Week 2: Getting ‘Big Race’ Ready – The 1Zambia Training Series

In terms of training, week 2 is almost going to be a repeat of week 1. I know you’re itching to get out and do some 100km rides in the mountains, but those rides will be much more effective if they’re done after a good adaptation period. We will get there, though.

In week 2 we’re still in the adaptation phase. Last week I talked about the importance of giving your body time to adjust to the demands of regular training. This week’s topic is just as important: helping your mind to adapt to the regular training.


Routine is important. That’s why Mondays suck. Over the weekend, we break the routine of getting up early and heading off to work. On Mondays we have to force ourselves back into it, and that can be hard, even if you enjoy your job. Something I’ve learned over my years in cycling is that having a routine makes training infinitely easier. Once the routine is established, you can follow it mindlessly. This helps a lot on days when you’re distracted by other stresses.

Here are some tips to help you to develop a sustainable training routine:

– Train at set times on set days. Even if Tuesday’s time is different from Saturday’s time, having set times will help you to incorporate training into your working life, and ward off procrastination. For example, I train with the Kansanshi team at 7:30 AM, six days a week. On Sundays we always train at 13:30, so that guys can go to church in the morning.

– Develop a pre-training sequence. I wake up at 6:00, put my oats in the microwave, and make coffee while the microwave goes. Once I’m done with breakfast, I get my bike and bottles ready, then I kit up. Having this sequence means that as long as I get my oats into the microwave, I can do the rest on autopilot.


This Week’s Training

This week we’re encouraging adaptation by forcing you to pedal at high and low cadences. The high cadence efforts will create neurological changes, improving your pedalling efficiency, while the low cadence efforts will create muscular changes, increasing the maximum torque you can produce.

Monday 29th Jan:



30 minutes gentle spinning (on the indoor trainer if necessary). RPE: 3



  • 30-minute ride: High/Low Cadence Repeats


  • 10 minutes light spinning to warm up. RPE: 3
  • 2 minutes in your biggest gear. Don’t ride full gas. Rather, let your pedalling slow down to about 50rpm (5 revolutions every 6 seconds, if you’re counting manually). Stay seated, and focus on matching the downward push with the upward pull on the pedals. RPE 7
  • 2 minutes in your smallest gear. Really spin your legs as fast as they can go, but without going into an all out sprint. The resistance should be so low that you barely feel it. Again, stay in the saddle, and focus on being smooth and controlled. RPE 5
  • Repeat these two steps 3 times, for a total of 12 minutes.
  • 10 minutes light spinning. RPE 3
  • Friday:



    2 hour MTB ride. Ride a route that you know, and try to keep moving consistently from start to finish. Ride the first hour at a pace that feels easier than what you’re capable of. In the second hour, turn up the pace a bit, and try to cover more distance than you did in the first hour. This will build more endurance than hammering out the first hour and limping home.


    Optional cross training. If yesterday didn’t tire you out, do something other than riding today. Running is a natural alternative, but swimming or Pilates will help you build the core and upper body strength that will get you down those rocky descents.

3 replies on “Week 2: Getting ‘Big Race’ Ready – The 1Zambia Training Series”

Cool, these are helping me a lot. Possibly explain which is the biggest gear and which is the smallest.

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