May Training Hints

Sa Colabra, Mallorca

I hope you are enjoying your training for the Etape. I’ve just come back from training in North Mallorca, and have enjoyed the beautiful climbs. My next training session will be the Snowdonia training weekend.

For a change, I’ve put some really tough rides on the 2015 Training Events page – some of them are even tougher than the Etape! Do take a look!

Personally I’m still progressing by stages!


How often should you train? As much as possible? As little as possible? Certainly there needs to be time for everything else in life!

Research has shown that hard training once a week will maintain your fitness level. Training more frequently will improve your fitness. Some research shows that three to four training sessions a week is probably the optimum, as recovery time is needed between sessions.



This year’s Etape is 88 miles long – so why do a longer training ride? It will be 88 strenuous miles, so a 100 mile training ride in more modest terrain is a good target.



Keeping a log of your average speed on a given route is a good way of improving your speed performance, especially if the route does not include traffic lights etc. to slow you down.

Riding with groups of fast riders also gives mutual encouragement with friendly competition – not to mention the benefits of slip streaming! An Audax or Sportive is a good way to improve your speed over longer distances.


While hill repeats are useful, long climbs are better training for the Etape. It is useful to ride some real mountains abroad, but failing that there are some reasonable climbs in the UK – for example those in the book “100 Greatest Cycle Climbs”. The longest climbs tend to be concentrated in certain areas, such as parts of Wales, Exmore, the Lake District, the Pennines etc., which adds value to a trip to one of those areas. The surrounding terrain is also generally highly undulating, so it is possible to clock up a lot of climbing in a day. The amount of ascent may be measured on a Garmin.

It is fun just to “go for it” but if you like a methodical approach it is interesting to see what percentage of the Etape climbs you achieve – for example 1100 metres of climbing in a day is around 0.25 of the amount of climbing in the Etape, and so on. You may wish to base a structured training sequence on this, setting targets, though it is by no means essential. Don’t forget a few food stops!

It is worth choosing beautiful areas to make the trip more enjoyable.

                 Formentor Peninsular, Mallorca

                                                     Elan Valley, Wales