Training for a 112 mile bike race

Hello all. I’ve just downloaded the Trainerroad software and wanted to ask a question about the best training plans to use for preparing for a long distance (112 miles) bike race in June 2019.

My target is less than 5 hours. I’m used to riding time trials up to 30 miles and have competed in Olympic distance triathlons for 8 years but this new venture is a different ball game altogether!

Looking a at the plans, I have some concerns that there are no sessions greater than 2 hours duration. Does this seem right if I’m training for a 5 hour race?

Any advice greatly appreciated.


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…Warm up with a swim before the bike and cool down with a run afterwards?


I’m actually just doing the bike leg as part of a relay team in the Lakesman (Cumbria).

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Have you looked at the century ride plan?

Another option could be the full distance triathlon plan - the bike alone is pretty tough, I guess you could up the volume if you’re not doing the other sports. There are plenty of 3, 4, 5hr turbo sessions in there.

Regarding long rides, Im on board with the notion that you don’t have to ride the time, or distance, to race - and you don’t get the best training from race simulation. Schedule in a few 60-70mile outdoor rides nearer race day…but if you’re a competent 30 mike TTer do you really need them?

Looks like a relatively flat course for the Lake District but I think I’d still end up using a climbing road race plan or the century plan suggested @JoeX but substitute a longer outdoor or indoor ride for one of the weekly rides.

I’ve ridden some of the roads on that course and IRRC the climbs are longer drags rather than anything else so either of those might be a good fit.


PaulG1971, I’m going to give you an answer that is probably out of step with the rest of the forum:

I won’t go all the way to say it’s ‘wrong’ but you need to do rides longer than two hours if you are preparing for a 112 mile sub 5hr solo ride. My strategy is to schedule long rides on Saturday & (again, contrary to popular advice) I like to work those long rides up to the actual distance I’ll be racing.

This gives you the confidence you can do it, for sure, but it also gives you the chance to not only prepare a successful nutrition/hydration program, but to actually practice it. What do you need, when do you need it, etc. So many nutrition/hydration problems don’t show themselves until the last 25% of a race. Figure that stuff out ahead of time.

I like to do my last race pace long ride three to four weeks before race day. For me, doing long rides at full pace any closer to race day doesn’t produce meaningful results by race day. But I’m an old guy so your results may differ.


Sustained power build and then 40k TT are likely great plans for this effort. You need to be able to do consistent muscle endurance for your event.

Century plan is more about a gran fondo and will be prepping you for shorter harder efforts as well as the endurance. TT efforts (nice flat power curve) tend to fit better with 40k TT

Definitely make sure you get in a 3-4 hour ride sometime before your event. This is more for your mental confidence than your physical confidence. If you regularly ride long rides outside you will end up derailing your training by putting yourself into too much of a TSS hole to be able to do the more important intervals in the plan.

The reason you don’t need the long ride from a conditioning perspective, and only for a mental preparation perspective, is that the training you’re doing is raising your fitness regardless of duration. The extra time will not make a meaningful difference in this regard and will only make the meaningful time spent sitting at the power numbers you’ll need to hit harder


You’ve just reminded me of my current weak point - outside execution. I’m well known for being the slow, easy hill climber but until I started analysing my TSS outside I had no idea how much I was over biking. It doesn’t take many “slightly” hard efforts over 56 or 112 miles to damage all the vast majority good work managing your output.

…So yes, get some long rides in but my tip is donthem on power and to almost ignore average/NP - just make sure you have virtually zero time spent above threshold.


When I do my long rides I make sure my HR never gets out of the 135 to 145 zone. On a century ride I don’t care about power but, as you point out, when you start a climb you can slip above threshold easily. Definitely, I want my long rides to be a zone 2 mile pile for the most part. Threshold is a third rail.

But, for sure, you can do a month of 5-5.5hr saturday century rides, no problem. I’m an old dude and less than mediocre cyclist and that’s w/in even my capabilities…just keep it in z2 and stop the long ride 3 to 4 weeks out from your event. Not a problem.

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Sounds logical, nutrition and hydration obviously become significant at these distances.

Yeah, I can relate to this. Got dragged out on the Fred Whitton route and thought I was invincible up the passes…then promptly emptied of all energy and ability 10 miles from the finish. Obviously the big hills surged my heart rate and put extra fatigue on my muscles, these won’t be present on the Lakesman course but I often ride alone on big distance rides and have never really watched where my heart rate is.

A friend gave me the same advice about staying in HRZ 2.

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Thanks very much guys for the advice. I’ll have another look at the plans. I just assumed that the specific bike (century) plan would be more intensive with respect to effort and duration but it looks like the long distance triathlon plan may be best suited to me.

That’s essentially what you are doing, except without the warm up and cool down :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

You say you have TT’d up to 30 miles - a few 50’s and 100’s would also be ideal training sessions to practice pacing and nutrition. They are decent sessions for IM racing and even more specific for a relay like you’re doing.

I rode the National 100 mile TT last year which was 5 loops of the A66 between Keswick and Cockermouth. The National will be elsewhere next year but there will probably be other TT’s run on that course I imagine and might be worth looking for.

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I’d like to try a 100TT but the logistics don’t really suit me, and if I recall correctly in the U.K. it’s open roads in normal traffic which doesn’t really appeal.

But it would be interesting to see what my time is on a relatively straight/flat route for the ton. I’ve only done a few 10TTs, unofficial best 24:45 which is good for FTP verification not so good for IM calibration.

Yup, all on open roads which some don’t like. Personally I feel safer on a busier wider road where traffic can give you more room than smaller roads which might have less traffic but are much tighter. The road surfaces tend to be better (faster) and with generally fewer turns it’s easier to find a rhythm and push harder.

I rode 3 50’s and 3 100’s as well as a good number of 25’s and 10’s last year alongside the tri’s I did last year and in terms of practicing pacing and nutrition it’s great, as well as learning just how hard you can push a bike and still run. I did a short run off most of the longer TT’s I rode last year.

Doing a relay obviously that doesn’t apply to the OP but there is a lot to be learned IMO from what happens when you’ve got a number on your back rather than data from training rides, no matter how hard you think you are pushing.

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That’s my TT territory, A66, as part of Velo Club Cumbria. Good idea using the 50 and 100 TT’s as practice, I might also look in the national races.

Going back to the Trainer Road plans, I expected the specific bike ‘Century’ to be harder and more intense than the ‘Long distance Tri’ plan because of the need to also incorporate swim and run training.

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I think that the century plans are more aimed at completing the distance rather than racing the distance, I might be wrong about that though.

Depending on how much riding and TSS you are used to one of the full distance plans might be ideal or maybe as I thought the climbing road race speciality plan supplemented (or one ride replaced) with the longer ride from the long distance triathlon plan. If you do Sweet Spot Base, Sustained Power Build and either one of those speciality plans and you won’t go too far wrong.

The truth is I’d probably do which ever one appeals to you more and if you do the base and build plans you’ve got plenty of time to decide which would be more appropriate for you later. You are obviously used to longer rides and if you’ve ridden the climbs on the Fred Whitton you can ride a bike! I know how steep some of them are :scream:

I used to think that too… until I used the Century plan earlier this year. It is far more work than I would have guessed based on the naming.

It isn’t “racey” fitness in the sense of handling surges, but it does lead to really great sustained effort, as you might expect. It just happens to he a higher level of endurance than I would have guessed.

I’d say this plan is very worthwhile for longer stuff, especially if your aim is steady efforts. I certainly respect the plan more now, after completing it.

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This is false just looking at the two plans briefly. The century plan is a mash up of SSB and Sustained power build. It rotates through VO2, over unders, sweet spot, and threshold. The tri-plan focuses much more on threshold + endurance workouts saving some amount of intensity for swim and run work.

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Fair point. Having had another look at the Century plans there is pretty much the same or slightly more TSS than some of the other road speciality plans…I might have to give it a go :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::grinning:

In fairness although I’m primarily a triathlete I’ve more often than not followed the pure cycling plans but I did do the bike sessions from the long distance tri plan this year and that was harder than I thought it would be as well! I’ve tended to be able to cope with a good amount of bike TSS, around 600 per week for most of the past year, with running and swimming on top of that so felt the bike plans suited me better.

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