Etape du tour training plan

Hi all,

I did the etape du tour last year and came around 3000th. I was probably fit enough to do better but nutrition and cramp were an issue on the day. I’ve entered this year and want to do better but am not in great shape right now.

My training last year was fairly random. I started training in April and I did one weekend ride basically every weekend from April to July getting gradually longer each weekend, starting from around 70km and with my longest being around 175k. I also did on average 1 morning ride a week before work doing Laps of regents Park in London in chain gangs - these would normally be around 60-80km at 240-270w. This was on top of commuting 10k each way to and from work in Central London which obviously doesn’t give much training benefit. I think my average TSS according to stravistix/elevate ended up being around 500 per week for a few months before the etape in late July.

I tested my power in late June 2019 and held 340w for 20 mins at 75kg, which I was quite happy with. Unfortunately I let that all go over winter after a crash and being busy with work so I’m basically untrained right now. I bought a smart trainer and a subscription to trainer Road out of panic. I did a ramp test this week which estimated my Ftp at 260w at 80kg, so I’m basically back to where I was last April.

I’ve been looking at the plans on trainer Road and they don’t look right for me. I can’t get on the turbo 5 days a week as I only stay at my house with my turbo around 3 days a week, so the high volume century plan is out of the question. The low volume plan looks more reasonable for me but I think I would want to add a long endurance ride each weekend as I can’t see how doing 4hrs a week on a turbo across 3 sessions would prepare me for a 175km ride with 3500m of climbing.

Last year I basically just rode at 200w, for 2.5-3hrs and gradually increased the distance each ride while keeping the same power. As i’m proposing to do sweet spot intervals on the turbo 3x per week, I’m expecting that I’ll need to go much easier on the endurance rides and just use them to hold my power in a comfortable z1/2.

Does this sound like a reasonable way to do things? I have never done any type of structured training before so I don’t know if the 1 additional endurance ride would complement a low volume plan that seems to be based on sweet spot intervals.

Any advice anyone could offer would be much appreciated!

First up, it is a lot easier to regain past fitness than it is to build it in the first place. With regular training, you will likely see your power getting back towards 340 fairly quickly (after allowing for differences in outdoor v indoor power).

With an event with long climbs like L’étape, you will be doing most of your climbing in high tempo/sweetspot. So SS intervals like TR are better preparation for the demands of your event than long rides. Also, indoor training is far more time-efficient - you are pedalling ALL the time, as against the micro-breaks of riding outdoors when descending, cornering, waiting for traffic.

3 x LV TrainerRoad rides plus a longer outside ride is probably the most common training pattern out there. Plus as the event approaches, you may want to do 1-2 longer hilly rides to ensure you have your equipment and nutrition dialed, and just for general confidence.

Thanks mcalista - that’s reassuring to hear!

Have a look at the Plan Builder, you can set the etape as your event and work back from there. It takes a lot of the thinking out of planning which works for me…

I’d also recommend doing the mid volume, and setting some of the workouts to outdoors. Last year when training for Leadville I did 1 midweek TR workout a week outside, using the inner circle at Regents Park as there are no lights, turnings etc, so you can pretty much pedal solidly for an hour. It’s a bit dull but a really effective workout if you can’t get on the trainer.