Below is a very basic way to help prepare for a race that is upcoming in the foreseeable future. You could use this format with anything, it actually does not have to be a race, it could also just be a big ride, or something that you want to perform well at. There are any number of options and configurations that work well in preparation, but the main thing is that if you are taking it seriously, and want to be able to perform at a high level, it is worth taking the time to map out a plan, and then follow through, and implement it into action.
For our example, we will say that we are going to do a Hard Enduro race in about 8 weeks (Oh I dunno, maybe Round 1 of the USA Hard Enduro Series?). The race is an unknown distance, but we are guessing that it will be 5+ hours of racing…Depending on where it will be held, (Page, AZ maybe?) the terrain can vary wildly.
Eight weeks out, is a good amount of time to start training specifically for an event, assuming that our avatar is starting at a decent level of base fitness, and they are, because we know that they have been following the Calendar workouts from the Enduro Method subscription plan for a while now…which means they test positive…For Fitness.
But what we are discussing is outside the parameters of regular training, and preferably done in the most specific mode possible to the event. So for Hard Enduro, you would be doing these sessions on the bike, in as close to the same conditions as possible as the event.
Over the course of eight weeks, we want to build up in volume, and accumulate a race-like stimulus in training. Treat these rides like you would treat a race. Depending on where you are able to train, make sure to always stay safe in practice. Don’t ride recklessly on public trails.
Week 1 - Saturday 1:30 hour ride (@ 85% race pace) + Regular training volume during the week
Week 2 - Saturday 2 hour ride (@ race pace) + Regular training volume during the week
Week 3 - Saturday 1:30 hour ride (@ 85% race pace) + Regular training volume during the week
Week 4 - Saturday 2:15 hour ride (@ race pace) + Regular training volume during the week
Week 5 - Saturday 3:00 hour ride (@ 85% race pace) + Regular training volume during the week
Week 6 - Saturday 3:45 hour ride (@ race pace) + Regular training volume during the week
Week 7 - Saturday 1:45 hour ride (@ 85% of race pace) + ½ of Regular training volume during the week
Week 8 - Race Day!
Race pace = Fast, but under control, consciously thinking about going faster. Treat the entire time domain like a race. Try to do everything as you would in a race scenario. Not taking excessive water breaks on top of every other hill…No time for training selfies. This is also a great opportunity to practice fueling strategies for race day.
85% Race pace = This would be trying to find a flow state. Riding in the zone. Working on being smooth, fluid. Not making mistakes. Less focused on absolute speed, and more focused on speed through efficiency. Also, treating your fueling strategy like race day, practice, practice, practice.
If possible, it makes sense to try and do these sessions each week, on the same day and time as the upcoming event.
The above durations can be adjusted according to the event specifications…The goal is to work up to about ¾ of the actual event distance or overall time, roughly 2 weeks before launch. This allows for getting in some volume, and actual event-like conditions, and then gives ample time to taper and fully recover before, 3, 2, 1, Go.
Side note - We can not ride here in southeastern Idaho during the winter. So I will be doing this same protocol on a mix of Concept 2 ergs and running when the weather allows. Times and intent stays the same, but the mode/modes of exercise varies.
Train to ride.
Is it optimal to not do this training on the bike? No.
Is it better than nothing? Absolutely fucking yes.