Short sleeves, sunglasses, swooping descents, sublime mountain landscapes, and sharp tan lines. This is summer. This is what we are training for. This is what keeps us turning the pedals through wet and wild of winter. Put the miles in the legs now, so you can conquer your big summer sportive or gran fondo. Invest well during winter and see a fruitful return in summer.
Hopefully you have you big ride of the year pinned into your diary already. Whether it’s the Etape, Maratona, Marmotte or the incredible Haute Route, each one of these marathon events presents new challenges and tough goals to reach. At some stage we all tackle these challenges to push our boundaries, achieve what we thought was impossible and re-define our capabilities.
We at La Fuga understand how meaningful these events are, as year after year we see, how much time and effort our riders invest, just to get to the start line. So we decided to consult two of our qualified coaches and La Fuga guides, to bring you ten pieces of training gold, helping you reach the summer in fine form. Whether you’re targeting a first big European sportive or you are seasoned gran fondo rider looking to finish in the first pack, we have tips for you all. The summer starts now.
This week coach, Kerry Bircher, gives us her top 5 tips for those riders looking forward to tackling their first European sportive or gran fondo challenge. Next week, Joel Jameson gives his insight into some training for experienced riders looking to up their game.
5 Training Tips For Your First European Sportive – Kerry Bircher, Head Coach at Revolution Cycling
1. Control what you can control.
Before you head out and just start putting in a bucket load of riding, make sure you are well prepared. This applies to yourself as well as your equipment. On each ride, take the right essential spares, wear the right clothing, be well fuelled and take enough nutrition to get you through, and your training will be more enjoyable. Also ensure your position is correct on the bike – You will perform better, be more comfortable. Consult a fit technician if you are unsure and do it as a priority to prevent any potential injuries. The more prepared you are, the more in control of your ride you are, the more you will enjoy every mile.
2. Train smart, get a plan
A serious cyclo sportive requires good technique, stamina and determination to complete. It is important, not only to do the right amount of training in the months preceding the event, but the right type of training. So, once you have your race objective, you must get yourself a good training plan and possibly seek the advice of a qualified cycling coach who can help you identify specific training workouts suited to you, which will give you the most benefits for your time.
3. Know your race
Study the route of your chosen Gran Fondo: Tailor your training to match the demands and profile of the course (or leave that job to your coach!) Will there be lots of climbing on the route? If so remember to practice your descending as well as ascending. What will the weather likely be? Does the course run through a shaded forest most of the time or on a barren mountainside. Fortune favours the prepared.
4. Track your progress
Write your weekly training sessions into your diary, track them on Strava or any other training app. If you write something down, you’re more likely to commit to it and do it. When you come back in from a ride, record your thoughts and the ride stats. Make it a habit. You can then look back further down the line and see how far you’ve come. There’s nothing more motivational than working hard and seeing your improvement in front of you.
5. Take a break
You don’t get fitter when you’re riding, you get fitter when your body recovers from the training. Listen to your body, if you’re having an off day, it probably your body telling you need a break. Don’t forget your mind also undergoes as much stress as your body when training. Give your body and mind the time it needs. Prioritize quality training over quantity.
About our coaches
Kerry is an enthusiastic and inspiring personal trainer and cycling coach. Combining her enjoyment for road cycling with qualifications and interests in health, exercise, nutrition, physiology and psychology she provides clients with a unique and professional coaching service. Kerry is a qualified cycle coach through British Cycling and the Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) as well as an expert in postural correction. Most recently Kerry has combined all her skills and completed the CycleFit Precision Fit (bike fitting course) enabling her to offer a full bike fit service, or simply help advise you on how the right fit can increase your power and leverage your strengths as a cyclist.