Where do you start when preparing an annual training plan?
You start at the end, and work backward.
I have 44 weeks before the 2020 Whistler Gran Fondo. What is the best use of that time?
The chart above, copied from Faster After 50, details how to organize periods of training based on the length of the event. You don’t train for a TT the same way you do for a mountain Fondo. What I like about the chart, not only does it separate different event durations, but prioritizes the type of training to complete in each period.
44 weeks is a long time. Too long to remain motived, and focused. The Whistler Gran Fondo is my main event for the season, but I plan to complete 2 additional century events beforehand, one the first week in April (Pacific Populaire), and the other the first week of July (Canada Day Populaire). This way, I have 3 training cycles, each with base, build, peak, and race periods. The first cycle is 22 weeks, the second 13, and the third just 9.
I have just begun an 8 week Base period focusing on strength, aerobic threshold (AT), and aerobic capacity (AC) workouts. This is my weekly plan for the next 4 weeks –
Monday – Weights – 1.5 hours
Tuesday – AT ride – 2 hours
Wednesday – Weights – 1.5 hours
Thursday – AT ride – 2 hours
Friday – Weights – 1.5 hours
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – AC ride – 1 hour
The plan starts with 9 hours of training each week. As the month progresses, workout loads, and durations increase. The purpose of this period is to build strength and improve overall fitness.
It is also time to work on “economy”, the ability to cycle faster and further with less effort. This topic deserves a separate post. For now, suffice it say there are a number of factors that improve economy – aerodynamics, conditioning, pedalling technique, climbing, descending, and drafting skills. There is always room for improvement, and during Base training periods it is an excellent time to hone these skills.