Endurance issues

Let me start by stating, Sufferfest is the real deal and I’m a believer. I have used Sufferfest for over a year and had great results improving FTP. My rider type is a time trialist. Last winter I used the preseason mountain bike plan (followed it pretty strictly and increased FTP from 280 to 327) and it worked great to prepare me for my first 35 mile gravel race. I even hit the podium.

Although that race was great, I struggle SO much in a couple other areas. Mountain biking with the typical high power surges leaves me walking up hills after about an hour. I can’t recover from the high efforts. Also when I try to ride gravel for longer distances, I am toast after around 40 miles (2 hours). So I can go from 2nd place in a 35 mile gravel race one week to middle of the pack on a 50 mile gravel race a couple weeks later. This happens regardless of amount or type of nutrition and hydration. I’m 205 pounds and 6’4" so that’s a lot of weight to move up hills. :grimacing:

Thoughts on how to improve those two areas - endurance and repeatability? I have 24 weeks before my first races in the spring. Any recommendations on plans? I’m basically only about a year and a half into my biking journey so maybe it isn’t unusual to lack endurance? Thanks!

Hey, sounds like you have seen some great progress already - well done!

Firstly I would say it is worth remembering that the best results are seen when ‘shocking’ your body by applying a new stimulus (the pre-season mtb plan in this scenario) from there the body adapts very quickly to training so over time it becomes more challenging to see big results all the time.

However that is not to say you can keep improving your numbers. I would consider:

  • Special focus: Power builder (6weeks)
  • Special Focus: Building blocks: MAP or AC/NM
  • Gravel Grinder

Incorporating strength routines into your program will definitely benefit here too :slight_smile:

Let me know what you decide to go for

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Yeah i was going to say, incorporate strength training or tack on a couple of long rides per week, but Coach Rupert beat me to it (the gravel grinder plans have a bunch of long rides)

Also re: nutrition, my guess is you need to eat more than you think in order to keep up with your expenditures, especially as the durations get longer. Personal experience, i used to think I had an issue with endurance and repeatability, then i did the math on my calorie expenditures and realized i was actually bonking on almost every long ride. Like for fast endurance rides, I can be cruising at upwards of 700 calories an hour. Eating to replace what i’m burning means eating at almost every opportunity (one of those stroop waffles is only 150 calories, a gel or gu is usually only 120).

It’s weird because you might think, what could come more naturally than eating, but when you’re going hard you really need to work at it.


Some say endurance races are basically an eating competition!

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