7 Mistakes to Avoid When Training for a Sportive

Training for any sportive but especially the Dragon Ride is an epic undertaking just by itself. There is so much to think about; from the training schedule, to fuelling; to bike management, it’s easy to come unstuck. In my years training for the Dragon, I have been guilty of making many of these myself. Here are seven of the most common training mistakes to steer clear of. Avoiding them can make the difference between enjoying your sportive versus having to slog it out.

1. Procrastination: The Silent Saboteur

Starting your training late is like trying to climb the Bwlch on a unicycle: possible, but why make it so hard? The Dragon Ride won’t go easy on you, so don’t spoil the day by being underprepared. Begin your training well in advance to build up endurance gradually, making the journey as rewarding as the event itself.

2. The Overtraining Trap

Your drive is your best ally, but overtraining is the enemy in disguise. There’s no need to ride the entire Dragon Ride distance in one training session. Aim for regular rides, gradually increasing to 70% of the event distance. You want to boost endurance without burning yourself out. 

One of the most overlooked aspects of training is the power of rest and recovery. It’s tempting to fill every day with intense rides, but without adequate rest, your body can’t repair and strengthen. Incorporate rest days and lighter training sessions into your schedule.

Remember, recovery is when your body adapts and gets stronger, setting you up for success on event day.

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

3. Neglecting the Noble Steed

Your bike is your partner in this quest; treat it with the care it deserves. Regular maintenance is crucial, especially during wet winter and spring. A well-tuned bike makes training more comfortable and mirrors the smooth ride you’ll want on the big day.

4. The Guilt of Missed Training

Consistency is the key, but life happens. Missing a training session isn’t the end of your Dragon Ride dreams. Be kind to yourself on off days. Remember, it’s about the journey, not perfection. Regroup and get back in the saddle and you’ll smash it.

5. Underestimating the Ascent

The Dragon Ride is (in)famous for its climbs, and your training should respect that. Incorporate hill reps into your routine; they’re gold dust for building climbing legs. Local steep climbs or virtual ascents like Zwift’s Alpe de Zwift can be excellent trainers, turn your nemesis into an old friend!

6. Forgetting Fuel and Fluids

What you eat and drink during training is as crucial as on event day. Keep your bidons brimming and pack your pockets with snacks. Training with extra weight isn’t just practical; it’s a bonus workout. Bananas, fig rolls, and jelly babies are my go to’s, warding off the dreaded bonk. 

7. Underestimating the power of the community.

My personal preference is solo cycling which can mean I underestimate the benefit of a supportive community – training for a sportive like the Dragon Ride is arguably more of a mental challenge than a physical one.  Joining a cycling club or group can offer encouragement, advice and camaraderie. Riding with others helps to push you to perform better, stick to your training plan and make the longer rides easier and more enjoyable …plus there’s company for the obligatory café, cake and coffee stop. 😉

In the run up to the Dragon Ride, remember that the journey is more than the destination and it’s more than just clocking up training miles, it’s about building strength, resilience and hopefully friendships along the way. 

If you can avoid the mistakes I’ve made then by the time you line up at the start on the big day, you will have already achieved so much and you’ll be ready to rock! Pob Lwc!