Four weeks to go. Squeaky bum time.
The closed roads of London beckon – 100 miles (probably a bit more) of cycling-in-a-day awaits.
So how has my training been going you (don’t) ask?
Here, have an update in your eyeholes.
Get With The Programme
Well, for what feels like the first time in my cycling life, I’ve followed a training programme. Strava shows this through the medium of circles:
I mean, I’ve sort of followed a training programme.
Life tends to get in the way.
A well-thought through, structured session of threshold efforts gets replaced with a 55 minute evening blast, fuelled by fly consumption, simply because that’s the opportunity that presented itself. A ride gets dropped because I forgot to take my house keys with me when picking two of the kids up from dance class, so was locked out for 30 minutes when I returned, missing the bike window before dusk drew in.
But that all said, since the beginning of April, I’ve followed a (loosely) periodised training programme. It started with three base phases of progressively increasing volume. Then, over the course of two build cycles, I’ve upped the intensity. I’ve ridden harder and faster sessions, and thrown more steep climbs into my longer rides.
And I’d say it’s been working. I haven’t been religious in my progress testing (I’ve been markedly anti-religious) but I have been monitoring (checking occasionally) my average speed over similar routes and the power level that I can comfortably sustain over longer efforts.
Both have been going up.
Even Strava thinks I am getting fitter…
Another evidence point. After a lighter week of riding (work distractions), my ‘long ride’ this week (which I had to limit to two hours) involved a five minute climb that is on almost all of my Saturday rides.
Except this time it was a (bang on) 4 minute climb. I took 36 seconds off my previous best time.
Almost 3km/h quicker average speed. Same average heart rate (1bpm lower actually). And I remember feeling pretty good whilst riding the climb.
Clearly I’ve still got a way to go. I’m 485th on that segment. Definitely moving in the right direction though.
Bringing It Home
So what’s next on the programme?
My next big (sub-)objective is a long ride this coming Saturday. This will mark the largest single input of training impetus into my RideLondon programme.
As well as the resultant fitness boost that will hopefully follow, I just want to do a hard ride. My thinking being that if I can suffer a bit in advance, the RideLondon event itself will feel slightly easier. As a result, I’ll enjoy that day more.
That’s the theory.
I also want to spend a long day (well, a long morning – I want to be up and out with the larks if this hot weather continues) in the saddle.
As I’ve said before on the blog. RideLondon is a great first imperial century ride. For all the talk of the climbs, the real challenge for newbies (and effective newbies like me, that haven’t ridden 100 miles for over five years) is the time on the bike.
Getting used to that slight (we hope) discomfort and the need to use mini-muscles (technical term) that only start to get used when all the mega-muscles (yep) get tired, should be a key part of a century training programme.
On the basis I reckon RideLondon will involve 6 hours on the bike, I’m looking for my last long ride to be 5 to 5:30 hours long. The excitement of the day will carry me through the remaining time.
As a last training programme hurrah, the following weekend, one of my RideLondon team is coming up to the Peaks to
shave test his legs.
Whilst we’ll probably ride for a shorter duration (there’s only so long we can leave my wife corralling five kids) but I do plan to give him a baptism of fire on some of the steepest climbs that my region has to offer.
He won’t have any excuses on Leith Hill then…
Short and sweet from me. The blog is taking something of a back seat to my training, work, taxi-ing kiddos. Excuses, excuses. I plan to get back to a more regular writing habit when I can lighten up the training load.
So tell me, how is your training going? Are you looking forward to RideLondon? Let me know in the comments below.
PS. Please can I ask a favour.
I am riding RideLondon (wordus duplicatus) to raise money for the Princess Alice Hospice in south west London.
Princess Alice Hospice provided amazing care for my friend Pippa in her final weeks before losing her battle with cancer.
PAH, like many end-of-life care providers relies massively on charitable donation to provide their absolutely vital service.
If you’ve got any value from this blog (or not), or if you want to see me shave my legs (I’m going to video it…), please consider sponsoring me via my JustGiving page – click here to access.