Ultra-endurance tapering logic (setting 'A' race 3wks prior)

I’ve got a starting place for an ~11 day ultra-endurance bikepacking race on 12 August. This is my ‘real’ A race and something I’ve had my sights on for a few years now.

But when I initially set up plan builder I didn’t know I’d been accepted to the ultra, so I built my plan around The Rift (1 day 200k gravel race) as my “A” race on 22 July.

I keep thinking about re-jigging my plan to peak for the ultra instead, but instinct and experience tell me it might actually be a pretty good setup as-is. I’ll have a massive effort in the legs exactly 3 weeks out, take a recovery week, and then basically use TrainNow to continue my taper for another two weeks, hitting the ultra probably a bit less sharp but a whole lot fresher.

Would love to hear thoughts from others though. Anyone done anything remotely similar? Any ultra-specific tapering logic? Other ultra threads are good in terms of general training strategy but I haven’t seen much about altering tapers with ultras in mind.

The 11 days is going to be cumulative load. IMHO 3 weeks is enough to recover and then re top the tank for the 11 day zone 2 effort you have 3 weeks later. The base you have for Rift, won’t go away in 3 weeks, but you also likely don’t need peaky power for an ultra like you might for a one day event.


Prioritise recovery and sleep and regaining that fresh feeling you don’t realise is missing , till you recover it. Keep the intensity and frequency of sessions the same but drop volume about 50%. You won’t get much sleep during the event, thus make sure you are rested and feeling energised, going into it.

I don’t do gravel, but I have been doing ultra endurance on road for 13 years. My general rule of thumb is 1 day off the bike per 100km. Thus for your earlier 200km event, I’d take a couple of days off the bike, but do stretch and get some gentle walking in on those days. Then day 3 I’d do a recovery ride to see what shape you are in and go from there.

Key thing is to avoid picking up an injury / niggle in that 3 week period. You’re just in maintenance mode, whilst regaining freshness, restoring muscle glycogen levels, letting inflammation do it’s job and die down.

Good luck.


Thanks both - appreciate the input. Seems like I’m on the right track with my thinking!