How do you prepare for a 60-hour, 1000km (600 miles) challenge?

It all depends on your initial physical form. If you’ve been racing the Ironman circuit over the last decade, you can cut down on the pool and skip a run or two during your week and you’ll be just fine (and we will remain jealous of your chiselled abs). On the other hand, if you have been postponing that gym session and the spinning classes all winter, you are in trouble!

By now, all participants should be able to ride 85 km (50 miles) two days in a row.  In fact, the recommended training for this time – 30 days to the event – is one 100 km (60 miles) outing and two more of 40 to 60 km (25 to 37 miles) per week. (We fuel on High5 gels!)

200 km (120 miles) of cycling a week??  Oui, monsieur!

Of course, we did not start to train for this last month…

For my part, I am in good physical shape.  After the birth of my children, now 5 and 7, I picked up running two or three times a week, for 30 minutes.  I ran my first half-marathon within two years and started to race in duathlon for extra motivation in 2009.  Since then, I have been keeping very active.

When Team Maxmedia was picked by drawing lots in December to participate in the Grand défi Pierre Lavoie, a 60 hour cycling marathon of 1,000 km (600 miles) that gathers 1,000 experienced and devoted cyclists who will criss-cross the largest province of the second largest country, (Québec, Canada), I started more serious and planned training as opposed to my keep-active-as-I-can workouts.

I put the machine in gear and squeezed two 5 km lunch time jogs, two power and strength sessions at the gym and two to three spinning classes or skate-ski outings per week. Over the months, the spinning classes graduated from 1 to 2.5 hours in order to prepare for the 100 km (60 mile) outdoor bike rides that would happen once the snow would finally melt…

I particularly emphasized on strength classes to build power quickly and resistance to fatigue. Studies show that strength training is an essential element of fitness for virtually every athlete. Appropriate strength training can help improve every endurance athletes’ performance and some explosive power training is ideal for athletes competing at all distances.

Strength training helps build strength (!), which helps minimize the chance of injury, improves resistance to fatigue and improves endurance. These aspects are crucial in all endurance events, especially those that are long in nature. I found that strength training helped me lower muscle fatigue, allowed me to hold a set pace for longer and increase speed.

We have started cycling together as a team at the beginning of May, learning how to ride in peloton.  This helps us gain speed and but also experience riding in a tight group.

At 30 days before the event, we are in great mental and physical shape.

You can find the training plan suggested for the Grand défi Pierre Lavoie (in French only) at:

More information is also available (also in French) at:

If you have training tips to share, please do so!  We will be happy to try them and comment back!



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