Are the TrainerRoad plans good enough for long 3hr+ races?

I have been doing the Trainerroad training plans since June this year, what I have found is that when I am racing in the 3-4 hour races (100km+), I am able to keep up with the groups for 1h30min after that I am cooked. My thinking is that this is as a result of the 1 - 1:30 workouts on Trainerroad plans. Do I need to do add extra time to supplement the 1:30 rides if I want to get stronger for longer races?

I do the Full Distance Triathlon plan … And there are some big rides there. (5hrs)
Maybe it would be worth looking at those plans

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What is your nutrition plan for the longer rides?

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Oat meal 2 hours before race. 1x gel 15 min before race, 1/2 banana after 45 min, gel after an hour, race food (chocolate) or gel every hour.

Also Trainerroad user since May, and not very good cyclist, but which plan are you following, and what is your background? On which kind of effort are you dropped? For example if you are doing 10 times the same 4mn hills, and get dropped the 6th time, I am not sure doing longer ride will help you that much. Better work on your ability to repeat effort at v02max. Same thing if the kind of effort you get dropped is at threshold, for example first climb of 15 to 20mn is ok, but the second climb you are dropped. Then better work on repeating intervals at threshold.

I started to do the group ride with my club last year, which is basically a drop ride on rolling hills, with regroup after each segment. I was wasted after 2 to 2,5 hrs (ride of 4 hours). I thought doing more and more of long ride would help me hold the distance, but it was not the case. It is only after being able to repeat effort of 2 to 3mn at v02max more than 10 times in a workout than I was able to hold on.

Check also your alimentation, can be also huge factor at the end of the race.

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I am following a MV sustained plan. I do different races and get dropped usually at around 1:30 whether its a hill or flat, I somehow start feeling that I cant keep up with the pace, I can almost feel it when its an hour and half into the race without even looking at my bike pc time. I become flat almost in the similar way to how Mathieu van der Poel bonked in the championships.

Last winter i trained on MV plan only and first rides outside were like 135 km and 140 km and had no issues at all , i guess it al depends on your IF . My IF was 0,739 for a 144 km ride total of 5h45min on the bike and this with barely any rides over 2hours

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The TR plans are fine, though if you are planning to regularly race 3-4 hour events then it would make sense to add in some longer rides occasionally. Not just for fitness but also pacing, psychological aspects (knowing you can do it), figuring out nutrition, comfort/fit issues, etc.

If you have the endurance to do a 90 minute structured workout then you certainly have the endurance to go longer than that in a race where there will be periods of coasting. I’ve done a 4 hour, 81 mile race off the back of 1 x 2h30 ride in training and nothing else longer than 90 minutes. Sounds like you’re getting enough fuel (and 90 minutes isn’t enough to bonk anyway unless you went in on an empty stomach), so I would guess the issue is one of pacing. Either you’re trying to hang with groups of riders that are simply stronger than you, and/or you’re doing too much work within that group (e.g. pulling on the front when you should be sitting in more). What does your NP look like in the 90 minutes before you’re cooked?

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My IF was 0.91, 1.12 and 1.07 for the 3 races at the time I got dropped, all around 1:30 min. One race where I did very well and the distance was 55km, my IF was 1.06, and the racing time was 1:20 min.

It looks like you are going out to hard. You need to stay within yourself. I have done plenty of longer races and rides when I was on the MV plan.

Fueling is very important to me looks like you aren’t eating enough and riding above your limits from the gun.

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Looks like you might be competing out of your league (I don’t want to be rude, I have the same problem but in the lowest catergory :grinning:). Shorter races might allow you to do ok by digging very deep, but on longer races you just explode mid race. I think you should continue to follow the plan and trust the process. As soon as your ftp will be high enough for your category, you should be able to get recovery at some moment in the race instead of being always on the limit.

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your threshold is too low is you have IF of 1.05 or higher for over an hour…

Brendan

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Hi Jobrilla! If you’re only training 1.5h for session, no doubt you will have a very hard time competing in 3 hour road races. When things are starting to heat up in the race midway, your body is used to starting it’s cool down session.

A couple things you can do:

  1. ride up to 3 hours, and you can still use your TR workouts…simply ride 1.5h and then do the 1.5h workout. This is something you’ll want to work up to.
  2. TR loves sweet spot, and you can start extending these intervals in duration with minimal rest between when you only have 1.5h to ride indoors
  3. keep racing, and don’t quit if you get dropped. These will be huge fitness builders
  4. Make sure you’re getting some vo2max intervals in so that you bump up your max aerobic capability which will allow you to have more matches when things get harder.

If you need more help, shoot me a note: brendan@evoq.bike

Cheers!

Brendan

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You’ve said a mouthful Brendan, will start by adding 30 min Z2 ride to every 1.5h TR workout, as I get comfortable I will change the 30min Z2 rides to sweet spot then increase the duration to 3 hours workouts.

Thanks

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as you switch to sweet spot, look for a progressive build in duration…2 x 20, 3 x 15, 2 x 25, 2 x 30, 1 x 40, etc etc etc. DOn’t just wack yourself with 30m all at once.

Cheers!

Brendan

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Can you share the links to some of these rides? @brendanhousler mentioned this, but your FTP is too low if you’re able to maintain a 1.12 IF for 90 minutes

Second, I don’t think you necessarily need longer sessions to hang with these events. If staying with the group requires a 0.95 or higher IF you simply won’t be able to hang for three hours no matter how well you condition yourself for longer efforts. You have to find ways to conserve energy or increase your available power

Curious what kind of races these are - are they road races? fondos? mtb events? The answer to that would probably determine the best way to improve your performance into the second and third hours

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Maintaining that IF suggests either way too much effort, or as mentioned, FTP is set too low. Look at your nutrition for more than 2 hr events. Eating is always hard in the first hour, but it really helps for more than 2 hr events. Also, how about caffeine gels after 1:30 or in the 3rd hour ?

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I don’t think that is correct. Nate never did more than 2 hours sessions and did sub 9 hour Leadville.

No science here but in my humble opinion I equate an hour on the trainer to an hour and half outdoors. No coasting no lights no stops no interruptions just riding and riding!

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Yes.

@Jobrila some examples to consider:

  • 3x12 Geiger
  • 3x15 Tallac
  • 2x25 Eclipse +1 (customized in Workout Creator)
  • 1x50 Echo -1
  • 4x15 Tallac +2
  • 3x20 Eclipse
  • 2x30 Wright Peak (customized in Workout Creator)
  • 1x60 White +3

or something like this:

  • 4x15 (Tallac +2)
  • 3x20 (Ecliplse)
  • 2x30 (Wright Peak)
  • 1x45 (Reynolds -2)
  • 1x60 (White)
  • 1x70 (Leavitt +3)
  • 1x80 (Echo +3)
  • 1x90 (Phoenix +1)
  • 1x105 (Polar Bear +1)

Something else to consider during Sweet Spot Base training at MV - swap some of the 1.5 hour MV sweet spot rides with longer 2 hour sweet spot workouts from the HV plan.

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Yes and No.

Structured training in general is great to raise your fitness and FTP, all good for any types of racing, but in my experience I feel I need some longer rides too. My races are also 2-4 hours and I do endurance rides from time to time to supplement the TR plans and I feel this helps me.

In base period, I aim to get out once per week for a long endurance ride. But at least every second week if I can’t manage that due to life. I substitute the Sunday ride with one 3-5 hours in length. Sometimes I do some sweet spot efforts but sometimes I just noodle and go out for a long time.

In Build period, the same, aim to go outdoors every week. I substitute the Sunday ride. In this period, make your Sunday ride, not just a noodle, but include a mix of effort levels, sweet spot, threshold, VO2.

In Speciality phase, I tend to do these rides once a month to maintain endurance levels.

Just careful not to go overboard on these longer endurance rides. What matters most of all is consistency in your training and don’t go deeper than you can and start skipping workouts later or doing them at a lower quality due to tiredness.