Training Advice Needed

Hey all,

I’m looking to cycle Land End to John O’Groats in the UK next summer. The route I’m looking at is around 1100 miles. No specific timeframe as I won’t be racing it, I just want it to be an experience and see more of the UK.

However, I do want to be as prepared as possible and so am thinking about the best way to train for this. I have a year to prepare and so will have plenty of time so set my self up for success.

Thinking of beginning now by building a large base. This phase will consist mostly of Long easy rides and some 5x5 and 4x8 intervals twice a week. This phase will most likely last around 12-14 weeks given the advice I’ve seen here in time taken to get gains from these intervals.

The easy rides progression makes sense. Just gradually increase distance and time, putting in some back to back and multi day rides.

I wasn’t sure where to go from here with intervals however. What would be the next best progression? What would this look like across the year leading up to the event?

Thanks all, appreciate the time and effort put in to this forum.


@trevor @ryan @steveneal @robpickels

Hi Dan,
You don’t need those intervals if you just want to enjoy your 1100 scenic miles. You may need them to enjoy the training a bit more, that is up to your preference. The number of interval sessions per week should be based on the soreness they give you. Given your goal, you can do without them. If you can handle 2 sessions a week, you can do that. Extending the duration of the intervals will help you conquer the mountains in your ride for more ease. Don’t hang on to 5x5 or 4x8. Instead, hang on to ‘longer than last week’.
I assume you are not going to build up your long easy rides all the way to 1100 miles. So for the event itself you can keep in mind: there is always a pace at which it becomes easy again.

Hi @DanGreen,

I’m sure @ryan @steveneal and @robpickels will have more to say here, but I agree with @kjeldbontenbal. If your goal is the experience and not to race the event, the interval work is not critical. If I was coaching an athlete for this sort of goal, I’d give them interval work, but mostly to avoid monotony. Doing long-slow all the time can get boring.

The thing that is going to help you the most is getting in those long rides and most importantly, have a few times where you do long rides on back-to-back days. One of the biggest challenges you’re going to face during the event is not fitness, but discomfort. Doing that sort of volume day-after-day can get tough. The saddle gets very uncomfortable, and a lot of things start aching. Training your body to handle that discomfort is one of the best things you can do.

Hope that helps!

@DanGreen, I’ll echo what @trevor and @kjeldbontenbal are suggesting. The intervals in my mind would be more of a way to enjoy the process, support improvement/progression, and continue learning about yourself as an athlete.

I would look at the big picture if you have a year to prepare, and know that there are fundamental pillars (long rides, blocked up days, etc.) that will deliver you to the start of that ride feeling prepared. There are also supporting pieces (intervals, techniques, nutrition, etc.) that are going to overlap with your fundamental pillars and provide a more complete approach that will cover most or all of the bases you need. The trick is arranging those and working them into your lifestyle.

There is a lot of FTL content available to help you start that planning process like How to Develop a Yearly Training Plan, The Relationship Between Performance Level and Training Stress, and the Base Training Pathway. Of course, we would love to work with you, so if we can help with any guidance along the way, be sure to check our Coaching Help & Solutions options.

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Thanks guys, appreciate it!

So, if it was a case if wanting to perform as well as possible, how would you recommend progressing intervals in this circumstance?

Do intervals within the limits of HR zone 3 (out of 5).
For example: 10 min <= zone 2, 5 minutes zone 3, repeat as long as you like.

Replace zone 3 by 4 once a week and adjust the duration of the interval in line with what you can handle.

In case it helps, Ryan made a big difference in my endurance riding in the space of a few months.