Training, Health and Fitness

Make sure you're ready on the start line

Jason Spinney, a local personal fitness trainer with a passion for cycling, gives some help and advice Find out more >>


The British Cycling Seven Week Panic Plan is ideal for already active non cyclists or cyclists who've recently neglected their training. In seven weeks it'll have you ready to tackle a 60-mile (100 km) sportive. Find out More >>

Ten Tips for Sportive Fitness by Koolstof Coaching


1. Build your engine size with endurance – the bigger your aerobic engine, the higher you can raise your power levels and speed. Lack endurance and you'll get tired very quickly. This doesn't mean doing four hours on your first ride, but gradually increasing duration from an hour and a half to four hours over the duration of your training plan.

2. Develop an economical speed, teaching your muscles to work together efficiently at a range of cadences, from 60-150rpm. The more efficient you are, the faster you will go. Cadence sessions train your legs and body to be able to ride efficiently at varied speeds. When you're riding your sportive, you'll need to be able to pedal fast down hills at over 100rpm, and slowly up a hill at 80rpm, so prepare for both.

3. Increase your force by practising seated hill climbs, otherwise you’ll suffer into a headwind! Seated hill climbs are useful for three reasons:

  • They boost strength for better climbing and riding into headwinds. Think of it like weight training on the bike, for the legs.
  • They help you build up your descending skills once you're on the other side of the climb.
  • At low speed and low cadence you can work on your pedalling style

4.Tempo rides are key to sportive success. They train the muscles to keep going at exactly the pace you'll be setting in your event, so don't miss these sessions out. You can do tempo rides both on the road or on a turbo trainer.

5. Develop muscular endurance. Many people with great potential power are unable to maintain it for more than a few minutes. 

6. Work on your power, with very short, intense intervals of 15-30 seconds. Your body will tolerate acidosis (and the associated pain) better.

7. Develop anaerobic endurance by doing lactate tolerance intervals of one to six minutes. 

8. Think about how functional you are on the bike in terms of your flexibility and core strength – both of these factors should be maintained throughout the year.

9.Psychology can have a big impact on sportive performance – our heads probably count for 70 percent of our performances. Get a better outlook and you’ll be more focused and motivated.

10. Restand recover. You don’t get fitter when you’re riding, you get fitter when you recover afterwards, which is why you need to have at least one day without exercise every week. You should up that number more if you overdo it. Make sure you have one easy week every month, too.

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