Though it may be snowing where you are now, the Dirty Kanza 200 isn’t that far off! Before you know it you’ll be standing on the start line on Commercial Avenue, and we want to make sure you’re standing there feeling confident and secure in your fitness and preparation for the long day! While your training program needs to be customized to your fitness level, goals, and personal schedule here are some tips everyone can benefit from:
Build power at lactate threshold
The DK200 is an ultra-endurance event, so why focus on power at lactate threshold when you’re going to be riding an aerobic pace most of the day? Because you have a job and family and your workouts are going to be relatively short. To get the most out of them, use intervals (4×6, 3×10, 4×15 for example) at or just below your lactate threshold intensity to increase your maximum sustainable power. But the benefit you’re really after for DK is an increase in the power and pace you can hold hour after hour at a sub-threshold intensity.
Use back-to-back rides to accumulate workload
How do you prepare for a 12+ hour event using training rides of 3-5 hours? You ride on back-to-back days. Build weekend training blocks where you ride 3+ hours Sat/Sun or Fri/Sat/Sun and then as the event gets closer make these individual rides longer. These blocks can actually be more effective than super-long rides for fitness gains because your power output throughout each medium-length ride will be higher than during the super-long training ride.
From the editors: CTS Athletes have beaten the overall race finishing rate every year they’ve participated and CTS can help you have your best DK ever, whether it’s your first or your fifth time! Go to http://trainright.com/dk200 or call 866-355-0645 for info on their support package and coaching options.
Go long, but not for conditioning
Your super-long training rides are less about gaining fitness and more about preparing your body, brain, and gut for the demands of DK200. You’re going to want to schedule some 5+ hours rides on your gravel bike. What you’ll find is that things that don’t bother you at 3 hours are annoying at 5 hours and painful at 7. And anything that’s painful at hours 5-7 is going to be intolerable by hours 10-12. Use your long rides to identify issues with bike fit and comfort, equipment choices, and nutrition strategy.
Train on the rig you’re going to race
Many of you have multiple bikes and you ride a combination of road, MTB, and gravel. In preparation for DK200 you need to spend time on your gravel bike. Your position on the bike – and the way the bike handles – is different than your road or MTB bike. Beyond that you also want some of your longer training rides to incorporate the extra gear you may use at DK200, like frame packs and hydration systems.
Dial in your nutrition strategy
The race has been aptly described as an eating contest on bikes because your nutrition/hydration strategy can make or break your race day. Training is the place to dial in what combination of water, sports drink, solid foods, and gels/chews works best for you. What works for you matters more than what your buddy swears by. And what works for you in a 3 hour ride might not work in hour 6.
Make recovery a priority
For many athletes preparing for DK200 means a significant increase in weekly training volume (hrs) – sometimes a dramatic increase – compared to the rest of the year. You have to focus on optimizing recovery between rides in order to increase the quality of your training sessions and maximize the adaptations you make. Remember, training is stress and recovery time is when you adapt to the stress and grow stronger!
Chris Carmichael and Jim Rutberg have finished 4 Dirty Kanza 200s between them and more than 60 CTS Athletes and Coaches have finished the Dirty Kanza in the past two years. For personal coaching and/or our proven DK200 Support package, visit http://trainright.com/dk200.