Living Jackson

Benefits of cycling

How To Train For Shorter Sportives or Gran Fondos


– Just because a Gran Fondo is short doesn’t mean it’s not going
to be a big challenge. Coming up are our tips on
how to prepare for one. (upbeat music) Let us take, as an example, the Maratona dles Dolomites
in the Alta Badia region, because that’s the one that
we’re doing later on this year. Now, the short route
there, is only 55km long, but it incorporates four major climbs: the Campolongo, the Pordoi,
the Sella, and the Gardena, for a lovely 9km descent back
into the finishing Corvara. – How long a route like
that is gonna take you very much depends on your fitness level, and also, I’m afraid to say, your weight. So, the very fittest and leanest riders could be taking as little
as two-and-a-quarter-hours. However, it’s perfectly excusable to take up to six hours
on a test like that. – Exactly. Now since you’re watching this video, we’re going to assume that
it’s going to take you in the region of four to five hours to complete this short loop,
and it is really important to make a good guess as to exactly how long it’s going to take you, because it’s the duration
that’s far more important than the distance when it comes to making a specific training plan. – Yeah, and then as well as the duration, you also want to think about
the type of riding involved. So, again, getting back to the Maratona, if it’s gonna take you four hours, probably three of those are
gonna be spent climbing. So, regardless of your choice of gear, you can say, how fast do you go up them, you wanna be factoring in,
you’ll be needing to ride for prolonged periods
of time, really hard. And so those are the efforts you want to be replicating in training. (groovy music) – What we always recommend doing, is working backwards from
the date of your goal. So in a diary somewhere,
write down what that date is, and then figure out how many
weeks and months you have until the big day. Then, also have a look
at what you’ve been doing on the bike over the
past few weeks or months, average that out and use
that as your starting point. – Yeah, the idea is to
then gradually build both the intensity and
duration of you rides, although, importantly,
not at the same time, until a point about 10 days
out from your target event. After that you’re going
to be freshening up so you’re ready for the big day. Now, fundamentally, it
is quite straightforward. You want to stimulate
your body through training a little bit more week on week, but it’s important that
you do it gradually, because if you do too much too soon, you could well end up injured and/or ill and therefore, you end up
going back to square one. – Yeah. Now if you’ve got the luxury of a powermeter on your bike, there are some great
training tools out there which allow you to score how
hard an individual ride was, such as training peaks for example, and that is a great way of monitoring over weeks and months that
you are stimulating your body that bit more each week,
but not overly much. – Yeah, and if you don’t have
a powermeter do not worry. It’s very easy to keep a track firstly, of the duration of your ride,
so build up a weekly total, and then keep a track of the intensity. You can either record your heart rate, or indeed just score each
ride that you do out of 10. So, add up how much time that you spend in the saddle each week and
then how hard the rides are. (groovy music) – As time goes on, you
should start to feel stronger and stronger on your bike and also have the ability to
ride further at a time as well. It’s normal to feel some level of fatigue, but be careful to monitor it. If, for example, you’ve taken
a day or two pretty easy or completely off the bike,
and when you get back on, you’re still feeling a
lot of pain in your legs and general fatigue, it might be time to kick back, take a
further easy day or two before you resume your training. – Yeah, you’ve got to also think about stresses from day-to-day life. Now, I’m assuming you’re
not a professional cyclist, we aren’t anymore either,
so we can’t just focus on our training. There are other things in life that get us stressed or tired, whether it’s work or family commitments. And those can have a really big impact on both the way you feel on the bike, and how you recover off it. – It’s also important to not just think about training your physical fitness. You also want to carefully think about what you’re eating and drinking when you’re on the bike. So, for an event of this duration, you’re going to need to
eat and drink quite a lot to make sure you don’t die at the end. So it’s really important that you do this in your training as well. Get yourself used to regularly
sipping from your bottle, regularly dipping into your pocket for something to eat, or a gel, etc. And make sure that you’re using
the same stuff in training that you’re planning on using on the day. – Yeah that’s really important because your body can
actually train itself to absorb quite high
volumes of carbohydrate that you’re gonna need,
so actually training on what you use on the event day is really gonna help that. – With all that in mind then, following a structured
but moldable training plan which gradually builds either
the intensity or the volume, as well as following a
sensible nutritional strategy on and off the bike, should
see you more than ready to tackle a short event,
such as the Maratona, or any Sportive that’s
of a similar duration. – That’s right. Another thing that may well
help you on your quest actually, is to subscribe to GCN,
it’s completely free. You can do it by clicking on the globe, because we’re gonna have loads more videos that will help you in the
coming weeks and months. But we’ve also already
got an absolute truckload on the channel as well. And two that we’ve
cherry-picked for you now are “When To Eat On the Bike,”
giving you some valuable tips, and then also “How to
Speed-Up Your Recovery.” That one’s just down there.

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