Training Advice

Malcolm Pascoe; Chartered Physiotherapist at Physioimpulse has the following advice for all those taking part on the day. He offers a Bike set up & Analysis service. Further information is available here.

  Training advice

  • Cover whatever distance you are doing at least once before race day, keeping a solid steady pace
  • Ensure your cadence (RPM) is 90-95. This is optimal to help generate maximal power and prevent early leg fatigue
  • Incorporate hilly routes in your long rides (the courses are hilly) trying to keep as close to 90rpm as possible, using the gears accordingly regardless of whether you are moving up or down hill or into head or tail wind
  • On a hill, sit back on the saddle as when going up a hill this will maximise gluteal (buttocks) usage and then also allow better control when descending
  • Sit in the middle or to the front when riding on the flat
  • Include hill rep strength sessions –
    • Find a hill of similar length and gradient to that on the course.
    • Put it in a big gear so around 70-80 rpm and grind up the hill staying in the saddle and ensure you pull up with the legs on the up stroke of the pedal cycle
    • Do 6-10 times spinning down between practicing your descending skills picking the shortest line and manoeuvring the bike to take corners well
  • Interval training is good for increasing fitness so ensure this is done 1-2 times a week with intervals of differing length –
    • 4-6x5mins at moderate effort, 2mins easy between
    • 6-10 x 2mins at hard effort 1m30s between
    • Always after a decent warm up and then a decent cool down and STRETCH
  • Practice eating and drinking on the bike so learning how to handle the bike while reaching for food/drink
  • Stretch after each session especially quadriceps (front of thigh), hip flexors (Groin area), Gluteal (buttock), Hamstrings (back of thigh), calves, shoulders and neck
  • Ideally do some central stability work several times a week to help prevent injury and improve efficiency
  • Try and have a massage regularly especially if you are training for the longer distances (See our website for details)
  • If you experience discomfort in shoulders, neck, hands, knees, back or anywhere really you may be interested in a bike fit…fitting you and the bike together as one, maximising efficiency, power and comfort. See our website for details.

  Make sure you are eating and drinking enough but also not too much!


  Nutritional advice

  • Before long rides have a decent breakfast – porridge, muesli or other wholegrain cereal. Add fruit, nuts, seeds and yogurt. Beans or poached eggs on toast if you prefer a more savoury snack or looking to take on more protein
  • Ensure you are well hydrated
  • Drink a large glass of water or fruit juice. Being as little as 2% dehydrated can reduce your physical and mental performance by 10-30%
  • Don’t rely on thirst as an indicator as you’re already dehydrated by that stage
  • If riding longer than 1hr30 then you will need more than just water
  • Fruit juice mixed with water or cordial, both with a tiny pinch of salt added (cheaper and tastier than sports drinks)
  • Easily digestible foods – banana, honey sandwiches, malt loaf, cereal/muesli bars, sports bars, jaffa cakes, fig rolls. Ideally eat (take on fuel) little and often to avoid stomach issues
  • Drink regularly, again little and often
  • NEVER think “almost home, I’ll hold off til then” if you are hungry/thirsty…sure fire way to over eat raiding the fridge and cupboards not to mention effects on your health and recovery, so do keep up the fuelling
  • Eat and drink what you will have on race day. Check what they’re supplying at aid stations and try and use that if you are going to use them, otherwise have your own food
  • After training, aim to have something:
    • within 20mins – banana and yogurt, fridj milkshake, chocolate milk. some protein and carbohydrate
    • have your meal within two hours including all food groups – protein, carbohydrate, good fats
  • If training again later, ensure you keep fuelled and hydrated


 Week before

  • Reduce training volume but keep intensity
  • Shorter long rides
  • Fewer intervals with FULL recovery
  • No hill reps
  • Two days before have the day off but keep stretching
  • Day before do an easy short ride with several harder short intervals – 5-8x30sec with full recovery
  • Continue to stretch and do central stability work
  • Don’t over eat. Yes you may have heard about “carbo loading” but with the reduced volume and same eating you will be well fuelled enough.
  • If you are doing the longer rides and/or on both days, in the last 2-3 days you can increase your carbohydrate intake
  • Keep well hydrated
  • Don’t try anything new so no knew training sessions, no new foods or drinks
  • Work out what, when and how much you will eat and drink and where you will pick up food/drink
  • If you want to get technical it’s about 1g carbohydrate per KG body weight per hour. Remember this includes the carbs in your juice/drink and 750-1000mls of fluid an hour, more if it’s hot and/or windy


 Ride day

  • Have your normal breakfast. If you’ve never had porridge don’t try it on ride day
  • Your usual good fluid intake and coffee/tea
  • Join us for a good warm up and/or take a turbo and warm up on that. Keep easy and short but include short race pace or hard efforts – 6×20-30sec with full recovery between
  • Keep hydrated
  • If a longer ride, have an easily digestible snack or drink 20-30mins before the start
  • During the ride, if longer than 90mins then you’ll need more than just water. Start taking fuel onboard after 60 mins
  • Use things you’ve used before
    • Jaffa cakes and fig rolls
    • Honey sandwiches
    • Cereal or sports bars
    • Juice or sports drink
  • If you plan to pick up food/drink do so at the top of a hill, not at the bottom. You’ve just got to lug that extra weight up a hill, use it to help you descend and is easier to eat and digest
  • Keep to your plan of eating and drinking
  • Keep to a pace that you feel is sustainable and settle into it
  • Keep low (aero) as much as possible especially into a head wind
  • Most importantly ENJOY IT, it is meant to be fun!
  • When you finish, ideally have good stretch, or at least once your home
  • Come and see us with any questions, advice, or even a quick look at you on the bike to check your set up on the day.

  If you have any specific questions on more advanced training, nutrition, stretching or central stability then Malcolm is happy to discuss and can be reached on 01225 683007.