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Gravel Training

General:   

A Gravel Race is a long-distance, mass-start cycling event that can take place on a gravel or mixed-surface course. While this event is technically a timed event where winners are crowned, many participants are racing against the clock rather than the other riders in the event. Because of this, Gravel Races tend to require a more constant effort compared to a road race.  Riders tend to work with each other rather than against each other, and the result is a much more consistent level of effort. These events tend to fall in the 3 to 12-hour range depending on the distance, terrain, and rider fitness.

Different Types of Gravel Races

Long Duration (5+ Hours)

A Gravel Event that is on the longer side of the spectrum will typically take 5 hours or more to complete. For an event of this duration, holding your power output steady throughout the duration of the race will pay off in the form of saved energy for the final hours of your event. For an event of this length, your ability to sustain steady amounts of power for extended durations is crucial for success.

Optimal Training Approach:

Base:  Sweet Spot Base I&II   

Build:  Sustained Power Build

Specialty:  Century Specialty

Short Duration (3-5 hours)

A shorter Gravel Event is a race that you expect to finish within 3-5 hours. Due to the shorter duration, you may be expected to go above your threshold for brief periods of time, and you will want to select a training plan the reflects that. The overall nature of the race is still sustained, however, we recommend changing the Specialty Plan to give you a little extra pep for those shorter efforts.

Optimal Training Approach (Rolling Course)

A rolling course will contain frequent, short climbs that require higher amounts of power over short periods of time.

Base:  Sweet Spot Base I&II   

Build:  Sustained Power Build

Specialty:  Rolling Road Race

Optimal Training Approach (Climbing Course)

Some courses may contain longer climbs, where a more consistent threshold level approach will be the fastest way to the top.

Base:  Sweet Spot Base I&II   

Build:  Sustained Power Build

Specialty:  Climbing Road Race

Optimal Training Approach (Flat Course):

A flat course will benefit from an entirely sustained training approach, much like the longer Gravel Race approach. For this reason, it will use the same set of plans.

Base:  Sweet Spot Base I&II   

Build:  Sustained Power Build

Specialty:  Century Specialty

Additional Demands

Nutrition and Hydration

 

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