Short-distance training plan

Planning to take on your first sportive event this summer? We’ve 
got just the programme to get you well on the way

Whether you’re taking up road riding for the first time, or simply starting out again after a winter off, you need to build up gradually. This plan will have you on course to complete a 50-mile sportive at a comfortable pace.

If you’re worrying about building up to a major summer challenge, the temptation can be to jump in feet-first and start cracking out the miles straight away, but there is no need to be hitting 50 miles until the day of the event itself. This plan is designed to improve your basic fitness and endurance.

It won’t give you the power to charge up mountains flat-out but it will make you fitter, help you recover faster and provide you with enough general fitness to complete a shorter distance sportive, or even a flat 100-mile ride.

How it works
Each week you’ll have four rides to do. Two weekday rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and two further rides at the weekend. You can, of course, move these rides around, but if possible try not to ride more than two days in a row, and try to make sure you take a day off after your longest ride.

In the fourth week the amount of riding scheduled drops back slightly, giving your body a little extra time to recover and rebuild itself stronger and fitter. The end 
of this final week would be the perfect time to do your sportive.


Long-distance training plan

Fancy a crack at a full-on, full-fat sportive epic? Then you need look no 
further than our long-distance training plan to get you on your way

This is the plan for you if you want to have the depth of endurance needed to keep the pace high despite fatigue. The pace at the front of a sportive is becoming increasingly racy. RideLondon’s front finishers averaged 25mph for the 100-mile course.

If you are going for gold or want to test yourself with a fast effort you need to do some hard training, brush up on your bike handling and have a little bit of tactical awareness. Sportives are not races — but some people certainly ride them as if they are!

How it works
You’ll need a decent base of winter riding under your belt to get the best out of this plan. Multiple two-hour Steady and Brisk rides and intervals during the week, as well as two weekend rides will be challenging but if you can stick to it then you will reap the rewards. You will need to think carefully about your fuelling before and during rides as well as your recovery afterwards.

Make sure you are careful to differentiate between effort levels — you really will need those easy days to be easy if you want to be fresh enough for the next day’s session.