Should I be doing the longest workout variation if I have the time?

I have just started the low volume century speciality plan, for my target century event. Over the 18 months or so I have been using trainerroad, I have been doing the prescribed workouts on whatever plan I have been following at the time. More recently I have been playing around with different variations and it got me thinking if I have the time, is it more beneficial to be switching to longer duration workout variations? Or are they prescribed at these durations for a reason? Obviously longer workouts will help towards century riding, but I’m also thinking about the different plans and for working towards shorter duration events.

My answer would change depending on the workout and your fitness. If it is an intense workout Threshold/VO2Max and higher I would more likely recommend adding Z2 riding at the end of the intervals. If it is a Tempo and Sweet Spot ride I would almost always go for the longer one if you have time and your fatigue is low. That is my general generic suggestion for anyone. For the century plan I’d almost always go for a longer one if I had time and fatigue is low. I would also consider going for the mid volume plan if time is available.

  • Yes, they are prescribed within a goal to stay within a weekly cap of time, and with regard to the larger picture of progressing you from one week to the next.
  • Workouts gain in intensity or duration in most cases, as you move from one week to the next. This is done at a “ramp rate” that is good for a wide range of riders.
  • It may be, but only if you are able to recover fully from the longer workout, and that you aren’t more fatigued… leading to poor performance on subsequent workouts.
  • So, choosing to extend first needs to be considered for pure recovery on its own, but also with how it leads into the next workout.

Plenty of people use this approach as a bridge to step up from one volume, to something approaching the next level (say from Low to Mid) without taking on all the next level offers. It essentially leads to an “in-between” plan.


The workouts are set with a progression in difficulty. Each week they increase in one form or another (intensity or duration usually) and are meant to gradually stress you more each week.

Additionally, if you get a big spike in one week, followed by a lower “normal” week to follow, you are messing with the TSS progression. Nothing is sacred, but these plans are set with a specific purpose in mind.

Altering them should be done with some thought to the implications. In general, any chance should be considered with how it will impact the next one or two workouts, if not the whole plan progression.

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