Advice about training plan for Land’s End to John O’Groats ride (7-15 September 2019]

Hello. I will be riding Land’s End to John O’Groats 7-15 September 2019. That’s very nearly 1000 miles over 9 days.

Having now completed both Base and Build phases of training using TR, I am just about to start the Specialty phase with the 8 week block “Century Low Volume”. On completion of those 8 weeks, I am thinking of following “HIT Maintenance Low Volume, Block 1” and “HIT Maintenance Low Volume, Block 2”. Both Blocks are 8 weeks apiece which will take me up to the week before the event. A taper week.

My question then is about my choice of plan after the 8 week “Century Low Volume”. Would anyone choose something different, and what would that be? I feel that I have made the right choice in getting myself ready for the September event, but I would be happy to take advice.

Many thanks.

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I’m planning to do JOGLE in July, but am not enough of an expert to usefully critique your plan. In your shoes I probably would have headed more towards using your remaining 24 weeks after build with some more base, build, then specialty rather than going straight to specialty then maintenance for ages. But as I say, I’m not a coach!

Personally I’m going low volume SSB, Sustained Power Build, then some of the Century plan. I’ll be phasing in increasing amounts of long slow hours as I go through though. Sticking to low volume on the turbo leaves me some time and tolerance for outdoor volume.

Best of luck!

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I’d suggest Century is probably the training block you want to finish with in early September.

TR’s Blog “Too much time” https://support.trainerroad.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005942606-Too-Much-Time- has advice on how to adjust your plan.

If I count right, you have about 25 weeks before your ride, which is enough for 3 x 8 week training blocks. This would allow you to pick up option 2 from that article. ie. complete Century LV, repeat SPB and then repeat Century.

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Thanks. I like the sound of that. I am just coming off “Sustained Power Build Low Volume”. Repeating that again after the “Century” block and then finishing with “Century” before the event does seem a more sensible approach.

Hi Bill, I did LEJOG last year after doing a lot of Sweet Spot on TR. My only advice to you is to not neglect long outdoor endurance rides, to my mind you have to get used to those 100 mile days and I don’t think theres any shorcut to that. It’s a good idea to do a few back to back 100 mile days. The first couple of days also caught me out a bit with some very sharp climbs. its great fun though and it sounds as if you will be in pretty good shape.

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Sound advice there. Some long outdoor rides are definitely needed for so much time on the bike in such a short time.
What about routes you used?
Any tips, things you did good and bad?
Thanks.

The biggest advice I would give is plan your route carefully. I live in the Highlands and see lots of LEJOG and JOGLE riders. I would strongly advise avoiding the A9 between Perth and John O’Groats. There are so many more scenic and safe routes available. There are three roads in the Highlands I will not ride on - A9, A96, A82.

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I’m guessing given the dates that this is threshold sports’ Ride Across Britain. I did it in 2013 (John O’Groats to Land’s End) and last year (Land’s End to John O’Groats).
The new route through the Cairngorms is massively harder than the old route that went over Glen Coe and had a far higher failure rate (of people getting swept during individual stages) than previous years. I cannot emphasise enough how much you will benefit from getting out on the road and doing as much climbing as you can possibly fit in. Hill repeats are your friend and indoor work really doesn’t replicate the stresses and strains that actual hill climbing presents. If you can try to regularly tackle a variety of hill types - from long shallower ones to really steep. Cornwall and Devon are characterised by short steep climbs with nasty descents (I actually crashed on a descent on day one last year and cracked my elbow - not bad enough to stop me riding but needed fixing once RAB was over to avoid any long term issues). You then get longer more sustained climbs until the start of day 8, where you get the nasty climb of The Lecht just to mix things up a bit.
Also, as you get closer further into the summer make sure you do as many back to back rides as you can - such as a Friday hard turbo session, a faster paced Saturday ride for 3-4 hours, a long slow ride on the sunday (5+ hours) and then a turbo session on the Monday. This will make coping with the day after day centuries (over very challenging courses) much easier. I would also say make sure you get a few rides in that are well over 100 miles - some of the days are 120 miles and hilly.
In terms of training plans, I used the low volume sweet spot base 1 and 2 followed by low volume sustained power build. These were basically to ensure that I had some training consistency around any outdoor riding that I was able to fit in. .

Where are you based? I’m central London so my riding included at least one evening a week doing hill repeats around the short sharp hills in Highgate, then surrey hills at the weekends, with turbo sessions on top. Basically, the more you can do and the more specific it is to the challenges of the ride the stronger you will be when you get to the start line and therefore the more you will be able to enjoy the whole process. I was pretty strong in 2013, but found it all really hard. I was a lot stronger coming into it last year, and therefore even though it was hard I found I could really enjoy the whole experience.

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Thank you everyone for your words of advice and guidance. Trying to answer all the points as I recall them:

  • I am getting the outdoor rides in. TR = quality. Outdoor = quantity.
  • I live in Shropshire and we have a good number of challenging hills which I am building into my outdoor rides.
  • Back-to-back rides certainly on the cards. I work Mon-Fri, so weekends only chance to get out.
  • I have a number of Sportive and Audax events planned in to give me experience of group riding.
  • It is the Deloitte Ride Across Britain.

Thanks again. You have all been very helpful.

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You will have an absolute blast. As long as you do enough training to get through each day in ok shape, you will really be able to enjoy the ‘bubble’. It’s a brilliant environment populated by amazing people - both the other riders and the staff. It’s the people that make the event.
RAB is certainly not without its flaws as an event, but there really is nothing like it in the UK and it is truly special. Away from the riding side of things, the other main bit of advice I would give is to try and be as social as you can be. Get involved with the facebook group - it’s a great way to get to know other riders in advance which is a massive bonus. Try to meet up with other riders at events and if you have other riders living near you try to get the odd social training ride organized.

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Some very sound advice from Paul in the thread below. I think the routes are pretty easy to get a hold of on strava or sustrans. I use Garmin and their route creator tool will keep you on bike friendly routes.

By way of tips, a light waterproof jacket and waterproof overshoes will be your best friends, don’t skimp and buy the best you can. If you are doing it on your own then obviously logistics plays its part and it would make sense to book your accommodation well in advance. It goes without saying that you need to fuel well and you might find some big gaps in between shops if you go for the more bike friendly routes so always make are you cary enough to keep you going. I am 62 and needed some friendly gearing so got an 11-42 on the back and I really needed it on the climb at the Lecht up to the Ski station, I think its around 20% if i remember. Younger, fitter riders would be fine on 11-32 i would imagine. Pretty obvious stuff I am afraid but you would be surprised at how ill prepared some folks are. Again, solid advice from Paul in the thread ref training prep.

Final comment, I felt that I didn’t take enough time to soak in the scenery and enjoy the surroundings as much as I should have.

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Have you thought about reverse periodisation?

This would mean doing the hard work now while it’s still chilly to get your FTP as high as possible. More build, more vo2 intervals. Then in May and June, do SSB2. Then in July and August when it’s warm, just try to do as many steady miles as you possibly can, backed up with some sweetspot turbo and the occasional harder session to keep you sharp.

In other words, slowly decrease intensity while increasing volume. It wouldn’t work for everything but a LeJog might just be an exception.

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Suitable gearing (i.e. suitable to your abilities and style of riding) can definitely make or break the ride. I was using a 52-36 chainset with an 11-32 cassette and there were definitely occasions where I wished I had switched to a 50-34 chainset. I had done loads of training on short really steep climbs so I actually really enjoyed climbs like the Lecht, but the longer more drawn out climbs were a lot more of a challenge for me. I just felt I needed that extra gear so that I could settle into a nice rhythm on climbs like the Cairnwell (up to the glenshee ski station). Not having that lower gear meant that I probably got up the climbs quicker, but at a much greater cost to my legs for the rest of the day

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Thanks. I have 50-34 on the front and 11-32 on the back. I did a training camp in Dartmoor last year and was managing ok with 12-30 on the back.

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