If you are planning a 100-mile ride this year, you should by now have your place confirmed so you know what and when your goal event is. If you were one of the lucky ones to get in to RideLondon, congratulations, but if not, there are plenty of 100-mile sportives to choose from as your goal event.
If your winter training has gone well, you should be heading into spring with a solid fitness foundation already in place. That foundation is what we’ll be building on in this plan as we introduce longer rides, harder efforts and a couple of ‘dry-run’ sportives to help you refine your riding in the run-up to the event.
How to use this training plan
The structure of the plan is straightforward — four-week blocks that build up week by week, but with an easier seven days every fourth week so you have a programmed period of recovery and adaptation.
The structure of each block is similar: there are long rides that gradually increase in duration, a couple of key weekly interval sessions that build in their intensity and become more demanding, and a weekly sweetspot ride that barely varies at all because it’s so central to the aerobic fitness you’ll need. It’s all designed to create a period of time where you can settle into a predictable pattern and simply focus on training and recovering well.
This plan is for you if…
- You finished a 100-mile sportive last year and are keen to improve
- You have successfully completed part one
- Your cycling fitness is already high and you’re looking to take the next step
- You can fit in a decent length ride most days
Dress right for the spring weather
In the last instalment, we used hilly rides to drive your comfort and performance up very gradually over time. Now we reverse the idea, leaving the hard efforts at a consistent Zone 4, but gradually increasing the intensity of the recoveries. Done carefully, this should gradually improve your body’s lactate clearance and — as a result — your ability to sustain and repeat harder efforts.
Undoubtedly the hardest session each week, the structure of these rides remains the same throughout the plan. There’s a block of sweetspot riding early on to encourage glycogen depletion, a series of sweetspot hills in the middle to develop your sustainable climbing, and a final harder block towards the end that — combined with the block at the start — should encourage further fat burning.
It’s unlikely you’ll have to deal with the flat-out accelerations and attacks of a road race, but if you’re aiming to cover ground faster, being able to cope with the pacing approach of any group you’re in is going to be important. These short efforts with short recoveries should prepare you for the practicalities of that type of surging, and also support the long-term lactate clearance work you’ll be doing.
Learn about training zones
Faster plan: block 1 – building repeatable speed
Click here to download a high resolution PDF of the spring training fitter plan: block 1.
Faster plan: block 2 – extending lactate clearance
Click here to download a high resolution PDF of the spring training fitter plan: block 2.
Faster plan: block 3 – preparing for performance
Click here to download a high resolution PDF of the spring training fitter plan: block 3.
Oliver Roberts is a level two coach, specialising in cycling and triathlon, who works with PBscience.com.
Over the past 10 years, he’s created training programmes for the Race for Life 5K running series, had three training manuals published and has coached athletes of all abilities, from novices to national champions, World Championship contenders and a National Ironman record holder.