Training Programs

I been off the bike the last few years. Used to do 300km a day rides, now 50km kills me. I been stepping up my training during covid but seem to have hit a wall. What books or programs that are dietary and riding focused are people using that they would recommend?

@Enduro_Performance can definitely provide some guidance here.

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I’ve always found that goal setting and action planning is a lot more motivating than following a program. I’ll write down that I want to get comfortable riding 80km by the end of then I’ll break it down into manageable chunks starting at 20kms. My brain works way better that way. If it’s overwhelming from the start I’ll switch off pretty quick.

The other thing I’m a believer of time on the bike. A few years back I wanted to lift my general fitness so bought a road bike. I used it for commuting and would throw a 50km circuit in a few times a week.

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That’s where I have been the last few months. I set goals with a routine and have been meeting them. I just feel it’s lacking proper expert structure and understanding on my part.

Thanks bud.

If you used to be able to ride 300Kms in a day, I would go on a limb and say your mental game is strong which is what most people who struggle with fitness programs or getting back on track lack.

Joel Friels Training Bible is what litterly changed the game for me about 6 years ago. I wouldn’t say its a program per say, but the foundation on how you should think about a long term program and thats Periodization. How to build from the ground up, planning for hitting goals at certain times of the year and all your info on zones and the science behind it.

Without knowing what you have access to, its hard to give recommendations beyond that. If your talking trainer stuff, well most people would recommend zwift, I would personally recommend sufferfest over it, but thats just me. I have been using it in the off season for a long time with good results, but at the end of the day its a trainer.

I believe Diet is like religion and politics and its senseless even recommending anything with it. I will say though, I am constantly tinkering with stuff when I train hard.



Weight training in the off season has helped a lot with my stamina and core strength. It’s also a nice change from the bike in the off season.


Following this to see what people recommend although I have found myself fairly happy with the progress I have made in the past ~6 months since starting riding again this July after a 12 year break.

Mid summer I was riding from the Norawarren trail head to the waterfall, with multiple stops to drink and take pics and mess around… Remember being pumped the first times I made it to the duck pond or Flat Lake, these were all with multiple stops and at an exploring pace rather than pushing myself.
12 years ago when I first got into MTB it was to race XC as I was quitting motocross racing as I was heading off to university and thought maybe I could keep up xc racing while in school. So returning to mtb, have the same intentions of racing. When I did the one XC race this summer at Miller Meadow I entered the 15km distance and was actually nervous about being able to finish, as I had never rode 15k in a ride up to that point and had never done a ride without stopping multiple times to eat, drink, etc. I finished the race and achieved my goal which was to not come in last but after that changed my approach to riding, started riding the same route from the Norawarren trailhead out and back to target 15-16km and then started trying to do that same route without stopping or letting off and drinking while on the move and progressively get faster at it. I have heard of this sort of thing described as a “Rocky” in a Trainer Road podcast, when the trails are less snowy/muddy in the spring I will start doing the same thing but with a longer distance but targeted at the race time of a XC race.
Near the end of the summer, I started looking in to riding gravel and sought some options for routes on here, I don’t like to tear up the mtb trails in the rain or after the rain but still wanted to get miles in. So I started going to the Sportwheels Gravel rides on the Rails to Trails, while there isn’t any technicality to the rails to trails, I was doing longer distances than I had ever done on the mtb trails ~35k and then started working up from there. My first ride that really killed me and left me in teeth chattering shivers from the cramps in my legs was my first 65k ride, I couldn’t drive my car home once I got off my bike for like 30 minutes. That ride included several breaks to stop and eat, etc. As the winter set in and the gravel trails got to messy to ride, I’ve recently started riding my mtb on road and have managed a >100km ride, with intentions to do more. Have also managed to do a >50km ride without stopping. For me when I am trying a new distance, I will be careful to time my hydration and food intake and take enough quick 2-3 min breaks along the way, I find it makes it a lot easier to do. Once I’ve accomplished that distance, I will repeat it and try to do it with less breaks and then work my way up to doing with without stopping at all. In the spring I am going to start focus more on intervals and increasing my average speed but right now with racing like 5 months out am mostly focused on building endurance.

I’m certainly no expert but its a strategy that has been helping me meet my goals so far. I’m assuming that as time goes on and I build more endurance and speed, my training will need to get increasingly more technical and thought out to prevent me from plateauing but I still seem to be at a stage where I can achieve easy “beginner gains”. Next fall I plan to get an indoor trainer and follow a structured training plan indoors and out through the fall/winter/spring and hopefully make a lot of progress, to have improved results over whatever I manage this summer.


I’ve been using Trainer Road and have had great results. The Plan Builder feature is super useful, just input your variables and it will spit out a training program to suit your needs and schedule. They have a bunch of content within their ecosystem that comes in handy. Between their forum, podcast and website there is likely an answer to whatever training related question you have.

And diet…yeah, like was mentioned above, pandoras box! TR does have some info about diet+training to at least get you on the right path.

I have a few Trainer Road referral codes (1 month free) I can share, just send a PM.


Last year i used zwift and couldn’t get into it so i sold if and got a fat bike. I been eyeing the cycling Bible, it keeps coming up from searching. The discipline is there. I changed my diet and I’m trying to ride minimum 3 days a week right now and keeping up pretty good (winter sucks). I used to do lots of touring, road and mtn riding then moved to Toronto and lost access to all of that and my fitness dropped quicker then I would of imagined. So to get it together I set a motivator goal to do the ultimate grand Fondo, a 161km day. So I’m looking for more of an efficient endurance regiment than a hardcore race regiment.

You just need a montage

Seriously though, following this thread with interest. I set myself a goal for a six day stage race (canceled last year-this year who knows🤔)
I find an easily digestible but focused training program on the Racers resources section of the BC bike race website

Perhaps not as detailed as you might be looking for but I thought it was a great start nonetheless.


From my perspective (non pro with zero certification programs in the science of fitness) endurance is all about building a solid base which will vary from person to person based on multiple factors, but most importantly understanding how your own body works. (Hr or power zones) can be beneficial with that.

Also, have a solid tested nutrition plan is key. No way your crushing out a gran fondo on a bottle of water and some hopes and dreams without injuring yourself most likely permanently.


Have you considered repeating whatever you did to get up to 300km rides?

But, yeah setting goals helps. My help is pretty useless otherwise, my ‘training’ advice only goes up to heart rate monitors etc, I lost interest when power meters and v02max became the thing, and don’t even get me started on zwift.


The base portion of that makes alot of sense, thats some serious volume but doable.

You will notice they are talking a lot about “hours vs time” in that template. Friel pushes that hard and becomes particularly important if you are programming with other variables in your training like weights, indoor rowing, running, hiking or whatever.

For me personally, if you can hike for 4-6 hours. You can most likely put that time in on a bike.

Another recommendation, track your training. Get a notebook and write stuff down. There is alot of different methods for this but here is an insight to what I track, and have been for years. Almost 10 to be exact.

Basically track daily, hours of total training, rest quality, rest days, and highlight and note days you are peaking or feel like crap. Its important to know when you feel like crap.

This all sounds like a bit much, but it allows me to maintain accountability, track goals and most importantly I can go to last years program that I am doing now, and see where I am at. If your on the curve you can adjust accordingly. I find this critical with weight training because I hate wasting time in the gym, in fact its not even an option now.

This will probably also sound crazy, but I think alot of endurance athletes that I know, and know of. Look at their training and life as a cycle, which repeats based on seasons. During the cycle you are resting, prepping, building and peaking. Only certain people can peak quite often during these time frames. You may have heard the term “form”

Thats one interpretation of periodization, and a way to track things. Keep in mind, there will be a guy next to you who does none of this, eats kraft dinner and never sleeps and will blow you ouf of the water every time.


I’m trying to get 1.5-2hours, 3 times a week on the weights. I found it much easier to keep motivated by working out with a friend most times. We live next door and make use of his basement pain cave.
I know not everyone has a gym in their basement, but honestly we use bands and kettle bells a ton too. So you could totally set up some strength training in a small space


Lots of good info being offered up here.

Since you were obviously quite an experienced rider in a past life I especially like Tossed’s statement “Have you considered repeating whatever you did to get up to 300km rides?”

The longer I ride and race the simpler the process has become. Not easier, but simpler.
To distill it down into a few points (keeping in mind that this is what works for my lifestyle. Returns for other investors are neither implied nor guaranteed- safe harbour clause lol)

  • KISS principle. You could bury yourself in data, details, training plans, online advice and coffee shop theories, etc til your eyes glaze over and you find you’re shooting your proverbial wad left, right and center with minimal gains. Pick one proven, reasonable sounding plan and stick with it.
  • ride often and mix it up. Unless you’re specializing in a specific discipline at a very high level you’ll benefit from different cycling disciplines. More importantly, it keeps it fresh.
  • ride w faster people. Can’t stress this enough! You get faster by learning to be comfortable being very uncomfortable and raising your threshold to hang on. “It never gets easier, you simply get faster.” but embrace that suffering.
  • trust the process and don’t get discouraged. Getting dropped is gonna happen. Bonking miles from home is assured. Feeling like you’re gonna cry at some point is guaranteed. All that shit sharpens the focus and the spear. 90% of people can’t handle that feeling, it scares them, that’s why 90% of the races are won by 10% of the riders.
  • work backwards from your plan, not towards it. Pick your goal and then back out the timeline to the current day. The stuff btwn those two points is what needs to get done.
  • enjoy the process. We’re not curing cancer, we’re riding bikes. If it feels like hard work = good. If it feels like a dead end job = bad. Keep that shit fun, relish it and drink it all up!

Moving back to NS mid last year my 2020 goal was just to get out and ride, ride with friends, enjoy the rides, and get my oldest son out MTBing. Pretty simple non-SMART goals but with the rest of the moving parts in 2020 it was as much as I could really focus on.

Right now I’m just happy to get out riding ~5 times a week and depending what the weather is like it could be mtb, gravel, fatty, road etc…

My body need to get used to being on a bike…and on consecutive days so often riding on my own but getting out with friends whenever I can.

Using my Garmin to keep me accountable but I really know right now that I need that base in my legs… so will stick with that for a few months then become a bit more specific on what I am doing and why I am doing it; once I see how I am adapting to things.

I’m mixing it up with indoor climbing which is great for working on strength, balance, and your brain. And helping out trail building to avoid the gym work :grin:

Food is good :relieved:

As is beer :beers:

And I really think I am > :biking_man:‍♂ so I can have > :beers:



I’ve been a gym rat as long as I can remember… doing fast tempo light weight stuff… body building methods. Power lifting methods…
Now I’m more into mtb and find the bb and PL Methods are very counter intuitive for biking… you get big and strong but the speed and endurance isnt there

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Just do what I used to is easier said than done. Big life style changes don’t give me the time to ride as offten or as long as I did 6 years ago. I used to also not put much effort into training, it all came genuinely with the life style I had. Now I need to focus on efficient quality training over quantity garbage miles. The "cycling Bible has a complementary book called “the cycling diary” thats for tracking, anyone ever use both?

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Yes, I have seen both. Both great

Without knowing you, it seems like its possible you may need to adjust your expectations a bit to your current living environment. Set realistic goals, get realistic results. I know thats some deep #%*+ for an internet forum but hey.

Also, Terry hit the nail on the head with the “ride with faster fitter people”
And dont be afraid of failure.