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On the 17th of August I'm doing a 250 mile ride in the UK in one day. I'm no stranger to longer rides often completing 100 mile rides and my longest ever was 175 miles (it was fairly unpleasant towards the end).

I'm quite squeezed for time, so getting really long rides in prior to this event is difficult.

My question is, what's the most effective training possible over several shorter sessions (perhaps up to about 2hrs long) between now and then? I can probably just about get 8hrs of training in per week.

I quite enjoy doing really hard threshold intervals, and I've heard sweetspot training is highly effective, but I'm just not sure if that's better than sticking in zone 2 for this event?

Note: I feel strong enough to complete 250 miles now, but I want to make it as pain free as it can be. I have a power meter so I can train effectively, and I also have a turbo trainer and the trainerroad app.

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    When's the last time you did a 100+ mile ride? Given I'm quite squeezed for time, so getting really long rides in prior to this event is difficult. and perhaps up to about 2hrs long ... I can probably just about get 8hrs of training in per week. and the fact that you want to ride 250 miles in one day that's only three weeks or so away, I'll say if you're not capable of doing that 250-mile ride now, you won't be in three weeks. Mere two hour rides 3 or so times a week aren't going to do much to train your muscles for the many hours of fatigue they're going to have to overcome. – Andrew Henle Jul 22 at 15:13
  • Last did 100 miles on 7th July. Do you have any helpful suggestions? I'm fairly confident I'll make it with the correct fuelling. When I did 175 miles last year I didn't do any training specifically for it, was just in good shape. In quite a bit better shape this year. – John Hunt Jul 22 at 15:16
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    You're adding more than a metric century to the longest ride you've ever done. From what you've posted you won't have done any rides over a mere 40% of the length of the 250+ mile ride you're proposing to do in just about three weeks. And in those three weeks, the longest ride you propose doing is what? 30-40 miles? In my experience, someone who can do a 250+-mile ride in one day doesn't have to ask how to train for it. By the time you get to the point where you can do such a ride, you've spent so much time riding you know how to get ready, and definitely better than a stranger on the net. – Andrew Henle Jul 22 at 15:28
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    I don't think this is really answerable. Any reasonable advice about training for a 250-mile ride is going to involve doing rides much longer than two hours. You feel that your personal circumstances and fitness mean you don't need that but, then, any advice would be very specific to you and could only be given by somebody who knows your situation in great detail. – David Richerby Jul 22 at 16:16
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    I agree with David. The approach to preparation greatly depends on your physical condition and your innate physical abilities. What would be right for one person would be wrong for the next (and, of course, many, many people would be advised to not attempt this). – Daniel R Hicks Jul 23 at 1:31
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I did a ride of this length solo in March this year. I designed a route to suit me (not flat, not steep), and intended to be quick (I was aiming for under 21 hours). At 400km it was a tough day, but I never doubted I'd finish. I have seen people (tougher then me) go from a solid base of centuries/200km rides to this distance without anything in between, so it's possible.

A few things that helped me get round (an hour faster than my target).

  • all the riding I'd been doing. Prior to this I'd ridden at least one 200km (125mi) ride a month (often more) for over a year, of which several were 320+km (double centuries) in tougher conditions, though none for a few months before the 400km. When training for endurance, even commuting counts, especially if you've got stretches you can push hard.
  • fasted training. Until I injured myself recently I was going out once a week for 90 minutes before breakfast. For endurance rides this is really beneficial - you don't bonk as easily or as hard, and you learn what it feels like to be out of carbs. Once a week is ideal, twice as an absolute maximum. This seemed to help after only a handful of training rides.
  • a feeding schedule on the day. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to eat, drink and stretch out of the saddle every half hour. I tried to remember to drink in between as well. This really helps when pushing a personal distance record.
  • aim to cruise round. Hard efforts only on climbs and if you're riding in a group take turns at the front especially into a headwind. You don't have to be right on each other's wheels to get some benefit.

A ride of this length is never going to be easy, and by going for it so suddenly you're doing it the hard way - so plan the actual ride carefully. Know where you can get a meal - you'll need real food - and where you can stock up on snacks and drinks. You might need to carry more water than you think. Know where the bike shops are in case you run out of tubes. Know how you can get home if things go more wrong than you can fix (it happens; it's happened to me twice this year).

Apart from fasted training, I suggest you try to pack all your training time into long sessions, rather then hard efforts. You need the saddle time. But don't push yourself for a few days before the event.

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    @Michael you simply can't take on board enough carbs to support this sort of distance in a day. Strava reckons I burnt over 7000 calories when I did my 400. That's the best part of 2kg of carbs, or 90g/hour. Even if you can carry that (or spend time stopping and buying it) that's marginal for digestion when you're working hard. You can't really emulate endurance rides in short training rides, but fasted training at least emulates the metabolic aspects. Typical energy drinks have enough carbs that you'd need a litre an hour to get enough calories at my slow pace. You need all your fuel sources – Chris H Jul 23 at 11:36
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    Hi all, I'm doing a 200 mile solo ride tomorrow so we'll see how that goes and I'll report back here. – John Hunt Jul 26 at 12:47
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    @John I missed your comment from a few days ago, sorry. I carried a lot of cereal bars (you can restock at a pound shop or supermarket on the ride) and about a dozen gels. I stopped at cafes for second breakfast, elevenses, afternoon coffee/cake and a light dinner (McDonald's) and carried sandwiches to eat at the roadside knowing I'd get hungry on a long stretch with no facilities. Despite the fasted training I still need feeding little and often. I also carried 2 litres of drink (1 of water, 1 of energy/electrolyte drink, later topped up with juice) and refilled at every cafe stop. – Chris H Jul 26 at 14:12
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    Ok, managed 170 miles before I effectively ran out of daylight, took a wrong turning onto a rocky 'track' and ended up getting rescued due to consecutive punctures in the torrential rain. I'm 100% confident I have the physical ability and learnt a lot: 1. Bring a space blanket 2. Bring proper lights 3. Plan route properly! strava.com/activities/2569290522 – John Hunt Jul 29 at 8:43
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    I don't generally do these big rides, I'm actually more interested in racing but somehow I've got roped into this lol. Maybe when the kids are grown up I'll get into all day audax stuf.. – John Hunt Jul 29 at 14:29

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