Should I expect to ever look forward to the "longer"/"difficult" rides in my weekly plan?

41, pretty inactive for the past two years. Been doing cycling for ~3 months following a different indoor training plan, but am now in my first month on TR and doing SSB1 at mid volume, which equates to most weeks being 3 one hour rides, and two 1.5 hour rides.

My adult fitness background was casual running at mostly 10k distances (~8 minute miles, nothing blistering), but maybe that “acclimated” my body to 1 hour efforts feeling nice. So, while I manage to get both of my 1.5 hour rides done each week, the difference in effort for me to do 1 hour vs 1.5 is immense.

One hour rides get me to hit that runners high and really finish feeling strong and hyped: But at 1.5 hours I can feel like I’m dragging myself through the last set of intervals (though I’m still hitting my marks, feel like my form is stable and nothing hurts, and not feeling worse for the wear the next day).

I understand the math that 1.5 hours is always necessarily going to be “50% more than 1 hour”–so there is actually a significant difference between the two–but is there a particular muscle/cardio/energy “system” that will improve over time to make it so that it doesn’t feel so distinctly harder?

If so, is it just a matter of consistency to get there? Maybe that’s the whole point of SSB training??

I think I’m more just looking for encouragement than anything concrete! :smiley:


I wouldn’t stress it too much. You’re very early into your cycling endeavour and endurance will come.

Lots of people hate the 90min workouts. You can always swap out for 60min ones of the same PL.

Keep kicking ass and taking (workout) names. You’ll be knocking out the sessions you want in no time.


Also, make sure you have a big fan. Wind Blower rather than cheer squad.

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Muscles fatigue when doing longer rides, but they will get used to it and you will be able to ride longer and longer.
Constant pressure on the pedals, without coasting, also lead to more fatigue. It has always been more difficult for me to do long rides on flat vs doing hilly rides.

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whats your nutrition for the 1.5 hour rides?


Do a two hour workout - I can guarantee at 1h35m a 1h30m workout will seem pretty sweet :wink: - kidding aside, I’d look at fuelling. I find I need some calories if I want to finish strong on anything over 75 minutes. Some of it also comes with time, so keep plugging away!


After 2 years I like (and look forward to) 90 and 120 min workouts.

But you need to fuel those workouts, for any intense workout longer than an hour I eat some carbs before (but not immediately before) and during the workout (after the first 45 min)(sometimes as isotonic drinks).

Also if you will follow a mid volume plan you should take care of your whole nutrition and recovery, not only pre/during/post nutrition.

P.D. Sorry for my English, not my native language.


Ok! Great help all. :smiley:

Aside from consistent training and building endurance, nutrition is the big head slap here: Of course!

It’s the last 30 mins that I bonk, and I’m not taking in carbs on the bike. I think experimenting with 15-20g of sugar ~45m in might make all the difference to get me through the last bit.

Appreciate it!


15-20 g is way too little. You should aim for 80-100 g per hour. Likewise, you should drink plenty.

Here are a few pieces of advice:

  • You definitely, definitely should start with a low-volume plan.
  • Focus on building good habits. That means things should feel easy most of the time.
  • Ventilation. Have fans. Yes, plural. And big ones. Put them on full blast.
  • Aim to consume about 80-100 g of carbs per hour, no matter the workout type. Simple and cheap ways are gummi bears and energy mix in your bottle. Of course, start with smaller amounts, but keep increasing them. Experiment with what you eat and drink. E. g. I cannot stomach the energy mix of Wiggle’s housebrand, I hate the taste and my stomach doesn’t like it. SIS energy mix is my fuel of choice (in addition to gels and gummi bears).
  • Drink enough, at least 1 bottle per hour.
  • Find out what entertains you. That usually differs depending on the type of workout. I’m not listening to podcasts when I do VO2max intervals :wink:
  • Make things easy for you. Prepare your bottles, your clothes and towels in advance. Set everything up so that you just need to hop onto the bike.
  • Experiment plenty. When is the best time? Do you need coffee? Etc.
  • Pay attention to your body and take it seriously.
  • And most importantly, have fun!

You can’t have fun on a turbo on trainer road - you’re just there for the pain obvs.

I find my music choice is important - on easier rides just something I like listening too - on threshold or vo2 I like something a bit more manic like dance music sort of stuff.

I’ve found snacking whilst riding keeps me amused as much as anything else. For an hour / hour 15 (I’ve never done longer on the turbo than that due to time constraints) I tend to have a little bowl of mixed sultanas / chocolate crisp cereal next to me. Between intervals I snack on those and drink whilst you’re pedalling the lower power recovering.

Drink wise I usually have 2 x 750ml bottles - 1 just plain water and 1 with a hydration tablet in it (no energy / carbs - just electrolytes).

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I don’t mind the 1.5 h rides outside but I’m not happy usually doing them indoors. However some helps

Coffee pre. Hint espresso contrary to urban myth does not have more caffeine. It’s markedly less even though it tastes stronger. If you want the biggest hit, use regular percolated coffee with a light or medium roast


Nutrition - easy carbs 15-30 min before. And I usually run 80g/h if over 45 min. Increasingly I don’t do many workouts without any carbs. If a 90 min workout I usually use a gel w caffeine at 45 min

Entertainment - nexflix usually. I’m not someone motivated by music. It’s just noise usually for me

A trainer platform really reduced seat pain that I have particularly indoors vs outdoors


Adaptation definitely plays a role.

I distinctly remember the very first 1.5 hour Under-Over I did because I sent my friend a message right after, something to the effect of “Under-Overs Holy %&$*!”

Two years later now, they don’t seem like such a big deal. They’ll always be tough, but not unmanageably so.

You are jumping into the deep end on a mid volume plan after being inactive and only cycling for a few months. Start with the Low Volume plan. Going from inactive to Mid Volume has a good chance of destroying you and demotivating you even further. If you want to ride in addition to the 3 key workouts just add endurance rides.

And make sure you are fueling your workouts.

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yeah, I agree. I’d recommend dialing back to low volume. Add another z2 workout if you like, but doing 4 intense workouts per week is probably drinking from a fire hose.

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Kind of surprised at the low volume recommendations. (Not saying they are wrong, just surprising.)

I’m really enjoying mid–despite complaining about the 1.5 hour rides, they never leave me hurting afterward or truly burn me out physically/mentally: They’re just hard! My commentary on them is just with the “am I going to build up the endurance to ever “look forward to these” or are they always going to suck, especially in comparison to how good I feel with the 1 hour rides?” (And it seems like that answer varies–they might always be tough, but will get more tolerable as I adapt.)

I am at a point in my life where the mid-volume works well for me scheduling-wise: I have the time and it’s my main recreation. It relaxes me at the end of the workday by flushing out my brain and is helping me to sleep better as well (I have problems with insomnia).

I guess I could switch over to the low volume and just add two more “easy” endurance workouts to that plan, but I’m not truly understanding why I should do that if I’m not struggling.

To be clear: This isn’t an argument, or an “I know better” moment! I’m just not understanding why it would be so much better to swap when I’m currently very happy with the volume.

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I joined TrainerRoad back in 2014, but never did a plan until just last year. In all that time, if I was going to use the trainer, I’d just pick from a handful of workouts I liked all of which were 60 mins long. After spending the last year (mostly) doing Base and Build plans, 90 minutes is the minimum workout length I like to do. I’ll add time to the shorter workouts in a plan and freestyle if they’re less than 90.

The point of that is just that, unless you’re someone who just really dislikes indoor work, you’ll probably get there. If you want to stick with the MV plan, but do fewer long workouts (at least until you’re wanting that extra challenge) you can choose an alternate that day. TR will give you a 60 minute workout with the same PL as the 90 minute one that you can do instead.

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This seems like something that I might try! Maybe try one of the weekly 1.5 hour workouts, then sub the other to a 60m workout if I’m feeling intimidated (or something easier if I’m honest with my body and it’s just not a good day to push).

(Also, definitely not someone who dislikes indoors: In fact, I am loving it. It’s so easy to do and there is literally zero excuse that I can make to prevent me from hopping on and trying. It’s never too cold, too wet or too hot–or too much traffic and too many close calls with cars. Getting out the door was always 85% of the difficulty in exercise for me and now that is simply “gone”.)


I move up and down from low to mid volume depending on work and life stress. In the winter mid volume works but for summer I’ve moved back as I want to ride more outside (and some workouts are still outside). For me I’ve found that sustained mid volume plans lead to fatigue both physical and mental.

That‘s an obvious recommendation to be honest: you wrote, you have been sedentary for a few years and that you find longer workouts challenging. So IMHO you should ease into it. Remember, it shouldn‘t just be easy now, it should remain easy and doable for half a year.

Higher training volume also means you have less slack when life happens. For example, I found out that I cannot sustain a 6-day training week even when I tack on the training time onto the other days. Everything must go perfect, and if it doesn‘t, I accumulate fatigue very quickly. You wrote you have trouble sleeping, more on that below, so this is precisely something you can address with lower volume.

Here is another one: the single best thing I did to myself was work on improving my sleep schedule. This pays dividends front, back and center. I no longer train unless I have had at least 7 hours of sleep, period, hard no. When I sleep only 7:30 hours, it‘s ok, but much better when it is 8 hours or longer.

In my experience, my sleep and training schedule fix “themselves” when I enter a virtuous cycle. Doing that can be hard, though. Once you are in it, you could increase volume. But play the long game here.

[quote=“rockymoran, post:15, topic:73370”]
I am at a point in my life where the mid-volume works well for me scheduling-wise: I have the time and it’s my main recreation. It relaxes me at the end of the workday by flushing out my brain and is helping me to sleep better as well (I have problems with insomnia).[/quote]
I can relate to that. Training on the bike is my therapy, and I need it. And at times I have trouble sleeping for various reasons (a baby and a young one, family stress, etc.).


The recommendations are mostly based on experience and on what TR has said on the podcast. TR has mentioned on the podcast that MV is for riders who have previous experience with structured training. Just because we can ride the prescribed number of days doesn’t mean we should do the prescribed intensity of the plan - they talk about minimum effect dosage quite a bit. They have mentioned many times to start with a low volume plan and add z2 rides. Personally I cannot handle the accumulated fatigue of a mid-volume plan towards the end of SSB2. I can easily ride 5 or 6 days a week, but nailing all of the MV plan workouts is too hard.

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