Ultra endurance plan

How do I add an ultra endurance event (375km) to the TR training plans so that as I get closer to the event I get more longer rides?

The thing I like about TR is that I just get on the turbo and turn my legs TR does all the thinking for me but I never get rides over 90min.

There are two main ways to do this - the first being to use workout alternates to select longer versions of the ‘long’ workout TR serves you (usually on the weekend). Just click the ‘alternates’ button and then change the duration drop down menu. I don’t think you’ll find much over two hours there though (but you can always do another endurance workout straight afterwards, using TrainNow, or even just keep using ‘extend cooldown’ and then adjust the intensity to keep you in z2 for another hour (or more) after your workout ends.

The other way is to replace your 2nd weekend ride (mid and high volume plans) or add a 2nd weekend ride (low volume) with a z2 ride that lasts as many hours as you choose. In mid and high volume you usually have ‘important’ intervals on Saturday followed by Sweet Spot or Endurance on Sunday - we’re talking about replacing (or extending) this Sunday ride. In low volume you’d be adding an extra ride on Sunday. (Of course you can also swap your days of the week around to suit your schedule but it’s usually good to do your long ride the day before a rest day for obvious reasons.)
Presumably you’d be doing this outside, which makes for a great race simulation option. Whether you’re using power or RPE just try to keep it in z2 for as much of the ride as you possibly can - that’s essentially how you’re going to have to pace on race day, so learning how to do it over varying terrain whilst fuelling and remaining comfortable on the bike is kind of the perfect practice.

In terms of when to add and how to ramp up the length of those rides, it’s very individual and will depend on whether you’ve ridden that distance before, how quickly you recover, etc. Speaking for myself as a kind of average person when it comes to these things, I think I’d probably make sure I’m getting a 2+ hour ride every week (except recovery weeks), and then every 2nd or 3rd week I would do an increasingly bigger simulation ride - maybe 25-50km longer each time (or 30-90 minutes longer if going by time). My biggest ride for a 375km event would probably be ~250km somewhere around 4 weeks prior to the event, followed by a ‘short’ long ride of ~100km 2 weeks prior to the event. Definitely no big rides any nearer than 2 weeks as that taper is really important for me prior to something really long, and I think it takes about two weeks for me to fully clear the fatigue of a big-ish day out.

One thing you definitely DON’T need to do before your event is have a 375km ride. 150km is plenty to work out your pacing and fueling strategy and identify positional fatigue on the bike - you probably don’t even need that much. TR CEO Nate famously raced Leadville without doing a training ride longer than 3 hours (maybe even less - could have been max 2hrs?) I do think it’s easier to get away with that if you have a history of ultra-endurance events, and I expect most people would feel a lot more confident with at least one ride of 50-70% of total event duration under their belts, but Nate’s escapade is proof that you don’t physiologically NEED it.

Hope that helps - I went into way more detail than I intended to but hopefully you can still follow. Good luck!


Hey @83years! Welcome to the TrainerRoad forum!

This is a great question. @alexfthenakis’s response is super helpful!

THIS! So many of our athletes have successfully competed in ultra endurance events without spending too much time in the saddle. Our Training Plans are built around the physiological systems required for specific events. Therefore, you don’t actually have to ride for inordinate amounts of time to be competitive for your ultra endurance distance events and rides. High-intensity interval training isolates specific energy systems to prompt specific physiological responses.

Duration is just one aspect of progressive overload, which we will be sure to utilise as you progress through your Training Plan. However, there are many other ways we can progress your training. In a progressive approach to training, we can’t continually task our bodies with event-distance training. Not only is it unnecessary, it has potential to be a detriment to your training progression in the long-run.

[quote=“svens, post:3, topic:78222”]

Your dynamic Progression Levels will help guide how we progress your training! Check out this article here: Progression Levels: What They Are and How to Use Them.

As @alexfthenakis mentions, it can be helpful to do some longer rides, even if just to build your confidence, simply practice being in the saddle for those durations or to practice race nutrition and hydration strategies.

This is where Workout Alternates or using filters to search our Workout Library can be useful!

Let me know if you have any other questions about this :slight_smile: .


To be honest, I wouldn’t focus too much on Trainerroad Trainingsplans for such a long distance.
(Just look at the Ironman Training plans and ask yourself, why 4h+ rides are recommended for 180k bike rides but are not a part of the mid volume cycling plans).

My longest event on the bike was 500k with 5500hm. I’d recommend to ramp up steadily your weekly hours and focus on z2. Of course you can put energy in vo2max intervals too. But they won’t encrease your endurance capabilities more than simple z2 rides but require more recovery.
I agree, that it’s absolutely unnecessary to ride the 375km before the event.
A weekend with a 3h Fr, 4h Sa and 5h Sun will give you a very good impression about your endurance capabilities. But regular 4h rides will be sufficient.
As a minimum requirement I’d consider to be able to do 375km weeks that don’t feel overwhelming.

The most important thing in preparation for such a long distance is riding a lot of easy miles (because this is the most specific thing you can do) and the most important thing on race day AND preparation ist nutrition. That needs a lot of routine and testing, because only a spot on nutrition will carry you over the last 200k.

If the event is more than let’s say 7-8months away, you could do some more unspecific things like more shorter intense stuff (like in the TR plans) and ease into the more specific training when the event gets nearer. Your goal for these months should be to prepare yourself for the high volume weeks (weeks 8 till 2 before the event).

For more context he built up to 4x20 and 3x30 minute sweet spot efforts which are pretty potent. Thats 80 to 90 minutes of sweet spot:

Thats some really good muscular endurance to have before an Ultra!

To continue the story, he took pre ride carb loading and event nutrition to the next level. This was my summary:


On the flip side, Nate didn’t feel that great for a few weeks after the event.

Just about anything is possible if you want it, I did my first metric road century after 2.5 months of averaging 2 hours/week in Tuesday/Thursday spin classes. On a mountain bike with friends that were on road bikes. Given my fitness level, a lot of it was like a race for me! :rofl:

@83years putting on my Captain Obvious hat, I’d rather have 8 hours/week fitness than the 2 hours/week spin class fitness.

@alexfthenakis also gave you a couple options on modifying TR plans, even on 3-5 hours/week I’m a fan of longer and longer sweet spot rides like Nate mentioned in that old post. Really work on extending out your ability to ride a hard pace - around 85-90% ftp - out to 90 minutes or longer. I’m also a fan of a longer ride on the weekend, ideally a (once a month) 100 mile ride at the end of every 3 week loading / 1 week recovery block. Similar to @Amnesty I would rather ramp up training load on a budget of 7-9 hours/week for a minimum of 3 months leading up to the Ultra (ideally 6-8 months). Just a few ‘if I did another double century’ thoughts to add to the other comments. Hope that helps.

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Can’t say I’m super familiar with this story, but I’d say that if doing a 8-12h ride takes a few weeks to recover from, that maybe only doing 2-3h training rides was not as successful as it could have been.

I am not a pro, just a guy who likes to ride his bike for too long. But I’ll do 8h of low tempo and be on the bike again the next day with no difficulties, and doing VO2 work 2-3 days later and feeling baseline. Doing an 8+hour z2 ride 1-2x a month in season is a regular part of my “training” (really, I just like riding my bike and then call it training).

Anyone who can ride for 4-6h can ride for 8-12h if they really want to, with no real special training.

But I do think that some experience with longer rides is important to build fatigue resistance, so you can still do 10min@100% on that climb in the last hour of your 10h race. Or so your training (and ability to climb the stairs to your bathroom) isn’t disrupted for 2 weeks afterwards.

I’ve performed better on 16-30+ hour events with my FTP was 40w lower, but I had more long rides under my belt in the proceeding months (to years even).

This of course must be balanced with the recovery time doing really long rides during training will need.

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Firstly, wow, thank you for all the very detailed replies! There is loads here to unpack and think about.

The question I was asking was much more on the software side than the training side. What numbers do I need to add to the Plan builder to get the longer rides?

Is this right for a 375km ride? A TSS seems low to me. The intensity levels don’t seem to match up with training zones and that’s confusing. I’ve selected the high volume option does it matter that the event doesn’t match up?

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That seems low. Here is a 325km event I did:


I have to say for my Ultra I was also unsure what to put here.

I think I chose 20 hours at moderate cos at times it’s going to be really hilly. The cycle route estimates 8 hours, so I doubled it and added time for going slower so I don’t burn out.

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And elevation profile:

2500m climbing over 325km route. FTP was 3W/kg so climbs were slow and around 2W/kg.

Power averaged out to middle of zone2 (0.67 IF).

That resulted in 574 TSS and at the time I could ride at ftp for 50-70 minutes, and do a 2+ hour sweet spot effort.

That makes me think my estimated TSS is well down!

This is one way, when I get to the end I have to come back!

A few months ago I woke up a little sick on the day of climbing Mt Shasta. But I pushed on and climbed at a really really low power. Converted to metric for you:

140 TSS
4+ hours
1550m climbing (only 32m descending!)
0.58 IF

My FTP is around 270W, that puts the 136W average power in my workout recovery intervals!

The 157W normalized power is the bottom of Zone2, and its normalized power that is used to calculate IF.

Yes, that TSS seems low by any comparison with my own rides.

Might be a question for @IvyAudrain to clarify how that number is generated and how relevant it is in setting up your A race for longer times/distances.

Here is easy way to match event intensity to actual IF: lets say you plan to ride at 62% of FTP (i.e. IF 0.62). From TR workouts library find any relatively steady 1h Z2 workout with this IF (Homers Nose -1, for example), it has TSS 38. Just multiply it with assumed ride time 14h x 38TSS = 532TSS (375km/14h → ~26h/km). Now, in “Create Event” screen, select “Intensity” that matches best the calculated TSS.

EDIT: here is helpful TR blog post about pacing strategies for different durations. Although, for ultra distances, I prefer capping with HR (a la 70% of max HR, which makes roughly 60-65% of FTP in my case)


I have data from one of the ultras I did this year, 25 hours 20 mins of riding with a tss of 1142.

I’ve said before and I’ll say it again:
This is one of (a very short list) of things I just deeply disagree with TR about. They’ve said lines like this a lot, and it just doesn’t ring true in my experience.

There are different levels of adaptation that need to take place for very long distance events (or heck, even something like a century.) You can absolutely built the cardiovascular fitness that’s required for these long events on ‘shorter’ 2-3 hour rides, yes I agree. But how does your body react to sitting on a saddle for 6 hours? 10? 24? How do you mentally handle it?

I suspect a lot of Nate’s ‘success’ in that area comes from a lifelong background of cycling. I also suspect that a newer rider would struggle more. Of course, in any instance of ‘upping the distance,’ you necessarily can’t practice the distance first. But TR has a vested interest in getting people to believe that you can do huge things with moderate leadups, and while it’s possible I see no reason not to optimize and give yourself some experience in longer training rides.

I think it would crazy to go out for a 400km ride having never done a training ride over 90min, regardless of what the plan says, even if you’ve got good training history.



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FTP isn’t a great predictor of performance over ultra distance durations. Someone’s fatigue resistance is, but the cycling models don’t easily capture that and if you never ride for hour after hour in training, you won’t really know where yours is at.


As ultra endurance is much more than fitness I would add a few “builders” progressively increasing duration / distance to 50-75% of the A-events as C-events 3-4 weeks apart (counting backwards from the A date). This way you will learn your body to handle long days and learn how your body reacts to fluid, food & fatigue and before the true test.


:+1: Earlier in the thread I mentioned doing a long ride every 4 weeks.

Around here our club had (pre-C19) a series of rides to support ultra events. They start with pancake flat centuries and progress climbing:

My double century was the week before Stage 8, but logistically I couldn’t do them all and had to plan alternates.

Easy to see the 4 week interval by looking for the red lines in this chart below. The red lines are rides >250 TSS, most of those are 100 mile / 161km:

For my n=1 these long rides build a lot of fitness. More fitness than figuring out hydration/nutrition.