The Long Road Back

Hi there. I’m an experienced 52 year old road rider looking forward to a couple of long (200k) events next May and June, both with more than 3500m of climbing. I’ve just started back after a month off following a big crash. I’ve done a week of a base block and now switched the a 4 week tempo building block with the intention of moving on through FTP & MAP blocks before going into the 12 week hilly gran fondo plan. Do you think this is a sensible way to prepare for my events or would you recommend I do something different, and, if so, what. Many thanks


Hi @CorbyMod,
Welcome to the SUF community! That’s an excellent question, and really, there are many ways you could structure your training. The way you’ve described follows a traditional periodization scheme, which certainly is one option.

Another option is to switch your MAP and FTP blocks if you choose the building block route, especially if your Full Frontal results report your MAP being much lower compared to your FTP. By doing this, you improve your MAP which allows you to further improve your FTP. If your MAP is low relative to FTP then you don’t have “room” to really improve your FTP because your MAP essentially acts as your ceiling.

If you’ve got just over 24 weeks before your first event (accounting for transition weeks between plans, etc…) then another option could be to choose another one of the 12-week plans that were created as “pre-season” plans such as the full century or 100-mile gravel, and choose to add the strength training program. I know these plans aren’t meant for a lot of climbing, as your goal event has, but you’ll be doing this plan far enough out that it will be ok…Especially if you do the strength program.

The last one I can think of is to combine the building blocks and the Volcano climbing plan (which is also 4 weeks). The volcano climbing plan will be the most challenging, so you may want to omit the tempo block and start with FTP and MAP, then do the Volcano, then take at least a week of recovery before starting the 12-week gran fondo plan.

Some options to consider, and I think you should take your Full Frontal results into account as well. Hope that helps and keep asking those good Q’s!

Hey Suzie
Thank you so much for your reply which is incredibly helpful. It’s great to get some different thoughts on how I approach this.
With regards to your first option, my FTP is currently 250 and MAP is 312. Does that change your thinking in any way?
Thanks again

Happy to help, @CorbyMod!
Yes, in the case of your current numbers, I’d suggest doing the MAP block before the FTP block if you’re going to take a route based on the building blocks.
I would probably do the MAP block, then the FTP block then the Volcano climbing. You’ll definitely want to take a recovery week after the volcano climbing plan, and maybe one between the MAP and FTP blocks as well, depending on how much time you have to play with in the overall lead up to your first event. And don’t forget to do a Full Frontal before beginning the 12-week gran fondo plan!

Hello, @Coach.Suzie.S

I assume that recovery week between block corresponds to the last one already included in them, right? No need to take further action.

In my case, I’m targeting a 166 km and 4783 m of elevation MTB race, so I decided to go with the following plan:

  • FTP block (because that was my weakness as stated by the Full Frontal test)

  • Volcano Climbing Plan

  • In-Season XC Mountain Bike

But now I’m wondering, does the Hilly Gran Fondo plan perhaps suit better for my race? :thinking:


Hey @David_Duran,
If you’re stacking training plans/blocks, we do still encourage a week in between plans to allow for further recovery and adaptation. However, you can choose not to, or maybe only include one after the first 2 blocks since they’re short, before beginning the 12 week plan.
Considering the distance of your goal event, I do think the Hilly Gran Fondo plan might be a better fit. The volume will be higher on that plan, whereas the XC Mountain bike plan will be a bit lower in volume and higher in intensity. The hilly gran fondo plan will also help you hold onto the progress you make on the Volcano climbing plan which will be important for your almost 5k meters of elevation.
Best of luck and happy training!


Ya know, @David_Duran, and @sbrault - as I think about it some more, I think either the 100 or 200 mile Gravel Grinder plans would also be good options for the two of you because they incorporate more volume, which get you closer to the longer distances you’ll be doing. The Hilly Gran Fondo plan doesn’t have as much volume, but the time you have available to train is a big factor and difference between the plans. Also, if you add strength training to whichever plan you choose, that will greatly help with the climbing aspect of your events.

Very much appreciated answer @Coach.Suzie.S, as it made me further reflect on a couple of things:

  • Regarding recovery weeks my understanding is that I should basically listen to my body. Great to know there are some more and specific options.

  • As I use to ride almost every Saturday with friends for several hours, it will be easier to match the high volume characteristics of the Hilly Gran Fondo (and replace a workout when needed) than fitting that in a high intensity, less volume plan such as XC Mountain Bike (which could result in overtraining).

Best regards,

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Thank you!

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