This final training block is about sharpening up for your key event. 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! Look at the taper section then work back from there to plan the next 3-6 weeks of training before your taper starts.
From your technical planning review last month you should have a list (hopefully not a long one) of areas which needed addressing during this final phase of training. These will carry over into this month to ensure you are in the best possible shape to perform on your big day. These may be psychological, physiological, technological or even knowledge gaps; make sure you are fully prepared.
Whichever event you’re targeting you want to get at least two more big rides 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, 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.
June Training plan
SCR – small chain ring only
LCR – large chain ring only
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 x6-8. Then spin down.
Weekly Training plan
Recovery rides- easy 30-60mins SCR (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 / stretch and mobilise
Stretch and mobilise
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.
Foam roller / tennis ball 30secs each area
Feet, Calves, Peroneals, Quads, Glutes, TFL/ITB, Groin/Adductors
Pecs, Lats, Posterior shoulder
1a) Back Squat 3 x 8 | Recovery – 3 Min
1b) Chin up | 3 x the max possible | Recovery – 2 Min
2a) Step ups | 3 x 6 | Recovery – 90 Sec
2b) Pull ups | 3 x 15 | Recovery – 90 Sec
3a) Reverse lunges| 3 x 6 | Recovery – 60 Sec
3b) Dead bug | 3x 10| Recovery –30 Sec (Editors note: I had to google this one!)
Recover – 10min easy spin on the bike
Now it’s the Taper!
The magical taper time, this is the tricky balance of reducing the training stress so that you hit the big day fresh as a daisy, but not loosing any fitness or getting heavy legged. Each person is different as to how they respond, some may need only a 7-10 day taper, others will need a more classic 21 day taper. If this is your first event then I would recommend a generous 3 week taper, but those with more experience and knowledge of how your body responds may want to try a shorter taper period. Remember that any training session will take 3 weeks to have an impact on your fitness, therefore any sessions you do within this 3 week window before your event are not going to make you any better on the day (so don’t bury yourself in the hope of further improvements), we just want to maintain the fitness you’ve built up.
Option 1 (first timers)
3 week taper – from your final big weekend you want to drop the volume to 50%, so the long ride is 2-3hours, do x4 reps of the speed endurance set and x2-3 6mile tempo’s. 2 weeks out this reduces to a 2hour long ride, x2-3 reps speed endurance and 2x 6miles tempo.
Option 2 (if feeling very fatigued)
3 week taper – from the final big weekend you aim to scrub a load of fatigue straight away by dropping the volume, but then building again 2 weeks out. So the long ride is 90min – 2hours, 2 reps of the speed endurance and 2x 6mile tempo. 2 weeks out you then pick it back up to a 3-4hour ride, x4 speed endurance reps and 3x 6mile tempo.
The final week you will have the added stress of travel on your body, but we don’t want to get heavy legged so a couple of short sharp sessions to keep the legs feeling good.
Monday – recovery set
Tuesday – 2 x 3mile tempo
Wednesday – REST
Thursday – 20-30min easy spin with 5x 1min high cadence drills
Friday – REST / TRAVEL
Saturday – 30-40min easy spin with x5 30 sec sprints to flush the legs
Sunday – Your Big Day!
Remember that when you arrive for your event the Sports Tours International team will be on hand to help you with registration, setting your bike up, and answering any questions you may have
A few points about this final phase.
Thank you for following this 6 month series of training articles, all that is left is to say; trust the training, enjoy yourself and smile for the photographers!
N + 1 for that Gravel bike? Or risk the 2km on the road race machine? twitter.com/LeTour/status/…