In the lead up to the challenge in September, I’m aiming to provide you with some insights into my approach to prepare for the challenge. I’ll also be sharing some of my experiences and knowledge gained.
Well where to start? That’s actually quite easy, most of my friends have been asking the following 2 questions:
How far are you riding each week? What are you training routes?
Each week consists of 4 shorter rides of 30-60km, 1 long ride of 200km on a Saturday and typically an 80-100km ride on a Sunday morning. Every third week, or so, when family/work commitments allow, the weekend ride is extended to a 200km and a 200-225km (sometimes with a 175km ride on the Friday as well) ride to build up endurance over consecutive days. I also include a few recovery weeks, where the intensity is significantly reduced and the longer rides are shortened.
It’s not possible to train to ride a full Tour de France, firstly time constraints won’t allow for this and secondly I’d burn out and be even more grumpy at home. The trick is to make the most of the shorter rides, by working intensively whether that be in time trial mode, interval or hill sessions- the variety also keeps training interesting and challenging. By keeping this schedule will allow me to get through the first 3-4 days of the Tour and the body will naturally adapt for subsequent days (hopefully).
The Tuesday Evening Interval Session
I typically train early morning on the road. On a Tuesday , I can only fit in a 45-60 minute high intensity evening session. Therefore it’s in from work, set-up the turbo trainer (in the dining room which is starting to annoy the wife ), get changed, turn on the computer and my Tour de France route DVD, switch on the fan and start. I know it going to be painful, particularly if my wife ups the temperature and starts boiling food on the oven hobs and my beautiful baby daughter starts taunting me from her high chair!
The session includes a 10 minute warm-up followed by an interval session at high resistance, where it’s 1 minute flat out (100+ cadence*), followed by a minute recovery (85-90) as the intervals progress the intensity period increases and the recovery period shortens until there is no recovery period, meaning the last 15-20 minutes is flat out, this is followed by a 5-10 minute warm down. I can tell you, that after the first interval, l think there’s no way that the intensity can be kept up, but the cardiovascular system catches up – by the end of the session you can maintain a higher intensity than when you start.
Once finished, it’s a case of jumping off the bike, downing a protein shake, bathing my daughter and then chasing her around the room trying to get her PJ’s on (cue the Benny Hill theme tune), having a shower, eating a ‘big’ dinner, preparing my bike and sustenance for the morning ride and relaxing on the couch with some mindless TV!
In my next blog, I’ll cover the route, hills and wee stops on my 200km ride.
Thanks for reading
* Cadence – revolutions of the cranks/pedals per minute