Length of training rides for 100m sportive

I’ve been following a 12 week road plan for my first Century mile ride but there aren’t any planned rides longer than 4.5 hours. I know that I will take about 7 hours so a little twitchy if I should be doing more hours in the saddle than set out on the training plan or just ‘stick to the plan.’ Any advice greatly appreciated. Bob

Above 2,5 or 3 hours it doesn’t matter anymore. The energy system you use for the 7hours duration is about the same as per 3 hours.

I did a 300km/180miles(?) ride this summer, which took me 10hrs. Avg watts for that duration was the same as for a good 3hrs endurance ride. So, my advice woud be to trust the plan.


Thanks for advice :+1:

As Sir Arno says it’s about sustaining the same effort you’d expect to see in a 2-3hr ride you’re over the entire duration of a :100: + miler … 7,8,9 hrs

For me success therein is all down to your feeding plan: when I get that right my stats pretty much flatline AND I finish feeling fine.

I usually try and drop a bit of weight the week before (stay off the drink!) and then I make sure I have a decent breakfast lunch and dinner (good stuff not junk) in the two days preceding.

Some like to have a massive dinner the night before and a moderate early breakfast, I tend to double up a bit on both.

That means for the first couple of hours of the ride I feel pretty stuffed but it gives me time to settle my body and breathing down, just taking liquids on board, before I start snacking around hour 3. Everyone’s different and it’s about finding the foodstuffs and frequency that suit you. I usually snack around ever 45-60mins thereafter

Gels for me are a back up, a last resort to avoid bonking but some take one an hour religiously and nothing else (aside liquids). I like cheddar and it slides down, so take little packs and mini peperamis too.

Point is: find what works for you, food you think gives you energy, most closely resembles lunch and you digest easily.

Having one water bottle and another with a rehydration or electrolyte to avoid cramps is also hugely popular on long sportives. Works for me too.


For the most part, you can trust the training. A 4.5 hour ride is giving you the training you need for a 7 hour ride. Physiologically, as long as you fuel and hydrate sufficiently, your aerobic system and muscular endurance should be sufficient to take you from 4.5 to 7 hours. That being said, the mental component and confidence is another thing. If you’re still nervous and think you’ll feel better going into the century with a 5.5 or 6 hour ride under your belt, then go ahead and stretch out the long rides a bit more. But I think you’ll find that those last couple hours are more mental than physical, regardless of how much you train!


One last thing to consider is time off the bike in those 100 miles.

You know in Full Frontal where you waddle around like a penguin for 30 seconds between sessions? The psychology of that really helps. Depending where your stops are in your sportive, just two minutes off the bike at ~80 miles will probably refresh you to kick-ass in those final 20.


Great advice from you all and interesting to read various aspects that need to be considered. Fuelling intake appears to be ‘neglect at your peril.’ Many thanks fellow sufferers :+1: