The actions you take between now and Sunday could spark the different between ‘Gold’ and ‘Got Round’. Get your training right in the week leading up to the Struggle Moors Yorkshire sportive by tapering like a pro.
1. Flush out Fatigue
This week is all about flushing out the residual fatigue brought on by weeks of volume training and endurance riding.
Last weekend was your last long ride. If you’ve followed our advice it should have consisted of a shorter ride (70 miles) and completed at a steadier pace. That doesn’t mean it's time to ditch the bike until Sunday…
2. Activation Efforts
The goal of a taper is to lose fatigue, freshen up and deliver yourself to the start line at your fittest. Spend the whole week off the bike and you’ll potentially turn up feeling sluggish and slow.
Instead, swap your midweek turbos, club runs, chain gangs and hill reps for shorter, steadier spins. As part of your ride, introduce short activation efforts of around 20-30 seconds. These short efforts aren’t enough to fatigue you, but the change of pace is perfect for activating muscles and keeping your top-end tuned into event day.
Top Tip: Don't use a big gear! Keep your cadence high as a way of raising your heart rate while avoiding fatigue.
3. Glass Crank Ride
Saturday should be your 'Glass Crank Ride': a super-slow spin requiring minimal effort to turn the pedals. You can add in a few activation efforts if you’re feeling sluggish or have spent time in the car driving over to stay at Ampleforth the night before.
4. Sit - even lie
As the old saying goes: “Why stand when you can sit. Why sit when you can lie.” Don’t spend unnecessary time on your feet. Avoid walking about - especially the day before the event; no visits to the supermarket or digging up the garden.
Plenty of pros also spend time lying on the floor with their legs up the wall as a form of recovery. That said, just flick on the Giro, stick your feet up on the sofa and relax. Rest is best.
5. Carb Right
There’s arguments for and against Carb Loading in the lead up to a big event. Some athletes even reduce their carb intake in the weeks leading up to a big event, in the belief the body will soak it up and store it more readily, having been starved of this invaluable source of energy.
With the body only being able to store a percentage of carbs as fuel, the remainder is soon turned into and stored as fat. From personal experiences at Struggle HQ, Carb Loading only leaves us feeling heavy and sluggish on the start line.
Expert Advice: Take the simple yet effective advice from our OTE Sports Nutritionist Annie Simpson: “Never let yourself get hungry or thirsty in the lead up to a big event”. Annie’s advice is to snack often and keep sipping. We never see Annie without a water bottle in hand. We throw in an hydro tab (one per day), keeping our bodies electrolyte levels in check to ward of cramp.