The Haute Route presents an exceptional challenge, not least in simply reaching the finish line each day within the cut-off times. You must therefore plan a significant amount of training, and increase this substantially in May, June and July. Your training plan should look something like the one described on the previous page, Outline Training Plan.
To avoid injury, increase the amount you train per week gradually, while allowing yourself a few days of recovery when the need arises or when the weather or your other commitments impose a short break.
Specifically for the Haute Route, you should plan a block of training in June or July which approaches the levels of volume and intensity that you will experience in August. There are three ways to manage this:
1. Train twice a day
This is a very effective training approach, consisting of splitting a single long ride in two. It not only makes it easier to sustain the intensity, it also reduces your fatigue level while still helping you get used to riding when tired.
In order to build up slowly you can start by 2h in the morning and 2h in the afternoon, increasing this over time until 3h or even 4h in the morning and 3h in the afternoon.
2. Ride intensively at the weekends
Plan for two tough days in a row, resulting in significant fatigue after the first day and continuing in that state on the second day. For example, go out for 150 to 170 km on Saturday, followed by a shorter outing on Sunday, 110 to 130km, but with a lot of climbing.
The objective is to develop your ability to ride long distances on subsequent days and to cycle while tired. There is no need to exceed the distance of the longest stage on the Haute Route (about 160-170 km).
3. Simulate the Haute Route
The best option, however, is to simulate the actual week you will experience on the Haute Route. Fortunately, there’s no need to do the full distance and you can reduce both the distance and the amount you climb.
You should plan nevertheless to cover between 70 and 80% of a typical Haute Route stage per day, accumulating as much climbing as possible. You could also consider a midweek time-trial in which you push yourself to your limits, and it is worth scheduling the toughest rides for the last two days in order to get even closer to the conditions of the Haute Route.
This week is very important, not only for your physical fitness but also for your confidence. The ability to ride significant distances day after day is obviously crucial for the Haute Route, and there is simply no better way than actually getting out and doing it. The best solution, of course, is to join a dedicated training camp.