At nearly every Q&A session with elite riders like Cadel Evans, Simon Gerrans or Gracie Elvin they get asked, how many kilometres do you ride each year?
It’s a logical question as it’s easier to relate to. The answers then let us compare it to how many kilometres we drive, which allows us to then blow the minds of our non-cycling friends.
Yet they never really know the answer because they measure training in time rather than kilometres. Incidentally, 28,000km plus, for the year, is pretty common among those who do measure every kilometre on Strava.
And we should all apply the methodology of measuring time rather than distance to our training because not all kilometres are created equal.
Ten kilometres along Beach Road is vastly different to 10km up Mount Kosciuszko. This could translate as 20min at a comfortable tempo compared to 40min at near threshold.
Therefore, your training sessions should be based on duration, not distance. The reason is that the intensity of a workout is specific to its length in time, but not necessarily to its distance.
This seems obvious to most people when planning interval sessions– e.g. 1min on, 1min off rather than 1km on, 1km off – but it gets a little lost on endurance rides.
With this in mind, your endurance training should be based on the time you think it will take you to complete either the Ride or the Race at L’Etape Australia.
A little over four hours and 30 minutes was the quickest in the 157km Race last year, and it was a smidgen over four hours for the best time in the 126km Ride.
So you don’t worry about doing training rides of 157km or 126km. Focus on being able to ride for the time it will take you to cover that distance on Saturday 2 December.
This is not to say you need to do weekly rides of this duration (there is more to life than riding your bike… apparently).
Being one of the most recognisable voices of cycling, Matthew Keenan regularly forms part of the international commentary team at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, broadcast around the world from Europe, USA, Africa, New Zealand and on SBS in Australia.
Matt is one of the two official voices of L’Etape Australia by Le Tour de France.