Your Guide to Preparing for the Mallorca 312 & Marmotte Granfondo Alps Sportives
You’ve booked the big sportive and you’re eager to prepare and develop the right condition to complete it.
That’s great but how is that accomplished?
In this guide we’ll look at the following aspects:
- Your Training Plan.
- Your Training Sessions.
- Your Nutrition.
The Key to Endurance Training and Distance Riding
The key to conquering the distances and challenges you’ll experience riding the Mallorca 312 and Marmotte Alps is to build endurance. It underpins distance cycling of any kind, and it gives you the foundation to work on two other ride critical aspects: Strength and power.
To build endurance you need to develop your focus and discipline to train to a structured schedule. As such, it is important to work out how much time you can devote to endurance rides, and stay disciplined to get on the saddle when you can.
Your Training Plan
Your training plan will help you identify when you can spend time on the bike. This is important as it helps you cultivate the right mindset to train. If you know Thursday is free for a ride, the chances are you’ll stick to the plan and pack away the miles. Especially if you know the days around it are taken up by other things.
So to maximise your training get yourself a calendar, then do the following:
- Weeks - Count back the weeks from the event date to the present. You now know how many weeks of training you have to get into condition.
- Days - Look through the days and weeks and mark out times when it will be impossible to train. This could be birthdays, anniversaries, work commitments, and indeed work itself. You should now have a clear picture of when you can train.
- Hours - Work out how many hours of each free day you can train. For example, you may have determined that Sunday afternoon is free and you have a spare four hours. Make a note of it and do the same for each day between now and your event.
You should not underestimate how important time management is for your training, and you need to factor in rest days into your plan to give your body time to recover.
Endurance Training in Action
Endurance cycle training is predominantly about developing your slow twitch muscle fibre. Martin, a SportActive Cycling Pro cycle coach goes into detail.
When structuring your training rides it is best to gear them about doing well in your chosen event. As a guide take a look at the following:
- Mallorca 312 – It takes around 10 – 12 hours to ride the 312 km distance in this sportive.
- Marmotte Granfondo Alps – It takes around 8 – 11 hours to conquer the 174 km and 5000+ altimeters in this sportive.
You should aim for one long ride per week, and a shorter one on the day after. These rides will be low intensity rides designed to build endurance. Midweek rides will include intervals and are designed to build muscle endurance which you’ll need to ascend demanding cols. As such, your plan may look something like:
- Saturday (Base fitness ride) - 4 to 5 hours @65-75% Max HR or 60-70% FTP.
- Sunday (Base fitness ride) - 3 to 4 hours @65-75% Max HR or 60-70% FTP. Note, the longer ride can be Sunday rather than Saturday. It all depends on your Monday work schedule and what works for you.
- Midweek muscle endurance rides (2/3 times per week) – 2.5-hour ride including 5 x 3 minute low cadence intervals followed by 3 minutes of easy spinning. This training ride looks something like this:
- Warm up: 1 hour.
- 5 x Intervals: Cadence 50-70 RPM, 80-90% MHR / 85-95% FTP for 3 minutes. Recovery 3 minute @60-70% Max HR / 55-65% FTP.
- Cool down: 1 hour @60-70% Max HR / 55-65% FTP.
Try and position your rest days so that you have plenty of energy for the long weekend rides. Remember overtraining can bring about sickness and injury. Rest days and slow steady progression are important. Try not to get too advanced too quickly as this can and will cause problems.
You can do the training sessions on a turbo trainer should weather conditions be unsuitable.
In addition, ensure that you get plenty of sleep. Avoid using devices and watching TV one hour before going to sleep. A good night's rest is invaluable when preparing for a big sportive.
Nutrition for the Mallorca 312 and Marmotte Granfondo Alps
Getting your nutrition right is mission critical to completing demanding sportives. As such, it is important you get the right balance. Too little food and drink and you’ll run out of energy and experience the dreaded bonk, and too much and you’ll feel sluggish and underperform.
Although this may sound a little off-putting it is really a question of getting the basics right. Use the following as a guide:
- Meals – Make sure your main meals contain a good mixture of protein based foods and vegetables.
- Hydration – It is important to stay hydrated on each and every ride. As you’re going for distance, take two water bottles one with plain water, and the other containing a water/carb mix. When you ride the sportive, work out where the feed stations are prior to riding it so you know where you can refill.
- Nutrition on the bike – Here you should experiment with what suits your system. Some prefer fruit such as bananas, others gels, and others high carb snack food. After each ride write down what you ate and drank. Record how you felt and if you experienced gastro problems and or nausea.
Using a process of elimination, you’ll be able to work out what nutrition and fluid balance you need to complete long distance rides.
It is important that you enjoy your cycling journey from day one of training to crossing the finish line of the event itself. Riding to a training plan will keep your pedals turning and you’ll soon notice improvements to every aspect of your cycling. Once this happens you’ll feel good on the inside, and once you finish your chosen sportive, you’ll feel on top of the world.
All you have to do is stay disciplined, and focused, and put in the time on the bike.
SportActive- Faster, Fitter, Stronger.