Finishing strong - stopping any tailing off in longer events

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Finishing strong - stopping any tailing off in longer events

Postby barrybridges » Mon Jan 21, 2013 09:49 am

I'm riding the marmotte this summer and am gradually building up my weekly mileage and long rides, having never ridden beyond 100 miles previously.

That said, I come from a running background and have completed a fair few marathons, where the principles of 'training for distance' are similiar.

What I would like to know is whether there are any specific training sessions - or training 'routines/practices' - that help develop a 'strong finish' to longer events.

What I mean by this is that I want to ensure I finish the event strongly and not end up crawling over the line.

Is the ability to finish strongly a sympton of a good underlying base of training?

Is it a sympton of good pacing?

Probably yes to both the above, but is there anything I can introduce in my training sessions to help me train specifically for maintain a good pace across a long event?

Someone mentioned to me that the idea of 'negative splits' in marathon running can be transferred to cycling, and that a good tip is always to finish the final 10% of any training session (exc turbo) at a hard effort. E.g. don't just spin down to finish - but instead try and 'negative split' your training.

Anyway, I'm a novice and luddite so would welcome your ideas. What's the best way to train to ensure that I don't fade over a long distance?

Tom Butcher
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Re: Finishing strong - stopping any tailing off in longer ev

Postby Tom Butcher » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:16 pm

Imo it's down to pacing and feeding - obviously for a given endurance base. For something like the Marmotte you have to take into account you wouldn't want to ride that at a consistent effort too. There are periods of recovery during some of the descents - though not all the descending is coasting especially once you are on the Lauteret, periods when it may pay to put in extra effort to stay with a fast moving group etc.
it's a hard life if you don't weaken.

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Re: Finishing strong - stopping any tailing off in longer ev

Postby grazza_e » Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:55 pm

A few thoughts, quite a bit confirming what you guessed, but all based on my own experience ramping up to long events. I'd keep in mind why you are doing the event, is it to finish, to do a time? this will impact how you want to train.

- So yes fundamentally good base fitness is important. As many long rides you can get in. I've always had a basic challenge that I can't go out and ride 7 hours each weekend, so there is an element of accepting if you only ever train 3 hours and then race for 8, there is an inevitable liklihood you will fade.

- I've read quite a bit on negative splits, and I do think there is some solid nutrition / metabolic theory behind it (but don't ask me for quotes!). For me this is knowing my HR zones and stay in a comfy place.

- As Tom mentioned, fuelling is critical. Just a simple example I went for 2 120km rides within 2 weeks of each other in Jan. For bigger rides I think it's really important to know what works for you in terms of fueling which takes time. Rocking up to a big event with random drinks / foods can cause problems.

- Finally for something like Marmotte, really long with big climbs, if you can find some big/long enough hills that you can have confidence in what pace / HR you can sustain on a given climb and be comfortable, it's a huge help. A few of my biggest mistakes have been maintaining too high a climbing pace. If you can't climb comfortable at a 12% grade etc., doing work to improve your threshold etc. may be needed (many threads on this) - or of course you can buy a triple:)

- Just a personal thing, but consider other elements that keep you strong, core fitness, back, saddle etc. Your legs / endurance might be fine, but if you have an aching back after being on a bike 6 hours you won't feel strong!

Hope helps.

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Re: Finishing strong - stopping any tailing off in longer ev

Postby cyco2 » Wed Jan 30, 2013 22:58 pm

I would recommend you learn to ride with a heart rate monitor. Provided its not energy or fitness deficiency that's the problem find out your zone for endurance riding and on your next long ride stick to it. Even on the hills. It may seem strange backing off the effort at times but it has to be done. You may find you'll have to adjust the HR figure a bit but if you get it right you should find you've got something left at the end.

If you want to be a strong rider you have to do strong things.
However if you train like a cart horse you'll race like one.

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Re: Finishing strong - stopping any tailing off in longer ev

Postby bernithebiker » Thu Jan 31, 2013 08:32 am

I'm doing the Etape again this year and would like to try and set as quick a time as I can, but I am no endurance rider, so I need to make sure I don't get lured into going off too fast.

To that end I would try to make sure I don't go above 160 HR or so for the 1st hour or two. Then, when I know there's only 2 or 3 hours left, I can up the pace a bit, without fearing exhaustion at the end.

N.B. If the initial climbs are steep, you may need extra low gearing to ensure that you don't over exert yourself.

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