Long Rides

mainly the long solo rides on the TT bike

Do you really need to do many of them though?

I’m wondering if, like long runs, there is limited physiological value in them. Just do a couple of long ones in the final 8 weeks.

Well like anything, it depends what your goal is. If you want to be able to have a decent Ironman run, you need to be pretty strong on the bike; certainly accustomed to being on a bike for many hours. If you want to get around in 15h then it’s not so pressing to do as much training.

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Completely agree.

Taking this year’s race a bit more seriously, i’ve already got 6 rides over 60 miles under my belt in 2020 (on the back of months of 50 milers) and will be stretching that out to 80 miles or so in the next 3 or 4 weeks, and then will keep banging them out, plus going further right through to my A race in Aug.

I’ve done IMs on a few long rides, and its fine… and got round quite happily… but its not fast.


Which isn’t in contention, my point is to question how important it is to have loads of long rides.

One a week works for most.
Depends what you call long?

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What is your opinion on long rides, how many and how far would you go?

On the TT bike? And outside?

Indoor rides don’t count (see LIONel for why)
Road bike doesn’t count, unless you’re also racing on it.

How long is “long”?

I find 75 miles / 120km pretty easy, even if it’s hilly. (Where hilly = >600ft per 10 miles)
Up to 80 miles is easy if on the TT bike doing flat TT course loops, or flat road rides, with a cafe stop.
Both of which, I’ve done at least one a month off since September.

Over 80 miles?
That’s a different beast entirely.
Fuelling comes into play, those last 20 miles are always a chore.

I’ll do 4 century rides on the TT bike in the five/six weeks before the event (two of those are Friday annual leave days) and an 80 mile ride every other week before that.

I only ride every other weekend, because family time is more important to me than some arbitrary finishing time :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

All on TT (bar one I think)… about 50-50 indoors vs out… ,a bit more indoors at the moment… will be entirely outdoors in a few weeks time, as weather allows.

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I’m raising the question rather than stating a firm opinion. When Jorgan says he’s put off IM racing for the reason “mainly the long solo rides on the TT bike at silly o’clock on a Sunday.” I’m thinking - you guys are all ling term endurance athletes, do you actually need them?

If you’re accustomed to long rides does your body really forget how to do them, or is your memory and a few practice rides enough?

Are you actually getting much more physiological benefit from day one 5/6h a week than a few 2h rides?

I guess for me this is coming from doing a lot of turbo training, which does include long rides, incidentally.

In my run up to IMCH,I probably did too many. In the 8 weeks or so leading up to the race I was regularly hitting 80+ miles at the weekend, although I only did one 100mile ride. I feel that this left me pretty tired for the following week’s training. A few more easy 50ish rides would have given me a bit more recovery

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Good question - I don’t know what Jorgan would consider long. Long enough to put him off anyway.

For me 3-5h on the turbo or 4-6h outside is what I’d call long - measured by time, as you say, the varying route profile would determine the distance.

The answer I suppose would lie in science; at what point is the stimulation from (assuming a steady state, aerobic ride) bike training start tapering off? Does a 5h ride have significant performance benefits over 4.5h? Or even 3?

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I asked your opinion as everyone is different and has different goals.
Under Sutton CW did 4hr rides only, others did 6, CW ran 90mins at most Bella did a treadmill marathon every week. A few 2hr rides may be ok if you are aiming to finish but can be very different to 5hrs physiologically. It’s all aerobic but a 2hr ride can be done near to threshold so could add extra fatigue. 4 or 5hrs is also building muscular endurance a 2hr ride cant. If you are racing at the front you need 100miles on a bike to feel like something you can do every day so you can run a decent marathon after.


Nice reply :ok_hand:t4::+1:t3:
I don’t know that answers to those.
All I know, is I could run a far better marathon after a 3-4.5hr ride than after a >5hr one.
If all rides are at the same wattage and HR etc.

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That may well be, but Sutton seems a bit strange.
He seems to bully some athletes and single others out for special attention.
I’m still suspect about CW.
That mystery illness before Kona was plain weird.

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Mmm, I agree and interesting about CW maxing at 4h.

I guess in general terms, let’s say Jorgan’s weekly training was otherwise ‘normal’, whatever that means and as unlikely Jorgan doing anything normal sounds, and the overall weekly volume is 100miles, so we’re only discussing The Long ride.

Let’s say he was looking a weekly Sunday 5h* ride, all aerobic, nose breathing type stuff. Mon-Fri includes any expected threshold, VO2 or whatever, Sunday is reserved for the long ride.

Now, let’s say he decides to do two 2.5h* rides - same effort level; all aerobic, nose breathing. One on Saturday morning, one on Sunday…does his body respond to the divided training stimulus in, at least, the same way?

*These are just for arguments sake, if there is something significant about 6h or 4h we can swap them around.

Why @Jorgan ?

Ideally, if you hate your family, or have none, or have tonnes of holiday you want to use up selfishly;

Long ride Friday or Saturday.
Long run Saturday or Sunday.

I’ll be aiming to do my century rides at 33kmh, so getting them done in 5 hours with a quick stop.
Out at 7am, back for midday.
3 loops past the house.

For IM and HIM, I don’t do any speedwork or nosebreathing or anything else. I just do my rides on my TT bike at target race power.
Any rides under 80 minutes I just do at an active recovery pace.
I’m too tired to do anything else.
What with the 30km runs and two CSS swims per week. I’ll do a 3-4km swim and two other runs (30-40 minutes 5:20/km with the dog and one hour run at race pace)

Good discussion, although I think it deserves it’s own thread, and you are talking about @Jorgan like he’s not here :sweat_smile:

You’re concentrating on the training benefits to the engine, but surely the biggest thing about long solo rides on the TT bike are being able to hold the position for 5-6hrs. Aerobic fitness can be achieved off multiple shorter rides, but can body conditioning?


Good points :+1:

It’s not that simple. You are getting the aerobic conditioning but not the muscular endurance. Also it’s about the mental aspects of it. Whatever way you look st it long rides are needed to compete.