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Training for Sportive

PunntzPunntz Posts: 14
Hi,
I am brand new on here, so be gentle. I'm after some advice from someone with a lot more experience with road cycling. I am considering doing a sportive or more this season. I'm a 38 yr male with a dodgy knee but a reasonable level of fitness. Did a couple of 40 mile runs on my own last summer involving some fairly taxing hills in about 3hrs.
Is this an acceptable pace? What training should I do on a regular basis? Should I start with the fun rides of between 30-40 miles to see if I can do it? I am a bit of a wuss on hills, so what training should i do to improve this? I find climbing difficult if i get out of the saddle because I've got no cartilage in one knee.
Would be grateful for any advice.
Newbie Road Biker and curious MTB'r

Trek 2.1 Alpha Road Bike
Beone Karma 2010 MTB
Claud Butler Chinook Hybrid

Posts

  • My advise would be to take it easy to start with not because you lack fitness but because of your knee, you can start with a shorter and flatter sportive with say a maximum of 40-60 miles and then once you are confident your knee will take the strain you can move to longer distances and more climbing.

    For training I would say just train on flat ground, as you get fitter go faster and/or longer and that will raise your general fitness level for everything. Specific training doing hill repeats may be bad for your knee and are mostly advisable for people who have a high level of fitness.

    The average speed you quote of about 21 kph over 40 miles should see you through a shorter sportive just fine, just remember to take plenty to drink and some energy gels or bars (or any other easily digestable food) so that you do not run out of energy and make sure your bike is in good condition and carry spare tubes and tools with you.

    Sportives are great fun and a wonderful experience and you will hopefully meet plenty of friendly people there!
  • PunntzPunntz Posts: 14
    Thanks for the good advice. I'm going to enter one of the wiggle super series events, anything under 50 miles should be fine. I'm also hoping to do L2B for BHF in June with a few workmates. Meanwhile, there are plenty of routes nearby to explore that give a good variety of flats and hills. I need to get the refuelling right. Nearly cracked going from Faversham to Dover because I left it to late, despite going well stocked. I'm looking forward to getting out and training. Considered getting a turbo trainer for the garage for days when the road is not an option. Is that a good investment?

    Road bike: Trek 2.1
    MTB: Beone Karma 2010
    Commute: Claud Butler Chinook
    Newbie Road Biker and curious MTB'r

    Trek 2.1 Alpha Road Bike
    Beone Karma 2010 MTB
    Claud Butler Chinook Hybrid
  • Yes a turbo is a really good investment, you can do specific workouts with music or even training videos if you have a laptop or iPad. It really does make a difference to your fitness to do a couple of sessions a week. I started by doing the BHF Oxford to Cambridge a couple of times so that's a good way to begin and the wiggle rides have been given lots of positive comments lately.
  • PunntzPunntz Posts: 14
    I've got an ipad2, and I need little encouragement to get another gadget. What should I be prepared to pay for quality? I would put it in the garage, so noise isn't really a factor. I had a turbo trainer about 6 yrs ago, and never used it because of the noise.
    Newbie Road Biker and curious MTB'r

    Trek 2.1 Alpha Road Bike
    Beone Karma 2010 MTB
    Claud Butler Chinook Hybrid
  • There is a lot of choice, I have a cycleops fluid2 or something like that which is simple as there are no adjustments. I wouldn't buy a very basic model as they don't have a very realistic road feel, I think I paid about £150 for mine but that is from memory and may be wildly out.
  • PunntzPunntz Posts: 14
    Sounds about right from the little research I've just done. Will see if I can pick something up secondhand. Thanks again!
    Newbie Road Biker and curious MTB'r

    Trek 2.1 Alpha Road Bike
    Beone Karma 2010 MTB
    Claud Butler Chinook Hybrid
  • I always think that an organised Sportive is something that should challenge you and perhaps keep you motivated to train. I reckon if you ride a 40 mile route regularly on a Sunday then look for a sportive of around 55-60 miles.
    Averaging around 13-14mph you won't be first in any event you do and you probably won't be last but who cares, the point of a sportive is to challenge yourself and see if you can complete it. Once you've laid down a time then you can look to improve on it the following year setting yourself new goals.
    If your looking to increase the distance you ride, do it in small increments; for example ride 45miles on week 1, 50 miles on week 2, 55 miles on week 3 then on week 4 ride only 30-40 miles this will give your body a chance to recover and build on your endurance and power. Week 5 do 60 miles, week 6 do 65 miles, week 7 do 70 miles and on week 8 do 40 miles etc. etc. You see how the mileage can rack up.....
    I reckon your traing distance should be 75-80% of the distance of the sportive. Never do the full distance as a training run. If you try it and fail then you'll be discouraged, if you try it and succeed you'll get complacent. Leave the challenge distance for the day and you'll stay hungry and will feel like you've achieved something.
    1 word of warning - cycling over 60 miles on your own is mind-numbingly boring. If your training rides creep up to this distance find someone to cycle with or join a club.
    Hill training - Include at least 1 session a week on hill repeats - find a hill nearby that's approx 1 mile long, climb it return to the bottom and climb it again, increase the repetitions as the weeks progress.
    Speed training - flat bit of road and sprint for 30secs to a minute then cycle gently for a minute repeat x 5 repitions. Rest for 5 minutes. Then do the repetitions again.
    All of this is really just trying to increase the power you produce and your ability to flush away the lactic acid build up in your muscles and can also be done on a turbo.....
    There's warp speed - then there's Storck Speed
  • PunntzPunntz Posts: 14
    Thanks StorckSpeed. I wouldn't say I regularly do 40 miles per week, especially not during winter. Bought the Trek 2.1 in September and I've only been back in the saddle since then. Have done a few 40 mile runs no problem, but steep hills kill me! I have noticed an improvement in my stamina over winter, but not been out as much as I would have liked. As I work shifts, getting a regular training routine is difficult, but I am interested in joining a local club. VCDeal is my nearest, so I will be giving them a bell soon.
    And as you say, it's about challenging yourself. I wouldn't care if I was last every time in my first season...I might get a bit rankled if happened once in my second though!
    Newbie Road Biker and curious MTB'r

    Trek 2.1 Alpha Road Bike
    Beone Karma 2010 MTB
    Claud Butler Chinook Hybrid
  • If it's of any consolation, I averaged 14mph during the first 100 mile sportive I did, took me over 7 hours. I started way too fast and the cramps in the last 15 miles nearly killed me, (but I wasn't last).
    I've increased my speed over the last few years and last year did the same sportive in 5.5hrs averaging just over 18mph, (this included 2 stops for water and flapjacks).
    Like you I've decreased the miles over the winter. Just did my first 50 of the year last weekend, averaging 16mph, but this was a club ride (suspect if I was on my own it would have been much slower as I was absolutely knackered by the end).
    Work always gets in the way of the fun things so you just need to find some sort of training regime that you and everyone around you can live with.

    Stick with it and good luck.
    There's warp speed - then there's Storck Speed
  • ianlashianlash Posts: 147
    I used this guide for training for my first sportive, and it got me through the 107 miles well. The table at the bottom of the article gives the full details:- http://www.bikeradar.com/fitness/article/training-take-on-the-cycling-plus-sportive-at-bikeradar-live-25833
  • PunntzPunntz Posts: 14
    Cheers, this looks really helpful. Im itching to get out now!
    Newbie Road Biker and curious MTB'r

    Trek 2.1 Alpha Road Bike
    Beone Karma 2010 MTB
    Claud Butler Chinook Hybrid
  • rajMANrajMAN Posts: 429
    Punntz - Always keep the knee(s) warm and don't mash the big gears! try to always keep a fluid cadence that feels comfortable to you! :) Don't get concerned with figures for average speeds or average cadence etc. just enjoy. :)
  • PunntzPunntz Posts: 14
    Right, I've signed up for the Wiggle Super Series French Revolution in August. I am breaking my sportive duck with 59 miles on French roads, taking in a bit of Mont D'Hubert on the way. Massively looking forward to it. My main focus for training will be hill repetitions and working out the best way to rehydrate and refuel. I won't worry about distance or time in saddle so much, because I feel the distance is more than achievable in a decent time, provided I tackle the hills sensibly. Game on!
    Newbie Road Biker and curious MTB'r

    Trek 2.1 Alpha Road Bike
    Beone Karma 2010 MTB
    Claud Butler Chinook Hybrid
  • StedmanStedman Posts: 377
    Punnty,

    If you have knee problems, I would thoroughly recommend that you get the ergonomic on your bike right for you. The most comfortable leg rotation does differ greatly between riders, however whilst most of us can get away with a poor bike set up, I suspect you that you would benefit greatly knowing what would work best for you.

    My own bike is set up with 165mm length cranks and I ride with a fairly straight leg in a toe out style and whilst I have never been scientifically measured, this seems to work well for me as last year I did a 300+ audax in 12 ¾ hours.

    Getting the right bike set-up I am sure will have a greater impact on your riding fitness than anything else that you try!
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