Right Plan for UK Hill Climbs

I’ve used trainerroad for two seasons, 2019 will be by third. My speciality is the niche-within-a-niche that is the British Hill Climb. Most of my races are between 2 and 4 minutes at around 130 to 150% FTP (I don’t have power on the road so I can only go with Strava estimates). My first season using TR catapulted me from top tens to consistent podiums and several wins :fist:

In the past I’ve gone with SSB1&2, Short Power Build then Criterium specialism. The thing is, I don’t need repeatable power, just one or sometimes two 3 minute efforts in a day, maximum of four races in a weekend. The National HC course this year is much longer than usual (and suits me perfectly) - 5km @ 6%. I’ve not done the maths but I reckon it’ll be around 14 minutes. It’s at the end of October, the proceeding six weeks making up the HC season.

None of my other races are this long, the ones I want to do well on are all around 4 mins. SO - which plan do I choose? Maximum 4 minute power with no need for repeatability. Can I train for the 2 to 4 minute efforts and hope my aerobic fitness will carry me through the 14 minute National Champs? I’ll have a good aerobic base by then anyway with long weekend rides and ten days in the mountains around Girona in September.

Do any of the plans fit, or should I be cobbling together my own build and specialism? Thanks for any help!


I’d do sustained power build, but maybe substitute some anaerobic work to give you some extra snap on the shorter efforts, particularly towards the end of your training. I like 8x1min all-out efforts with 5-6 mins rest inbetween.
Although you won’t be repeating the efforts in a race, you need the repeatability in your training to get your aerobic fitness up. So the final 3min interval of a 6x3min session feels like how your event feels, even if the actual power is lower.
There’s an episode of Ask A Cycling Coach where they talk about this specifically. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uppo07PnXg at 1:16:31 (it’s my question, and they answered it really well).


Thanks very much Martin - I had actually listened to that episode but I think I was stretching and didn’t really concentrate on it properly. Good advice - build the aerobic engine through repeats while also throwing in the occasional “race simulation” to get a feel for it.

Maybe I’ll see you at the Kingston Wheelers HC in September and I can buy you a cup of tea!

That event is responsible for my best ever 5min power, which gives you an idea how far off the podium I am!

Another Hill Climber here (Yorkshire).

Nationals is a difficult one this year, longer than usual and not too steep, which makes it tough to choose where you want to be best.

Personally, I’m training for the “normal” HCs, using the Gravity Specialty plan, preceded by Short Power Build. If I’ve got any power over 5 min, that’s a bonus and wouldn’t expect to trouble the usual suspects at Nationals anyway, so not going to focus on it.

Interesting point here: is it a course best done on a TT Bike? Or at least with aerobars and aero wheels? Could training in that position be key to doing well in that event?

Your own build is probably best. Be sure you avoid stagnation or a plateau simply by hitting 3 minutes over and over.

What about 5 x 4m @ 95% of your All Time Best 3m effort in Last 90 Days (gold standard in WKO4, and might be best to go crush a new 90 day PR before starting this)…with 5-10m recovery between each one.

Work the edges of this as well, 4.5m, 3.5m…

Then do the same 45 days before the 14 minute Nationals. Work 10-20mins.

You’ll get stronger, won’t stagnate, and be ready to rip!

Let us know how it goes!

That doesn’t sound quite right to me. Sure it’s not 95% of your best 5min effort? I’m not sure I could do 95% of 3min power for 4 minutes once, let alone x5.

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oh typo! sorry, 95% of your best 4m so you can repeat them. Good catch!

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No, whilst it’s 6% ave (which could suit a TT bike), it’s a little too variable and I would stick with a lightweight climbing bike.

Not like in 2012 on Long Hill when Hutch was on a full TT rig :slight_smile: