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ASK GCN: BEST TRAINING FOR ENDURANCE RIDE (NOT A RACE)

on November 06, 2018

Question: I would like to prepare for longer(250-300km) rides. The ultimate goal is twofold: ride around a big loop around a lake here in Sweden, and gets ready for long distance touring. Time is not the goal here, comfort on the bike and endurance is. I usually cramp at just under 200km. How do I train for this?

In many ways, the training for a goal such as this is quite simple. Particularly when time is not a priority. There are two keys to successfully completing a ride of this length under these circumstances.

NUTRITION

It may seem strange to be focusing on nutrition before the physical training, but a poor nutritional strategy will undo the best training in an event of this length.

We must prepare to build up the body to store carbohydrate to maximal level. The latest on carbohydrate loading suggests consuming 8-10g/kg/day of carbohydrate 36 hours before the event. That’s roughly 700g of carbohydrate in 24 hours for a 70Kg person. On the day of your ride, aim to consume 200g of carbohydrate 3 hours before the start.

You’re going to be burning quite a lot of energy over the course of a 300km ride. Since the body can process only 60g of carbohydrate at a time, aim to consume 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour during the ride. Keep in mind that hydration is essential to avoid cramping. Consume 2 bottles of carbohydrate-electrolyte mix and 500-2000mg of sodium per hour to avoid cramping.

PACING

Use duration rather than distance when planning your training, alternating between long and short weekend rides.

  • Build your training up with longer rides, with the longest hovering around ⅔ of the expected final time. For example, if you are aiming to complete the ride in 10 hours, then your longest training ride should be around 7 hours. Weekends are perfect for this.
  • Every other weekend, add some time to your duration as you progress toward the 7 hour ride. In other words, ride 3 hrs, then 3.5 hrs, then 4 hrs.
  • On these long weekend rides, ride at a pace you’d expect to ride in the 2nd half of your event.
  • Spend alternate weekends completing shorter rides of around 2 hours. Aim to ride at a brisk pace for the duration of the session.

RIDE ON ZWIFT

Including some intensity in training once a week can be a great help for very long steady state effort training. Join a group ride or race for some unstructured high-intensity training.

DOWNLOAD AND IMPORT THE WORKOUT

You can download the recommended workout here. Next, you'll want to import the workout into Zwift and get training. This article explains how to import.

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