Ride your very own Tour de France with FasCat’s Tour de France three-week training plan. The plan starts June 29 and is your way to get fit this July while enjoying the world’s biggest bike race.
This Tour de France training plan mimics the physiological demands and terrain of the 2017 Tour through intervals of varying intensities and durations. This year’s Tour starts with a 14km time trial, which provides a great opportunity for a field test. It’s the one time you will actually put in a similar effort as the Tour pros, though not many of us will put out over six watts per kilo! This will help you set up proper heart rate and/or power training zones to use for the the next 20 “stages” in TrainingPeaks. After a rest week following your Tour, you can repeat the test to measure improvement.
Each Tour stage is categorized by the following codes. Your daily workouts mimic how a Tour rider would train and race each stage.
HM: High mountain stage
M: Medium mountain stage
H: Hilly stage
F: Flat stage
ITT: Individual time trial
TTT: Team Time Trial
Example workouts based on the stages that day
There are detailed workout instructions for each workout in TrainingPeaks that display your heart rate and/or power output for each stage. For the stage 20 23km time trial in Marseille, you’ll do a threshold effort with a twist: a 30-second VO2 effort because there’s a 1.2k climb in the last 5km of the TT.
Another workout example is the stage 5 finish up La Planche des Belles (8.5 percent over 5.9km). You’ll ride in zone 2 and then go as hard as you can for 12 minutes, and then even harder the last minute — just like Chris Froome and his rivals.
Here are some tips from nine-time Tour de France finisher Frankie Andreu and two-time Tour de France finisher Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing):
Andreu says, “Leading into the Tour I made sure I was rested. The last thing I wanted was to get one week into the race and be overtrained, have dead legs, and not be able to finish.”
You may feel like you need to cram training in before doing this training plan, but that’s not true. Use this training plan as a stepping-stone into the rest of your summer. Get some rest afterward and you will be fast.
Bookwalter says, “Whether it’s the Tour or any race, I think I’m best-served by staying in the moment. I do a fair amount of mental work to train my mind. The Tour is long and so demanding physically, mentally, and emotionally, and it doesn’t do any good to live in the past, present, or future. One day at a time, one kilometer at a time.”
This year’s Tour includes quite a few flatter stages, so you’ll have opportunities to “rest” a bit ahead of the tougher training days. However, there are no easy days in the Tour de France. The flat days are very stressful on the riders. It’s hard to duplicate those in training.
“The flat stages are scary and you are shattered each day by the time you reach the finish line,” says Andreu. “The fight for position is constant and never-ending.”
“When the intervals get hard, using a mantra is a good thing. Sometimes I would repeat to myself many times, ‘I can do it, I can do it,’ or ‘almost there, almost, there.’ You get the idea. The use of a mantra can help you push further than you expect.”
One thing that will help you get through each day is by taking care of yourself. Make sure you are eating well, staying hydrated, and sleeping as much as you can.
Whether you’re doing the basic plan or the advanced plan, the suffering is the same. Just as Andreu says about the Tour, “The power and speed may be different, but the suffering in the front group to the back group is many times the same. Everyone pushes themselves to do their best. The sponsors and team expect a result every time you climb on the bike. You should also expect the best from yourself during the three-week FasCat Tour de France plan.”
Chose between the basic, intermediate, and advanced plans based on how many hours you can ride each week:
Basic plan: 7.5 hours/week
Intermediate plan: 9.5 hours/week
Advanced plan: 11.5 hours/week
– Stage-by-stage daily workouts
– A free premium TrainingPeaks account
– Free mobile app
– Daily email workout reminders
– Recovery day videos for yoga, foam rolling, and “foundations” workouts.