#Project 544 update: Training for the 2016 Mavic Trans-Provence

Well it has been a week, nothing to shout about if you are a roadie or a Cat 1 racer but for an older chap, on the recovery program from a nasty smashed knee and ACL surgery, it was pretty big.

The stats:

  1. Spinning: 95 km
  2. Trail riding: 56 km
  3. Cross training: 15 hours

It does not really seem like enough but it is certainly pushing the fitness and strength along. The good news is that a friend noticed that I am riding the same trails, faster and in a higher (harder) gear.  I am certainly feeling safer and stronger, at higher speeds, on more technical trails.

My serious build up to the 2016 Mavic Trans-Provence began in November 2015 when I received notice that I had been offered a place. I was still unable to risk a fall on my knee (and was, in fact, still walking with the aid of a cane) so I was limited to beginner or smooth intermediate trails and relied on spinning to get a lot of my cardio base especially when the weather was poor and the trails were wet.

We also get snow from late November, which closes a lot of the trails, and most of my training was conducted inside then onwards. I was trying to build a base of leg and cardio fitness by starting with 20-25 kilometres of spinning six days per week, allowing myself one complete rest day. I also did some basic proprioception exercises and continued with my weekly physiotherapy in an effort to learn how to walk properly again.

Unfortunately, after some Christmas air travel, I suffered from a flu in January that put a dent in my training plans.

I generally managed to stick to my plan of adding 5km to the daily total each week (e.g. 2o km per day Week 1; 25 km per day Week 2 etc etc) and once I managed two weeks of 30 km days without feeling too tired, sore or getting a relapse from the flu (it was the nasty one that came back for a stronger round two that affected a lot of people this winter) I started to add interval training to my base. The basic three day format was moderate (weekly daily target kilometres), hard including intervals (10 km less than the weekly daily target kilometres) and a recovery day (weekly daily target plus 5 kilometres). So it would look like this:

Day 1: 35 km spinning, moderate (80% zone three).

Day 2: 30 km spinning hard, ascending and descending intervals (60% zone four, 10% zone five).

Day 3: 40-45 km spinning light, (60% zone two, 20% zone three)

Day 4: Rest day, walk and stretch.

Every time I completed three blocks without undue fatigue or any physical set backs I added 5 km to the daily target.

In late March and early April I started to add outdoor trail riding to my program. I switched the program to  15-30 km of trail riding rather than spinning before heading to the gym for two and half hours of cross training. I trained five days per week from the second week of March until the second last week of May. Every Tuesday and Thursday included unweighted recovery running in the swimming pool (with a flat belt around one’s waist).