Less than 28 DAYS TO GO: My previous efforts so far yet in 2017 – My training sessions for Saddleback Fred Whitton cycling challenge sportive

At the end of the last year after I received an e-mail, I was happy to realise I’m one of the lucky cyclist who won a place for the 2017 Fred Whitton challenge.
But I also assumed: I did participate on long-distance cycling challenges (100 mi / 160 km), sportive in the last 2 years already and I finished both of these challenges in a pretty reasonable time BUT none of these challenge rides had the massive amount of climbs as the Fred Whitton challenge.
So I tried from the very end of the last year / beginning of this year a little bit more to do than my average previous training efforts to be sure, I will have not just good endurance but also I getting enough strong for the epic climbs of Fred Whitton. Of course, if I just wanna finish the Fred Whitton on any place, then I don’t really have to be involved in any kind of advanced training plan but I would like to finish the 112 miles (180 km) Fred Whitton course in a proper manner and under a reasonable time as I did before on the previous challenge rides. The total elevation will be 3950m on 180km. The maximum gradient we will encounter 33% (at Hardknott Pass) after 98 miles. So far as I know, this is the hardest one day ride in the UK. The very top riders are able to complete the route in just under 6 hours but 11-12 hours (& over) are not uncommon for the average Sportive rider.

I aiming with my training plan to be able to ride the Fred Whitton challenge under 7 hours.
That’s my ultimate goal: to be able to do this really difficult cycling challenge in not just acceptable but also respectable time.

But let’s see, what am I done already on my training sessions?

First of all, my new & most difficult part of my advanced training effort the CARDIO-TRAINING SESSIONS. It’s basically come about 2 parts:
1. Running sessions (outdoor in parks & also on treadmill in Gym)
2. Cycling interval mostly outdoor, usually at one of my favourite park but also sometimes on stationary bike in Gym.

The really new part was to me the running sessions. I didn’t really had regular training run in the last 10 years. I actually never really liked to run or at least not at all as I really like to ride on any bike, any time in any weather or/and season. So, when I was able to finish under 2 hours my 1st half marathon ever (2nd of April, Liverpool Half Marathon), I was really glad, happy with my overall training run efforts, what was done in the last few (4-5) months. End of the last year I already started to do some efforts to get involved in running but then I did only 15 running sessions, spent 6 hours all together & was done only 54.2 km.
This year I already had almost 18 hours of running with the distance of 152 km during on my 40 runs all together. The beginning of my runs wasn’t much fun but yep, after a while, I just get used to it & I was able to achieve to do the Half Marathon with a not too bad pace.

So how I did it exactly, how I build up my legs for long-distance runs with good pace? I will write about as well but in a separate blog.

But the cardio just one part of my training plan, I also try to keep my endurance on a good level, so at least once a week I go for a LONG-DISTANCE RIDE too. It is minimum 60km cycling. Usually I plan the course for these rides to avoid other big cities (& the traffic lights, too big traffic) but go on the countrysides across towns & villages so I don’t have to break my training, I can ride on my own pace without any hitch, disturbing moment.


The long-distance rides are always been the part of my training but in this year I also getting involved more & more in THE GYM. It’s mainly because I wanna be Fitness Instructor but also because I want some improvement on my overall fitness level, on my core strength too. I almost every week try out new exercises forms in Gym, I do some body-weight, free weight & resistance machine exercises too.
During my outdoor training sessions I mostly have my workouts for my legs, plus for my heart & lungs but when I’m in the Gym, I do some solid efforts, workouts for my upper body too. It’s anyway especially important to me, since I pretty badly injured my right shoulder in July, in the last year, when I was hit by a car door.
After 4 months of intensive training in Gym (so since the beginning of this year), I can confirm: my right shoulder again strong & happy. Still, not as before the accident but I can feel finally, I’m on the right way to get back the full strength of my right shoulder.

So far that’s all of the components of my training for the 2017 Fred Whitton challenge: Cycling, Running, Gym. I also started to do some interval training in DUATHLON style: run, cycle & run again. Sometimes I did twice, it’s depend on the distances as well, of course.

I recently participated on a small, local Duathlon race just to be able to compare my overall performance in this sport too. And it was also a great workout for sure.

I also had, participated recently, at the end of March in a cycling challenge on my workplace. In 1 hour slots me & my colleagues rode the distance of Liverpool-Paris within 2 days. The original goal was Liverpool-London anyway but everybody did very well on the indoor, stationary bike. Actually, many of my colleagues was able to ride my km than me during the 1 hour time slot. Everybody was surprised about that but also seemed very happy, so I don’t mind at all. The reason I did the same or even less km during my 1 hour because most of my colleagues rode between effort level 1-3 on relatively high cadence / RPM. Well, since I mostly rode only outdoor on real bikes earlier, I just made a bad decision about how to ride my 1 hour on the stationary bike: I choose to ride between effort level 14-20 for one hour. It was a great cardio-training to me but wasn’t too effective to achieve a great number of kilometres. The problem was only: the stationary bike counted the kilometres by the RPM number instead of the power effort on the pedals. Well, next time I will go on the stationary bike on lower resistance level too & just spinning as fast as possible. 🙂

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