Training Plan For 200 Mile Solo Ride

200 Mile 6246 ft elevation Gravel Training plan?

Hello, I’m new to structured training I’m looking for some advice on how to train for a 214 Mile (6246 ftElevation fairly flat) Gravel ride. The ride will take me from the West coast of England all the way to the East coast (Transpennine trail full completion) I’m not entirely new to training for events/long endurance having ran my 1st Marathon last year and riden a century on a road bike I have decent base fitness.

I did an FTP test last week with the result of 261 that giving me a 3.5 W/Kg (me being 21 Years old, 6ft 1, 164lbs)

I’m looking to start training for it on March 15th and doing to ride on June 21st (Summer Solstice) giving me a total of 14 weeks to train for it, I know 14 weeks isn’t ideal but I’m hoping someone will be able to point me in the right direction of what phases to chose.

I tried TR’s custom plan builder but it doesn’t seem to factor in the lenght of my event of factor in any sort of taper for it.

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Here are a couple of resources to consider:

3 Likes

Thank you I’ll have a look through them!

1 Like

14 weeks won’t be enough for a full Base / Build / Specialty cycle, so I’m interested to know what Plan Builder recommended for you…

How much structured bike training have you done previously? Did you do your century ride quite recently?

Other than the length (!) your route is relatively mellow compared to some of the big gravel events, so anything that extends your base fitness will help…you don’t need to worry about getting over big climbs.

1 Like

You sound like you’re already at a decent level. I would focus on nutrition & pacing for such a long ride as they can play a crucial role.

1 Like

I’m very new to structured training, I’ve recently invested in a Wahoo kickr and started off on zwift, I’ve completed an FTP test with a score of 261 3.5 w/Kg and been doing some of their sweet spot training sessions but I’ve been riding bikes for years but only serious the past year. I did my century last July which was solo also, fueling strategy and hydration was good and I did it in 5:58:29.

I’m always working out year round wether that be training for half marathons, Marathons or just keeping fit so I’d like to say I have a decent base, I’ve trained solely off of heart rate for the past few years with running and cycling but I’m enjoying the switch to power.

Plan builder set up for me,

  • 6 weeks SSB mid volume 1

  • 6 weeks SSB mid volume 2

  • 2 weeks general build (which personally seems like I’d be better with more time with sustained power build?)

I’m just wanting to know what weeks I could sacrifice to maximise my fitness over 14 weeks.

Thanks Dave, I’ll be looking to most likely stay in Z2 for the whole ride and start off very comfortably.
I’m looking at investing in a full carbon gravel bike to save as much weight as possible.

1 Like

Look at some of the other threads here regarding audax rides. A lot of it isn’t about actual power, it’s about nutrition and being comfortable on the bike for a long period of time. In addition (or substitution) to the TR programme, I’d throw in long weekend rides to practise both. Try to extend the duration. Also try riding off road as much as possible - UK ‘gravel’ will likely knock 30-50% of your average road speed, so prepare for a very long day out.

3 Likes

@splash offers some good advice.

For me, anything 6hrs+ is really about bike endurance. What I mean by that is actually the ability ride a bike for that long, without horrific saddle/back/hand pain. Part of that is going to be a bike fit, and part of that is going to be putting in a lot of time on the bike.

Nutrition will be crucial too, as noted.

I don’t think your fitness will be the issue here.

1 Like

Thanks for the advice mate, will have a look at the other threads you mentioned.

Looking to train nutrition and hydration a lot and see what works well for me. I’ve heard about people not liking gels for long ultra events as they seem to have GI issues so I’ll experiment on the longer indoor Z2 rides with food so I know the toilet is not far away… :laughing:

I’m no expert here - the longest ride I’ve done in recent memory is about 5.5 hours - but I’d have a mix of gels/blocks etc and some real food. If you look at the audax crowd - and those boys know how to do distance - they usually take sandwiches! I know the vibe is a bit different, but it might be worth considering. Experimenting with what works in training is a good idea. If possible, don’t neglect practice outdoors; feeding on the go is a bit of a skill (I can’t, for example, consistently ride along while opening wrappers that need a bit of force from both hands). That’ll be doubly so on gravel.

1 Like

You don’t touch gels on a ride of the length you are considering. What you need to be looking at is working on your fat burning engine. There’s only so much food you can eat on long rides. If you primarily rely on carbohydrate you are going to struggle later on. Apart from gastric distress, where your stomach won’t accept any more food, it’s very very hard to replace the calories whilst on the move for that length of time.

What tends to happen on the very long Audax’s is that you are riding 250-300 miles a day and you’ll repeat that many days in a row. So a lot of the calories will be topped up with a sit down meal at the end of a day. You’ll sleep a few hours, then get going again.

So it’s the long low intensity ride you’ll need for that endurance and developing the fat burning and fatigue resistance. You want to ride till the legs are fatigued from the duration not intensity. Then repeat. Then throw in some intensity on other days to keep the high end topped up.

1 Like

A simple tip is that your food tastes and what you can stomach will vary over the distance. So carry a mix of savoury and sweet foods on your long ride.

If you’ve trained and paced well enough you’ll be able to ride 100 miles without needing to eat or get hungry. But on longer rides than that you’ll eat at least once or twice an hour to keep the carbohydrates topped up.

Generally rides of the length you are considering are done at an average 65-75% max HR. Do it at that level of effort and you’ll finish feeling tired but in good shape. Too many novices set off on ultra endurance rides like they are in a 10 mile time trial :grinning:

2 Likes

I’ll be looking to pace it very well from the get go, having made the mistake when I started running I’m quite used to pacing well with training for a marathon. I know the feeling of being fresh at the start but not getting cocky and running as fast as I can because I know at mile 18-20 I’ll be gassed.

So in training on my longer Z2 Endurance rides would you suggest no carbs at all and rely on fat as fuel? Then post ride refuel with a protein/fat heavy meal? I know nutrition is a very hard topic because everyone has their own fueling/recovery fueling strategies. I usually take a banana and maybe a flapjack on longer rides out. but I guess that’ll have to change?

Thanks for the advice PhilW I appreciate it alot!

I’ll generally ride up four to five hours fasted during normal outings. But then I’ve been doing it a while. What I would do is plan that Z2 ride and take some food. Try and cover at least 2.5 hours before you eat something. Then maybe cover another 1.5 hours. Over time you’ll be able to ride further without the body yelling that you need to eat.

If you have a lot of glucose etc circulating in the blood then your body releases insulin. Insulin suppresses your body using fat as a fuel. So when you do eat the trick is to eat in small amounts so you don’t get a massive release of insulin. You want most of the sugars going to where they are needed whilst still primarily using fat as fuel. You’ll still burn carbs but at a much lower rate.

In Dec I covered 135 miles on 4 short bread fingers.

Once you’ve finished your ride do make sure to eat some carbs and protein though. You are not trying to starve yourself.

2 Likes

Oh and the talk test is a good one during long endurance rides. If you can carry on a conversation when riding you’re probably at about the right pace. If you have to pause to breathe probably a little too hard.

1 Like

@KarlLawton I did the Way of the Roses based off the same TR plans a couple of years ago and was going to do The Reivers Way until Covid got in the way. Anything that raises your FTP or muscular endurance to ride for a higher percentage of it for longer will benefit as anything below often then becomes easier.
Most find that completing SSB LV1 doesn’t often yield the same bump in FTP as the second phase but does improve your floor - ie you can ride at a higher power for longer.
:grin: I’d also echo what others have said in getting some long steady rides in outside as you get nearer. They’ll help you practice eating, drinking and getting comfy.
TR will help increase your power and energy systems but not how long your body can tolerate being on a bike.

Hope it goes well - thats a great route! :grin:

Edit - on nutrition do what works best for you and not others. I find I can ride much longer with good fueling including white bread and jam, home made flap jacks or rice bars, bananas and gels. But then I do test these on training sessions and club rides. :+1:t2:

3 Likes

Gels are certainly part for my long rides. Used them (along with real food) in kanza (top 25 finish) and multiple long races…one of which i rode 42 hours straight.

3 Likes

Just a curiosity on my part, what do you think about the scalability of the 90g/hr fueling approach?

I don’t each much (relative I guess) on rides and I have trouble wrapping my head around the total calorie intake when trying to extend a 90g/hr approach out to 4+hrs. I don’t think my body would be happy with trying to digest ~1400kcal on a 4hr ride and those numbers just get worse when you extend out the duration of the event.

1 Like