Training plan only has longest ride of 2 hrs

I have just created my first training plan for a 245km gravel race using the custom plan builder.

I expected the TR software to build a plan that was event specific. The longest ride in the 19 week plan is 2hrs!? Weird.

I input the expected race duration to be 11 hrs at tempo effort. So a very big very hard day.

Anyone one else had the same experience?

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This has been a years long debate on TrainerRoad. Back in the day, TR were hard ‘you don’t need longer rides’ proponents but there have been a cadre of posters on this forum (myself definitely included) that say you need some longer efforts for longer races.

You find out things after 4 or 5 hours on the bike that you just don’t get in 2hrs on the trainer. Riding position things. Chafing things. Shoe hot spot things. Definitely, nutrition things. It’s not as big an issue as it used to be…but, you can find out battery things.

I would say that over the years, TR has come around to my way of thinking. For sure, you can ride a 150 mile event with intelligent training & pacing with nothing more than a 2hr ride. But if you want to maximize your chance of success and performance you’ll do a couple of longer rides.

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Thanks for the response Brennus.

That is bizarre. I know a world tour coach and the guys he coaches doing 100 to 200 mile gravel races all do 5+ hour training rides. Including his amateur riders. The high level guys are doing 7 to 8hr rides in prep for long gravel races.

I signed up for the 30 day TR trial. I guess I’ll just leave it at that.

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Are you using plan builder? You can select availabilty and how long you want to train on given days.

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@andrewjg if you are training 20 hours a week, TR is probably not the product for you. But if you only have 8, 10, 12 hours to train in a given week because of work/family/school, TrainerRoad is a very effective option.

I don’t think you need to do 5, 7, 8 hour rides on a weekly basis to be very competitive during a 150 mile gravel race. Actual race results have proven TR can produce results at such events. But I do advocate at least a couple 5hr rides as part of training for longer gravel events.

But, look, if world elite is your goal, if you have all the time you need to train, then a more ‘world tour’ style of training is probably a better option. Either way, let us know how your event goes.

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As others have indicated, my experience with plan builder is that it limits training time to what you say you have available. I want to do a mixture of indoor structured workouts combined with outdoor longer unstructured rides. My plan builder inputs ignore my outside rides I tell it I want a low volume plan that’s riding three days a week and have 3-5 hours a week available. It generates my trainer rides for MWF, then I do what I want for the rest of the week depending on weather and how I feel. I’ve been very happy with the results and progression for 12+ hour ride prep.

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head’s up, @andrewjg !

@gshotts ← that’s a rider who really does know how to go on a 300km ride.

As already stated, TR’s DNA is really built around the time crunched athlete. But it’s still a useful training system for cyclists doing significant volume and training for long events. You can leverage TR to structure and progress your 2-3 days of intervals/intensity and then layer in additional low intensity work and longer rides. You just need to take a little ownership of managing your overall stress, but TR gives you a good way to keep on top of that. As a higher volume athlete who targets 8+ hour events, I find that it works pretty well. I’m not burdened with building/managing all the interval stuff from scratch and it’s easy to layer on volume. But if you are looking for a system to just tee up a perfect training plan for long events, TR probably isn’t it (and I’m not sure it exists unless you are just looking for a static plan). I like the fluid nature of the TR system and the deep workout library, a good trade off with the minimal support for canned high volume training.

I’m personally a big believer in incorporating long rides when training for longer events. While you can absolutely build the required aerobic fitness while limited to 2 hour training rides, there are still significant performance benefits to be gained with longer rides.

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As @FrankTuna said, you can customise Plan Builder to generate up to 24h/week plan: 2x 2h interval days + 4x 5h endurance days.

While it is possible, at this volume you might be better off with LV plan and add your own Z2 progression on top of that at lower intensity than TR usually suggests.

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Welcome to the forums :slight_smile:

You’ve got some good advice already, I’ll just support that and add that plans will also adapt as you progress. Overall hours is one important part of volume, intensity is the other so you may find efficiencies that allow you to reduce your 20 hr weeks a touch.

TR is and a lot of the training world is about minimum effective dose, and may be able to help you find the right volume for you rather than simply increasing until breaking point.

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As mentioned already, when making your plan you can select how long you want to ride that day. I believe it maxes out at 5 but nothing stopping you from going further. I have attached an image for you to get a visual.

If your plan is already set up I believe you can change time availability and not have to restart your plan as well. Hope this helps.

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Hi @andrewjg :slight_smile: Welcome to the Forum!

As @Jolyzara mentioned, you can pick custom durations when creating your training plan. The endurance rides cap out at 5 hours and the interval training at 2 hours.

If you’ve already applied your training plan you can adjust them through the Calendar Annotations:

Many cyclists assume that the best way to train for these types of events is to complete long endurance rides. While this approach can work, it requires a lot of time—12-20 hours per week.

As mentioned, we believe that you don’t have to do extremely long training rides to prepare for a 245k gravel race. The most efficient and effective way to train for these type of events is to complete high-quality structured workouts strengthening the energy systems needed for such a long ride.

However, we do recommend that it’s a good idea to throw in a few long rides before your event to check your bike fit and nutrition strategy. :slight_smile:

Personally speaking, I’ve done multiple gravel / 100+ milers and never really trained by volume. If I had endurance training it never tipped over 4-5 hours on the saddle, but these were great rides to test my nutrition and hydration.

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