Pre Etape du Tour preparation, 10 weeks

Average Weekly Training Hours 07:40
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 07:40
Training Load By Week

The most critical period of training for the Etape is the specific work you do in the 8-12 weeks immediately prior to the event. However, in order to make the most of that crucial final window, it is essential to have a comprehensive build up that prepares you to complete the hardest sessions and highest training load in those last weeks. This plan serves that purpose, by increasing the amount of training load you can handle and starting to lift your fitness in the areas that are crucial to Etape success. This must be done in such a way that you leave a little extra in the tank for the final build - it is important not to peak too soon so this plan offers a steady, progressive increase that will offer a solid and long lasting platform upon which to add your race specific fitness. If you're looking for a plan for the final 8-12 then check out our Etape du Tour training plans. The aims of this plan are to: 1) Build your long ride endurance ready to complete an event as long as the Etape. 2) Increase work capacity and sustainable climbing power by including extended riding in zone 3 3) Include some high intensity training to prepare for event specific training following this build It is expected that this plan will typically be preceded by 2-8 weeks of base endurance training, or more experienced riders can drop straight into this after a short break following their previous target event. The plan is based around 3 training blocks, each with a slightly different aim. The time commitment is no greater than 8 hours per week, typically with a longer ride on the weekend and 2 or 3 shorter midweek rides. There is also an optional ride included where appropriate, so that you can tailor the routine if you have more/less time available than expected. This optional session is scheduled for a Saturday but can be completed on any day, provided the extra fatigue does not detract from the other sessions. The plan contains instruction for using power, heart rate and/or feel to guide the training. Using a power meter will undoubtedly give you an edge when completing the plan but if this is not an option then heart rate and feel (rating of perceived exertion or RPE) are perfectly adequate. Many of the workouts also benefit from use of a home trainer but all can be done on the road if necessary.

Sample Day 2
1:00:00
CADENCE BLOCKS

Essentially a base conditioning ride but with the addition of specified blocks of lower and higher cadence than you would normally choose. This will help as we begin to think about torque development and higher intensity training. This session can be done very precisely on the indoor trainer/rollers, or if done outside then remember that the aim is to accumulate some steady intensity riding at a range of cadences - you don't have to be spot on with the timings and rpm as long as you get the 'gist' of the session.

Sample Day 3
1:15:00
BRISK

Whole ride on the zone 2/3 border. Aim to be as smooth and consistent as possible with as much time plus or minus 10W or 5bpm from the zone 2/3 border (lactate threshold).

Include 10-15 minutes of core work and stretching post-ride. The core strength pdf from day 1 is attached (paperclip above!) as a reminder.

Sample Day 4
1:00:00
TEMPO BLOCKS

Tempo blocks
No warm-up / cool down is required, session duration is total session time
MS: Zone 2 ride with blocks of zone 3. Aim for mid zone 3 for intervals specified below, and try to keep the effort as steady as possible.

If training with power, aim to hit the target wattage from the very first pedal stroke. If riding with HR, it will take a few minutes for the HR to rise to the required level. Don't rush this and ride too hard to begin with. Effort level should require some concentration but stop short of being a leg burner! Breathing should be deep and controlled, talking only possible in short phrases.

Sample Day 6
1:00:00
OPTIONAL: FAST PEDALS/SPIN UPS

OPTIONAL: Fast pedals
MS: Zone 2 ride with 8 x 20s blocks, bringing cadence up to as fast as possible without bouncing in the saddle. Take a minute of normal pedalling between efforts

Sample Day 7
2:30:00
BASE ENDURANCE RIDE

The aim of this ride is self evident from the title! Aim to spend as much of the ride at the top end of training zone 2 as possible. In reality the effort will be spread in zones 1-3 on all but the flattest of routes but back off on climbs and push on (where safe) on descents to get the most out of this ride. A general rule of thumb is to consume 50-60g of carbohydrate (CHO) per hour on rides >90 minutes in length. Water is sufficient for shorter rides. More experienced riders may use less CHO on occasion to promote fat adaptation and increased training stimulus, or more CHO can be used with the addition of fructose to practise optimal fuelling for longer races or events.

Sample Day 9
1:00:00
CADENCE BLOCKS

Essentially a base conditioning ride but with the addition of specified blocks of lower and higher cadence than you would normally choose. This will help as we begin to think about torque development and higher intensity training. This session can be done very precisely on the indoor trainer/rollers, or if done outside then remember that the aim is to accumulate some steady intensity riding at a range of cadences - you don't have to be spot on with the timings and rpm as long as you get the 'gist' of the session.

Sample Day 10
1:15:00
BRISK

Whole ride on the zone 2/3 border. Aim to be as smooth and consistent as possible with as much time plus or minus 10W or 5bpm from the zone 2/3 border (lactate threshold).

Include 10-15 minutes of core work and stretching post-ride.

Dan Henchy
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PBscience

I'm currently working with the GB para cycling team so unable to take on any 1-2-1 coaching clients. Please do check out the training plans!