5. Beware the standard training plan!

There is little doubt that someone who follows a well-designed training plan will be much better prepared for the Haute Route than someone who “just rides”, even if they both cover the same distance while training.

It is therefore tempting to choose one of the many training plans published in magazines or on line. But which one?

The fact is that we are all different on every dimension that matters to cycling performance. Our goals, skills and experience differ, as do our physical, physiological and mental starting points and ultimate potential. Equally, we all have to deal with the different constraints our lives impose on the time and conditions we have available to train.

Consider three different profiles encountered on the Haute Route:

  • Key Insight #5a 65 year old living in the Low Countries who has cycled on average four times a week for most of his life and whose objective is to finish
  • a 45 year old living in London, ex marathon runner recently converted to cycling who can only train outdoors at the weekend and whose objective is to finish in the top 200
  • a 30 year old elite female amateur living in the Rockies who trains every day in order to finish in the top fifty.

It should be obvious that these three riders will follow completely different training plans to prepare for the Haute Route, even though the underlying principles will be the same.

An additional difficulty with a standard plan is: what to do when the inevitable happens and you are forced to deviate from it for a while? The answer of course depends on a multitude of individual factors and there are as many answers as there are cyclists and training plans!

So what to do?

We at Alpine Cols feel your best interests are served, not by proposing a standard plan, but by giving you the underlying principles on which your plan should be built. You can then either build your own plan that works for your precise situation, or at least you can have a more knowledgeable dialogue with your coach.

Here are four specific sessions to develop qualities you will need on the Haute Route.

Over the coming weeks we will continue to add articles intended to help you build your own plan, to add to those already published:

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