Welcome to the fifth of our six-month series of articles supporting you in your training and preparation for the 2017 Etape du Tour.
This is the month things start to get drawn together and more specialised to your individual Etape. At the start of this month you want to be doing a detailed technical plan to focus your training to meet your individual demands over this final event specific training phase. Your training aims to consolidate what you achieved in April and continue through to the taper phase in June/July. Hopefully you have one or two sportives planned over the next 6 weeks to help you test out your event day nutrition / kit selections to enable you to get “ smart and sharp”.
Perform the technical planning process
Retest your CP20 to reset training zones
Check your travel plans and pre-departure admin.
Ensure you have an outcome goal in mind, whether it is to finish your first sportive or to set a specific time. 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
Knowledge of course – route planning, accommodation, bike shops, food shops, aid stations, etc
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.
Retest threshold CP20
Back in February we did the first CP20 test. From that data you’ve hopefully based your training efforts / zones on that data. We now need to revisit that testing protocol to see how much you have improved, this will ensure you are working at the correct intensities during this final training block. You can repeat this once more 3 weeks out from your event to set your zones for the event.
FTP test set
20 mins (gradually build intensity)
4x 1min HARD, 1min easy
3mins easy recovery
20mins max effort (start steady for 5mins, build for 10mins then bury yourself for the final 5mins). Record average HR, distance, power.
5mins easy spin
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.
Coming out of the end of winter, your bike will need some TLC. Book a professional fit in advance from your local bike shop if you are not competent yourself. 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.
By the end of May you should be in optimal shape to peak for your key event in June or July.
May 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
3hrs – 4hrs
Warm Up SCR then HITS 10 mins ( 30sec fast – 30sec easy recovery )
For the 3hr ride intervals are 5 x 20 mins @ 80 – 85% FTP with 10 mins recovery
For the 4hr ride intervals are 5 x 30 mins @ 80 – 85% FTP with 10 mins recovery
End ride with 5 – 10 mins @ 95 – 100 rpm – no free wheeling.
Hour of Power (if no power meter use 85% ht rate)
Warm Up 10 mins then…
4 x 10 mins @ 90% @ FTP – 5 mins recovery @ 80% FTP
S/D 5 mins . Total 75 mins
Week 3 re test new FTP as CP20 test
Week 4 only 4x 5 mins each FTP – 2.5 mins rec between = 30 mins + WU & S/D
Warm Up 10 – 15 mins
3 mins mod @ 95 rpm – 90” very easy recovery @ 55 – 60 rpm
3 mins mod hard @ 90rpm – 90” easy recovery @ 60- 70 rpm
3 mins hard / v hard @ 85 rpm – 90” easy/ mod recovery @ 70 – 80 rpm
3 mins v. hard @ 75 rpm – 90” easy / mod recovery @ 80 – 90 rpm
3 mins v.hard @ 70 rpm – 90” mod @ 90 rpm
3 mins v.v.hard @ 65 rpm – 90” mod recovery @ 95 rpm
3 mins hard @ 85 rpm – 90” easy recovery light gear @ 100 rpm
S/D 5 – 10 mins ~ 80 rpm Total ~ 46 – 56 mins
WU 10 – 15 mins
2 x 4 mins Hard – 4 mins easy @ 90 + rpm –
2 x 4 mins Hard – 4 mins easy @ 95 + rpm
2 x 4 mins very Hard – 4 mins easy @ 100 + rpm
S/D 5 – 10 mins Total ~ 70mins
(Recovery week 10k ez – 10k mod – 10k mod/hard – 10k hard = 40k then S/D).
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)
Strength or Speed
Core/ gym / pilates / mobility
Threshold- Hour of Power (and retest of CP20)
Rest / stretch and mobilise
Stretch and mobilise
Strength and Conditioning May:
1a) Deadlift 3 x 8 | Recovery – 3 Min
1b) Unstable press up (TRX, one hand on a ball) | 3 x 8 | Recovery – 2 Min