1 – It’s closer than you think, make the most of your time:
After the Christmas festivities there’s 13 weeks until the event. This may sound a lot, but when that’s broken down and you remember that you’ll need 3 rest weeks and 1 taper week as part of that total, that leaves 9 weeks of specific training.
2 – Prepare for the specifics of the event:
When preparing for any event I always ask “what are the demands of the event?”. For example, if you’re targeting a mountainous sportive, there’s no point in working on your sprint power.
So looking at the route of the RideStaffs Spring Forward sportive, the key areas that I would be working on are:
Endurance, your ability to ride all day without fatiguing.
Sustained aerobic power, that near threshold effort you’ll have to sustain when riding quickly in the group.
Repeated anaerobic power, making many hard efforts up the short steep climbs that litter the route.
3 – Focus on your limiting factors:
How much time you spend on working on each of these will be down to your own strengths and weaknesses. Often riders will focus on what they’re already good at, eg. a climber doing lots of climbing, but that time may be better spent working on their limiting factors.
4 – Make sure you can finish:
At this time of year I would certainly be putting a lot of emphasis on that endurance ability. It’s the main demand of the event and takes the most amount of training. If you’re not already comfortably riding the distance of the course you’ve chosen for the Spring Forward sportive, start working towards that. Make your training progressive however. Maybe start with a 2 hour ride for your main session over the coming weeks, then gradually build that up to a 4 hour ride.
5 – Adapt to your training conditions:
At the moment the weather is far from ideal, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on my gravel bike. Because of the tyres and the terrain I ride on, the average speed is much lower than on the road. This means the wind chill factor is greatly reduced, keeping me warm. Also, I spend a good portion of these rides through wooded area. This offers some shelter from the elements too. It’s a great way to add some variety (as well as motivation) to the well ridden roads of your local area.