8 Hr Gravel Race Age Grouper Prep Plan

Training Load By Week
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours: 11:04

This plan is designed for the cyclist who is aiming to complete a gravel race as an age group athlete with a competitive spirit in mind. This athlete wants to finish as strong as they can and is willing to put in the effort to get there.

It assumes that you are already in functional shape to complete a couple of 2 to 3 hour rides in any given week and still be feeling peppy and happy about riding your bike.

The plan will take you through 3 cycles. Every 3 weeks you get a pull back week, ending a 1 month cycle. Each cycle builds on the previous cycle. The first cycle will build you to doing a little over 9 hours of work total in the week. The second cycle we will build you to completing 15 hours over the course of one week and by the end of 10 weeks you will be completing your longest week of 20 hours. You will be rewarded with weeks 11 and 12 being designed to pull off load and getting race ready.

This plan works off of Borg's Perceived Method of Exertion instead of Heart Rate or Zone'ed based. Please contact me if you would like it presented in another method. Link to the Borg Chart is found here:


Sample Day 1
Intervals - Intro

Somewhere around an hour....Lets get the body ready and understanding that its going to have interval segments each week.

Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes, Your choice but then settle into the following set:

10 x 30 second 95% effort pushes, its just beneath race pace type of amped up effort. Sometimes I like to pretend I'm being chased. The goal is to give everything you have for 30 seconds. You'll have 90 seconds of recovery between each set to soft pedal , easy pedal... and recover the HR.

Spend the remainder of the time in an effort level above 60% with no set intervals.

Sample Day 2
Tempo Work

Intro to Tempo Work!

Warm up well again to make sure that your head is in the game and that your blood is flowing.

Hold the following set:

5 x 3 minutes at 85% effort (think of racing as 100% effort if it helps and also look at borg chart). 1 minute of recovery between each 3 minute segment.

The rest of the ride consider yourself successful already and just mellow out into a nice comfortable pace.

Sample Day 3

I want you to seek and explore hills. Spend the entire ride of at least 1 hour, no upper end on the time... finding me some hills. The steeper and still rideable the better. We use these for muscular endurance training. So you'll want to start targeting them and making sure you know how far they are to get to , for example. Does it take you 20 minutes to get to a good hill from the start of the ride? Or does it take over an hour?? I feel like the best situation for hill training .. you should be able to get to a nice one by 30 minutes in. NO requirements on effort level. Merely seek and explore day.

Sample Day 5
Longer Gravel Ride

Think about staying in the effort levels above 75% and steady... will make this workout successful today.

Sample Day 6
Gravel Ride

I want you out again on a longer gravel ride, it will feel longer because you're fatigued from yesterday, great! So use this time to make sure that you are riding hillier routes instead of flatter routes and again stay above the 70% effort mark.

Sample Day 8

Warm up well for 30 minutes increasing to an effort level above 70%.

Sets: 10 x 30 seconds hard race pace effort pushes with 90 seconds recovery.

10 x 15 second up and out of saddle even harder pushes, 45 seconds recovery.

Rest of the ride spend around a 60-70% effort and cool down well.

Sample Day 9

Warm up well enough to be feeling good and blood flowing. 30 minutes? More? All good.

5 x 4 minutes at 85% effort with 90 seconds of recovery between each set.

Spend the remainder of your time in at least 70% effort.

Kata Skaggs
Coach Kata

Drawing from over 17 years of experience on the trail with mountain biking and trail running I started at the beginner level and advanced to pro cross country riding and endurance riding. Racing in the pro circuit since 2011, I have been fortunate to travel to many places all over the world. The skills and knowledge gained over the years combined with my true passion to help others succeed has led me to the life of coaching.