Training for long distance

Hello all,

Two years ago, after a steady build up of longer distance rides, I did 450km in one go. It was all good apart from me ruining my feet (long story), I have had tingling and numbness ever since, just recovering now!

I have had a shoe fit as it turns out I have wide feet, so I am ready to start training now for longer journeys, these will just be a 100km followed by a 200km for now - nothing too demanding I hope!

So, I am getting about 180km a week in on the commute, over the three days that I am currently on site at work, but this is just me commuting, there is no structure to it.

What I would like is to choose a workout that will give me some structured training on the days i am not at work. Currently, these days are Sat, Sun, Mon, Wed and I would like to utilise, say 3 of these days for some structured training that will help me build my long distance fitness.

I would really appreciate some advice on which sort of plan I need to get me started.

Thanks in advance!

With the commuting miles I’d probably focus on Sweet Spot Base Low Volume.

You could also mix in some longer outdoor steady Zone 2 rides where you try and ride steady and spend as little time as possible in Zone 1. You can work on slowly increasing the duration of these rides over time. They will really help you grow your base.

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Many thanks and this is much appreciated.

I have since put the figures into the trainer builder and it seems to be suggesting just that. Plenty of low volume stuff over about a year! I suppose this will do fine, I am really just looking for something to fill the days when I don’t ride that will give longer term returns.

Thanks again!

I’ve stuck to the low volume plans and on the back of that done many Sunday club rides of up to 5ish hours and a 135 mile trip to the coast and back.
You’d be amazed what you can achieve when you can pedal none stop for 90 minutes and improve your FTP. Hope it goes well for you. :grin:

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@Johnnyvee Many thanks and I am looking forward to being back on Trainer Road.

I used it ages ago before I injured my feet and I really liked it. This time round I signed up for the Z word but I have to say that its not for me. I really like the no nonsense approach that TR has. The Z word seems to be all bells and whistles. I also love the tips and comments that appear on the screen using TR. Its like having my own trainer there.

Cheers.

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Hi Duggy, Having done a 12hr TT last year, I thought I could add something here, but I am not sure. I’ll let you decide.

I based my training on developing a basic strength and speed and a good FTP in shorter faster events, (and a solid winter of TR sessions) then built the ability to take some speed into distance (whatever that turned out to be).

Also I repeated multiple races of 50m, and 100m, and training rides over 100m and the like to find out what combination of

  1. Power I could sustain
  2. Heart rate that corresponded to (A useful indicator longer term)
  3. Food and drink I needed to consume,
    to complete them comfortably and (out of curiousity) what speed that gave me.
    (I tended NOT to train in race gear, then add in nice TT wheels, shinsuit, pointy helmet etc. for the races.)

I guess the take away for me, is possibly to use your long commutes in a more structured way. I guess there are two pieces

  1. 180km over 3 days = 60km/day = 30km each way, so they are not really endurance rides, but sound like good sessions to develop speed, intervals, build strength etc. (Or course the catch is can you you use them for training and work and recover cycling home? Only you will know./find out)
  2. You still need some longer endurance training rides that simulate the terrain that you will be over.
  3. perhaps do some specific sessions, that match the terrain (for instance long grag hills - doing multiple ones and repeating them) or short sharp jobbies, look for intervals (TR outdooors or hill intervals) that will replicate recovery after those parts of the ride.

Look to the TR plans and sessions to build structure into that… (I did SS base 1 and 2, Sustained power build (I think) and 40k TT, but put shed loads of miles in over summer.

In my experience, for longer rides, there is no substitute for doing them, from finding a fueling, pacing and mental perspective. However, you obviously don’t need 100m (sorry 160km) each weekend. (There is always the Century plan, but I found it a bit flat for what I wanted)

I hope this helps. If not, feel free to ignore. :slight_smile:

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I think Pete Morris summed it up on a podcast - if you increase your FTP everything below that is easier, and he also said something along the lines of we could all do 100 miles - it’s just a question of how fast you can do it. So higher FTP overall should equate to a higher sustainable power for the duration all things being equal.
One of my buddies took me out to do my first 100 to look after me to make sure I didn’t bonk or get into a mess - that was really helpful as he held me back from pushing too hard early on which can be a big mistake. Steady away!

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I would choose a TR low volume plan (base-build) to increase FTP and add some Z2 rides. Have one longer ride 2-4 times a month and increase the duration of that ride gradually to improve endurance. Also try to fit at least one day of no cycling in the week even if it means doing a structured workout during a commuting day. You could also try to add structure to your commutes to save time. I took similar approach to train for Everesting.

If you don’t mind me asking, how did you injure your feet? After my 19h everesting ride last Saturday, my toes were numb for one day. I haven’t had that before and I’m not sure what caused it. From what you are saying there seems to be a possibility of doing long term damage on longer rides.

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Hi Phil,

Many thanks for all of the info and your detailed post. Some good advice there and as much as I would like to incorporate training into the commute, I am often just too tired to be honest, or maybe too lazy, I don’t know. I was rather hoping to do the harder work on the turbo and save the commute for more sedate (but not that sedate) riding. I don’t go flat out on the commute but I do make an effort.

Yes, its 30km each way, I managed to make it home, in just under an hour (that’s total time, including stopping at all the lights out of London), which might show what sort of effort I’m putting in!

At the same time though, I do take some journeys a fair bit easier, but overall I’m not lazy with them.

You’re right about longer rides, that’s what I used before to train up, also i was putting in more commute distance.

Thanks and I will take everything you say into consideration.

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Hey Duggy! 450, yowza!!!
Build up your aerobic fitness with endurance and sweet spot work.

Once you’re completing longer sweet spot intervals, bump them up to FTP intervals if you are able to on the commute.

Once your growth stops there, hit some vo2max and then circle back to the FTP intervals.

Doing these on the commute, with longer rides when you have more time, will help you find a nice training cycle that won’t get boring, and you’ll progress as an overall cyclist!

Good luck!!

Brendan

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Hi Johnnyvee,

Yep, seems to know what he’s talking about. That’s basically what I’m looking for - get fitter and ride harder to make riding longer and more sedately feel easier!

Glad to hear that your first 100 went well, too.

Hi Reemachine,

Thanks, I like the idea of a longer ride a couple of times a month and I will defo be doing this and look forward to it as its the type of riding I like.

Congratulations on the Everesting ride - amazing stuff! I injured my feet on the 2018 London-Wales-London audax. I had always suffered with a bit of numbness but that ride ended up over 24 hours long and about 450km. The previous long ride was about 300km and, although i did get numb, it soon wore off - this didn’t happed with LWL.

Two other things didn’t help, 1. I later found out I have wide feet and so have never really worn the right shoes, and, 2. About 80km from the end of LWL, I started getting numb down below, so I took the pretty silly decision of finishing the ride out of the saddle.

I have a blog so if you’re interested in reading the whole grisly affair, it’s here.

All the best!

Hello Brendan,

Many thanks for this - I’ll be carrying on with my current plan and taking in your advice and that of others. I’m sure I’ll have many more questions in the future!

Cheers.

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Cheers @Duggy. Like I said, not sure how relevant. I really woulkd not enjoy a London Commute. I can understadn how you would sometimes feel tired and sometimes get a decent “Traffic light chasing” comumute.

The best piece of advice I was ever given, by a good friend, was,

“Never take advice from anyone who gives you advice.”
:slight_smile: :grin: :thinking:

PS Just had a look at your blog. Frankly, you don’t need my advice :slight_smile:

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I honestly do need your advice! Thanks for looking at the blog, i know I go on a bit.

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OK, so it seems my feet are not fully recovered and I think that putting that much force through the pedals may not be the best thing at present. I will give them a little longer!

TR used to have a plan that just kept your fitness, instead of increasing it. Is there still a plan that will allow me just to maintaining my fitness and give me a few extra rides during the week when I am not commuting?

Thank you, all!

specialty phase - enthusiast and maintenance is where to look…https://www.trainerroad.com/app/cycling/plans/category/23-enthusiast

@Johnnyvee, nice one - thank you for that!

best of all to try a diverse sport
so that there would be active sports alongside the gym (swimming, cycling, you can try rock climbing)

Yes, thanks but cycling is about the only sport I get time to do as i can work it in to my commute. I did look at the speciality phase but the plan builder seems to add workouts that are above my FTP and I am really looking to stay below it during these rides.

I n the end, I filtered workouts by sweet spot and 1 hour duration and I have added Abbey for today’s session. This has a IF of 0.78 and FTP between 88 to 94%, so i think this will better suit me for now.

I just want to utilise the three days I am not commuting by getting some more exercise in. Maybe I’ll add some different workouts in the future to mix things up a bit but this will do for now, I reckon.

Thanks to all of you for your comments and advice!