Training for Thighs of Steel

Training for Thighs of Steel

Yes. You WILL need to train. Gulp.

Your goal is to be able to cycle the average daily distance and climbing for your week (see the chart below) within 7-8 hours.

Bear in mind that you’ll have to do this for 6 or 7 days straight. In the height of summer. 

NOTE: ​Distances and climbing are an average. Some days will be bigger than others. You’ve been warned!

From Thighs of Jelly to Thighs of READY

Your training plan is obviously going to depend on your current level of cycle fitness and which week you’ve signed up for.

As a general guideline, you should be getting out on the bike regularly – every other day or so, even if it’s just to zip down to the shops.

In addition, at least once a week, go on a longer ride, building up until you can comfortably manage the average daily distance and climbing for your week.

If you’d like a more detailed breakdown, here’s our week-by-week, rough-and-ready guide.

Week 1: Glasgow to Bristol

Expect some stiff climbs in Scotland, the Lake District and Shropshire – plus 7 consecutive days of cycling.

Ride your bike regularly and gradually build up until you can do about 110km and 900m of climbing in under 8 hours.

We recommend you go out on a few 100-140km rides before the adventure begins.

Week 2: Bristol to Paris

Expect rolling hills and 6 consecutive days of cycling.

Get used to being on the bike and gradually build up until you can do about 95km and 770m of climbing in under 8 hours.

We recommend you go on a few 90-100km rides before you join the adventure.

Week 3: Paris to Lyon

Expect a couple of long distance days to start with – and then some really stiff climbing through Beaujolais. 6 consecutive days of cycling.

Ride your bike regularly around town and build up your long rides until you can do 105km and 860m of climbing in under 8 hours.

We recommend you go on a few 100-120km rides before Thighs.

Week 4: Lyon to Milan

Expect The Alps. Mwhahaha. Mountains. Very long all-day climbs. But remember that it’s not a race and what goes up must come down. 6 consecutive days of cycling.

It’s not obvious how to train for the Alps while living in the UK. If you can get to somewhere hilly for a weekend, then that’d be really good preparation.

Failing that, pick the steepest hill you can find nearby and focus on interval training.

We recommend you go on a few 120-150km rides before the summer – and make your peace with having 1000m climbs as a warm up!

Week 5: Milan to Trieste

Expect the Dolomites – plenty of crazy steep climbs, but also some flatter stretches around the lakes and, of course, at least one mega descent. 6 consecutive days of cycling.

Ride your bike like a maniac and gradually build up until you can do about 120km and 1600m of climbing in under 8 hours. Tricky to find that kind of elevation in the UK, but pick a hill nearby and become best buddies.

We recommend you go out on a few 100-140km rides before the adventure begins.

Week 6: Trieste to Dubrovnik

Expect rugged hill climbing, often steep, and perhaps occasionally on poor roads. 6 consecutive days of cycling. We’re also expecting it to be HOT.

Ride your bike regularly and gradually build up until you can do about 115km and 1650m of climbing in under 8 hours.

We recommend you go out on a few 100-140km rides before the adventure begins.

Week 7: Dubrovnik to Thessaloniki

Expect a combination of long distance chugging through the Albanian plains and also some pretty steep hill climbing in Macedonia, perhaps on poor roads.

7 consecutive days of cycling. Also expect it to be HOT.

Ride your bike regularly and gradually build up until you can do about 105km and 1290m of climbing in under 8 hours.

We recommend you go out on a few 100-140km rides before the adventure begins.

Week 8: Thessaloniki to Athens

Expect stiff climbs combined with long stretches of steady riding. 6 consecutive days of cycling. Also expect it to be HOT.

Get used to being on the bike and gradually build up until you can do about 95km and 1100m of climbing in under 8 hours.

We recommend you go on a few 90-100km rides before you join the adventure.

Some training ideas

  • Daily commute (or every other day)
  • Shopping trips (get panniers and then it becomes weight training too)
  • Spin classes at the gym
  • Turbo trainer + Netflix
  • Get an accountability training buddy (ask in your Whatsapp group)
  • Join the Thighs Cycle ‘Clubs’ in London, Brighton or Bristol. ​More info here
  • Plan a pretty ride (we use Komoot) to go on with friends and get them all to give you a tenner towards your fundraising – two birds, one stone!
  • Do some GPS artwork (like we wrote ‘Refugees Welcome’ along the south coast in 2021)
  • Cycle to a (not too) distant relative or friend’s house for tea
  • Find the biggest hill within 5km of your house and cycle up it 5 times every weekend – see if it gets any easier!