Ultra Endurance Training Plans

I’ve been using the British Cycling Insight Zone training plans on Training Peaksfor the last 3 or so years and my FTP is currently at a pretty regular 344 watts at 86kg. I typically do road races and TTs and am more a breakaway rider since I can hold very close to FT for very very long and have no real sprint or ability to keep up with the skinnies on climbs longer than 5 or so minutes. I despise doing crits and that’s basically the state of road racing in the US so want to branch out into longer rides, TT, and events.

Are there good plans for 10-14 hour weeks that are out there to build big endurance? I know I’ll have to work on pacing etc but would love to know if there is anything out there in TP that has at least 2 day a week (+moderate weekend intervals) structured training that can get me beyond where I’m at now goal is to be able to do 250 mile rides solo. I currently am good out to 7 hours solo in non-AZ Summer weather but feel like I just hit a wall at 125 miles in. Thanks in advance for any advice.

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Hey - I have a few long endurance events under my belt and have been training for a long +270Km and +7000m event this year. I have a coach and have also checked in with a coach at FastTalk for a second opinion. I follow a typical 3 weeks on, 1 week “off” cycle. The structure is as follows:
2 high intensity sessions per week - usually in the middle of the week (say Tue and Thur). These rides are about ~1.5 to 2hrs.
1 Zone 2 ride on Wednesday- as long as you can afford. +2hrs would be ideal.
2 long rides on the weekend. Minimum of 3 hours but consider one of at least 4 to 5 hours. Most of the time in Z2. You can mix it up by adding tempo in one of these rides - for example 3X 20 mins tempo/30 mins endurance.

My biggest lessons working with a coach:
Keep pressure on pedals. Your Zone 1 has to be less than 20%.
Hydration and nutrition are key for these events. Abandon fashion and take those 1 liter bottles on your long rides. Drink 3/4 to 1 liter per hour.
Eat. From the go. 90 grams of carbs per hour is a good guideline. White bread PBJs, etc. can keep costs down and save prepackaged bars for events.

Bottom line is this: there is no substitute for volume. You have to do it. Intensity won’t substitute for it.

Another lesson for me is that I need a couple of free weeks every 3 training blocks. Keeps my mind fresh. Before an event, keep an eye out on accumulated fatigue and avoid getting tempoed-out. In a long event, you may have about 3 hours of tempo to give. Use them very wisely. Z2 is your friend.

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So kinda going to echo dpeka.

I am basically self coached, but follow a similar plan. Long slow distance rides are 80-90% of my time. Keep my HR at about 65% of max. They are slooooow, but they tend to be 6-8hrs long.

I do two intervals a week and once local races start then the race is a third interval.

If I am not training for an A race and training to improve the distance diesel then I am doing steady state intervals at roughly 85-90% of FTP for 3x15 or 4x15 then move to 3x20 with end goal of 4x20 mins.

This is all based off a mix of Fasttalk and CTS training ideas.

Last year I was able to get in a solo ride of 210 miles with 12k of vert.

This years plan was a 300 mile ride, but that is looking doubtful.

Moral is again: LSD rides at very easy pace, longer intervals working the diesel 2-3x week. Lots of food and water.

Like dpeka said, no substitutions for time in the saddle.

Ask any questions and I can get more specific

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Volume is where it’s at for long endurance rides. When I wanted to do my first 300km brevet I did two rides a week averaging 80 miles and 4000-6000ft climbing then I did TrainerRoad sweet spot workouts three days a week. It was a lot for me with kids+work and obviously it was easier at the beginning of the pandemic. But in OP’s case I’d aim for at least one 100+ mile/10,000ft day in per week plus any structured training you can fit into schedule.

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Forgot to come back to this, but while I agree with a lot of what dpeka says I will say that the 90g of carbs per hr is not where you should start and that really only is for racers who have trained their gut to absorb that much carbs.

Most people are 30-60g per hour with the body mostly able to absorb 1g per hr. Another way to calculate is .5-1g per kg of body weight.

90g is at the high end and usually reserved for well trained (physically and gut) athletes that are doing extremely hard/long rides.

Just to give you an idea of my fueling, and I am not saying this is correct, but I usually eat a clif nut butter bar every hour during my long rides up to about 130 miles. If I am going longer or at a faster pace the frequency increases.

The other day I did 125 miles and only ate 3 bars over the 7 hrs and felt perfectly fine. That was on purpose to train in the opposite manner. Body used to not having enough.

Also to give you an idea of 90g of carbs hr that would be:

3.5 Clif butter bars or

2 full packs of clif shot bloks or

4 typical gels

Try eating that and not feeling sick. It is better to be a little low than too much. One pack of bloks an hr will usually make me feel a little off unless I was doing hard interval or racing work.

Here is just one article on this:

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I am also self-coached. I’ve done a couple of 400Ks and some 300Ks.

Even when I’m “on,” my schedule is not very heavy on volume. My typical week will be two 60-min threshold interval workouts, two 90-min zone-2 steady rides, and one long ride. I increase the length of my “long” ride gradually, but get it up to about 150 miles. Every third week I have an easy week where instead of a long ride, I go out for about 40 miles. Every so often I substitute a VO2-oriented workout for a threshold workout just for variety, even though endurance riding doesn’t rely on VO2max. This obviously gets to be more than 14 hr/wk, but I’m not sure what I’d cut to get it down. You don’t need big miles every day, but you do need them occasionally. My wild-ass guess is that if you can get your CTL up to about 100 with mostly low-intensity riding, you should be able to ride 250 miles strongly.

If you’re used to riding fast, you need to retrain to ride slow. Keep it in zone 2.

I’m the last person to advise you on fueling, since I can under-fuel and get away with it up to maybe 250K.

If there’s a randonneuring group in your area, hook up with them.

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