran Fondo / Century approach and I think applies to many riders that aren’t aiming to be at the leading edge of the race.

1 Like

Yes, what you describe sounds spot on. Steady effort, sub-threshold for 8 hours. Hoping I don’t have to hike-a-bike up the hills.
My only race is with myself. Not at the pointy end.
Thanks Chad! Love the input and responses.

1 Like

In the context of your training plan, the VO2Max efforts are about increasing your maximal aerobic capacity, not about preparing you to ride at 120% of FTP in your target event.

The physiological benefits of increasing your aerobic capacity are significant, and will help increase your threshold, allowing you to ride aerobically at a lower percentage of threshold in these longer gravel events.

I can only find one workout in your calendar with anaerobic efforts - Chicoma, which has 150% efforts. While these are anaerobic, they are more about force production than maximal sprints.