Intensive training

Building intensive training on a solid base

Intensive training on a solid base as you approach your season’s main cyclosportive or event is vital to success!

Beware the quick fix!

If you are a ‘time-poor’ cyclist, beware of the ‘quick-fix’ 12-week training plan that will take you from zero to hero. In my experience so many ‘time-poor’ cyclists leave their training to the last-minute and so the 12-week training plan can seem like the answer!

When in that position, be aware that you may not have the resillience that base training provides. Be mindful of potential injury during your training and if it happens, don’t try to ‘push-through’. Allow time for healing, rest and recovery.

Limited time for training?

Remember the 80:20 rule. 80% of your training time needs to focus on base work, keeping to heart rate zone 2 while 20% of your training can be a little more intensive and include intervals. Alternatively, seek the advice of an experienced coach and remember that in terms of cost, a coach is far cheaper than that latest gizmo that is going to overcome your lack of fitness!

The intensive training phase or ‘build-up phase

Your base training phase enables you to move on to the next step and raise the intensity of your training and to focus on the needs of your cycloportive or event.

On the back of that excellent base you can now progress with more intensive work safe in the knowledge that you have the resilience to increase the workload without fear of injury or detrimental fatigue.

If you haven’t already done so, identify the specific needs of the cyclosportive so you can focus your intensive sessions on meeting those demands. Will you have to overcome flat, rolling terrain? Short steep hills? Mountains? All will have different and specific demands on your physiology and your training needs to enable you to meet those demands for the entire cyclosportive.

Get a coach

There are significant differences between following a training plan and using a coach. Training Plan vs Coaching? identifies some of the pros and cons.

If you’re experienced in the type of events you’re riding, you may know what works for you. However, I found that even after 25 years of cycling my coach has been invaluable in expanding my horizons and helping me achieve a greater level of fitness and strength than I had at a previous peak. It can’t hurt to get a second opinion!


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A cyclist for 25+ years specialising in endurance events Jez has completed two London-Edinburgh-London 1400 kms Audax, time-trials at 10, 25, 50, 100 miles and 24-hours. Successfully completed Tour du Mont Blanc in 2017 as part of a 'Duo' team in 16 hr 39 mins (330 kms, 8,700+ m) plus various continental cyclosportives in France and Belgium.
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Posted in Preparation, Training.