Training for the National – how Clinterval clients have been preparing for Haytor
With the National Hill Climb Championships less than a week away, Clinterval clients are in their final stages of preparation to tackle the 3.2 mile Haytor climb. While the 2011 National HC on Long Hill (Buxton) was 4.4miles, Haytor is not the longest Championship event in the last decade, however, with a 6% average gradient it’s a different challenge to the usual 2-4 minute climbs.
Throughout the years our coaches have competed in over 130 hill climbs including 9 medals in National Championship events – with Matt Clinton taking the 2008 National title and Jack O’Neill winning his age-group in the 2012 Championship. Matt’s 11 year stint inside the top-7 riders, including 8 consecutive podium places has seen him on the podium from the 2.5-minute Rake to a 14-minute Long Hill. This wealth of experience helps all our clients in peaking exactly in time for the last weekend in October.
So how has Clinterval Coaching been training their riders to compete in such an event? As with any hill climb season, Tabata sessions have been a staple session to increase rider’s top end power. These 20-sec on, 10-sec off sessions (in varying forms), have been used more sparingly than years with a 4-minute target climb.
To keep focus on the duration of the Haytor climb, these sessions have been interspersed by a variety of other sessions to keep riders on their toes, too much Tabata is counter-productive. Perhaps the most useful session in the library has been our own custom workout based on the Haytor climb itself.
After one of our riders completed a reconnaissance ride back in the summer, the power data from the effort was converted into a TrainingPeaks session with an intentionally hard finish to simulate the demands of the climb. The session has been so effective that when one of our riders competed in the Open event on Haytor at the end of September, their power tallied right up with their two previous turbo sessions.
At around 10% above FTP, a race effort for the climb can mean that pacing is crucial. The Haytor session has meant that riders have prepared to complete the climb with optimum pacing, we see it far too often that riders loose time by putting the power down where they don’t need to.
Most of our riders have also focused on longer hill climbs in the build up to the Nationals, skipping the shorter climbs and getting used to the sustained efforts. This has helped provide regular benchmarks to track their progress over the course of the season as week on week we are able to compare the efforts as performances have improved.
Now entering the final week before the Nationals, riders are reducing their training volume substantially, having a final taper before the big day. This short period allows their body to freshen up, minimising fatigue and thus reaping the rewards of the hard work put in over the last few weeks.
Good luck to all riders on Sunday and if you see us around, come and have a chat!