This final training block is about sharpening up for the Etape. Hopefully the hard miles are in the bank and you are ready to enjoy all this fitness you have worked so hard to achieve. Believe in yourself! You are nearly there it’s the last 3 to 4 weeks of training, then it’s Taper time.
Perform the technical planning process
Get 1 or more simulation events completed (sportives or self supported rides)
Check your travel plans and pre-departure admin.
Ensure you have an outcome goal in mind, whether it is to finish the Etape or to go for a top placing. This will help you focus this final event specific component of your training plan. Below is a technical planning tool you can use to help guide you, for each section plan how you will address each component. For many of you cycling will be a new sport and the training over the past few months has allowed you to settle into regular training and you’ll have found your strengths and weaknesses. For others you maybe challenging yourself to improve on previous results, having a specific target (or revised target, upwards or downwards) in mind will ensure this last training block is designed to meet your needs.
Event demands – what are the unique demands of the sportive you have entered? Heat, weather, hills, distance, road surface, etc. – are you prepared?
Health – what are your own health issues which may need managing? Eg. Old injury maintenance, ensuing robustness, flexibility, stability, illness avoidance.
Physical development – ‘race weight’, VO2 max, endurance, recovery strategies, efficiency of riding
Nutrition- fuel source, timing and amount. Pre, during and post training.
Mental approach – visualisation, confidence, identify controllable factors, how to hurt, managing expectations.
Event day prep – warm up optimisation, kit (spares), fuel strategy
Event technical requirements – equipment required, bike handling (eg. Decents, group riding), pedalling technique, pacing strategy
For each section, grade yourself from Red (needs urgent attention), Amber (needs work), Green (on track) to Gold (perfect). This will help you focus on the areas which need most attention to help you achieve your goals by ensuring that the rides over the next month address any areas you graded as Red or Amber.
Race paced events
Also you want to get at least one more big ride done at your race intensity and practising your nutrition in the lead up to and during the ride. These can be self supported rides, or a local sportive in the UK or abroad. The key is to practice everything you are going to do on the big day, from what clothing to wear (appreciate the weather might be different, but as close as you can), what breakfast to eat, what drinks and food to have on the bike (consumed at race intensity). Any issues now can be ironed out before the main event. The weekends where you don’t do a simulation event (sportive or self supported) follow the long ride session below, but again make sure you practice your nutrition as you plan to do on the day.
Check travel plans and pre-departure admin
Check your travel package; how you and your bike are going to get there, timings, locations of accommodation, transfers, etc. Sports Tours International reps will look after you at every stage of your journey, but you can reduce your stress levels by making sure you know what you are supposed to be doing and when.
Order your fresh tubes and tyres, and nutrition products if you’re using your own so that you’ve got them in advance rather than risk your supplier running out of stock.
It is also worth booking your bike in now for its service 1-2 weeks before you fly out, rather than a mad rush at the end when you find your local bike shop is booked up.
June Training plan
WU – warm up
CD – Cool down
Rpm – revolutions per minute
% – use heart rate zones, functional threshold power, or simply rate of perceived exertion.
FTP – Functional Threshold Power
1st hour gradually build effort
2nd hour – 40min steady then 20min as (5x 3min effort 1min recovery). Efforts are either overgearing to work on strength with cadence of 70rpm, or threshold speed with a cadence of 95rpm – pick your weakness.
3rd-4th hour at race effort.
5th hour repeat the 40-20 set as above.
6th hour easy.
6mins at race effort, then 3 mins recovery = 9min. Repeat x 6-8. Then cool down.
a) 5x 6miles tempo, 10min recovery.
b) 3x 12miles tempo 15min recovery.
Weekly Training plan
Recovery rides- easy 30-60mins (include x4-6 spin ups, gradually build to fastest sustainable cadence and hold for 1min- start and end of month do cadence test)
Core/ gym / pilates / mobility
Tempo, alternate between rides a) and b) each week
Rest / stretching
Strength and Conditioning:
This is now a maintenance phase, so just a few key exercises to keep your body ticking over but without stressing your system too much. If this is your first big event then don’t do any strength work in the final 2 weeks and only include 1 strength session 3 weeks out. If you are used to strength training then you can continue until 10 days out then do a final gym session 4 days out from the event. Focus on using the gym time to do your foam rollering / stretching etc to maintain good tissue quality.
Recover – 10min easy spin on the bike
Last installment will be in three weeks and give insight on how to Taper.