The participants of the first Haute Route event of 2018 will be taking to the start line in just three short months. But how do you prepare for an epic event riding across iconic terrain, so early in the season? Here, we explain how to move from base training to building your event-specific fitness:
Training for the Haute Route - or any taxing early season event - is a big commitment and you need to be prepared. Creating a solid base during the off-season gives you a good foundation on which to build more event-specific training, so you should have been cycling during the winter, ideally completing a structured base period like our 12 week base training plan.
With a solid foundation built, and your event still a few months away, now is the time to take up an event-specific training plan which gradually progresses your fitness in the run up to the big day.
The three key areas you should be looking to build in the run up to your chosen event are:
The Haute Route is famous for its climbs. A four week focus on strength will help you keep the pedals turning when the road goes upwards. Combining of low cadence intervals and hill climbs will give you the grounding on which to climb stronger and faster as your training plan progresses.
Next, you’ll want to increase your lactate threshold. Lactate is an enzyme that neutralises lactic acid - the stuff that makes your legs burn. Haute Route climbs are steep and long, so the longer you can go without going into the ‘red zone’, the quicker and easier the climbing will be. By systematically training at higher intensities, you can push up your ‘threshold’ and help your body become more efficient at clearing lactic acid.
Lastly, we need to ensure you have enough endurance to ride for five to eight hours a day. Your last training block focuses on your cycling efficiency and your ability to use fats, rather than carbohydrates, as a fuel source. Becoming more efficient at using fat as fuel helps to preserve your glycogen stores for when you really need them, which helps you ride further and faster.