Wednesday, May 9th, 2018

You asked our expert coach Paddy Doran from Peak Endurance Coaching and he’s answered. In a varied career, Doran has coached everyone from top professional racing cyclists to ‘weekend warriors’ challenging themselves to finish the course.

With just under five weeks to go to the big day, here’s Paddy’s take on the two most popular questions we received.


Q: Where should you be with your training now for the 200? Or should you think about the 100 instead?

A: With around 4 weeks to go before the Wicklow 200 you should be:IMG_0279

  • comfortable on your bike with suitable saddle height/bike fit;
  • capable of cycling at a moderate (talking pace) pace for three to four hours;
  • capable of holding a steady pace in a suitable gear on long hills and recover on the descent;
  • skilful enough to cycle while steering with one hand so that you can eat and drink to maintain your energy levels during the cycle; and familiar with safe group cycling and descending techniques;

If you feel you are not at the required level to complete the Wicklow 200 it is possible to make some increases to your training over the next few weeks. A simple guideline is to increase your amount of training (kms or time) by 10% each week for the next few weeks.


Q:  Are hills important in your training schedule at this point?

A:  Incorporating hills into your weekly training schedule is vital. The Wicklow 200 takes in some serious climbs, therefore, the challenge will require both strength endurance as well as good aerobic condition. Due to the length of the course your ability to pace yourself is vital.

If you go too hard on hills you run the risk of expending too much energy and going very slow. This is what racing cyclists call blowing up on a hill!

At this stage two hilly sessions per week will see improvements in your climbing ability.

Training Session 1

This will be a long spin incorporating long hills, probably best done at the weekend, as its duration should be between 3-5 hours if you are going to ride the Wicklow 200.

This should mainly be ridden at talking pace or 65% to 75% of your maximum heart rate if you are using a heart monitor. On hills the heart rate could rise into the 80% range so use your gears well to control the effort – a cadence of 70 to 85 pedal revs per minute on the long hills is a good guide.

Naturally you wouldn’t go straight into a 3-5-hour very hilly session if you haven’t been using climbs already. Progression is required from training on the flat to gradually introducing more challenging climbs

Training Session 2

This will be a shorter spin, duration 1.5 to 2 hours, which should include hills ridden at a slightly faster pace than Session 1 for a few minutes at a time.

This session should also include 2-4 x 10-minute efforts on flat or undulating roads. All of these efforts should be mainly ridden at an effort where your breathing would be deep but not gasping for breath or at 80 to 85% heart rate if you are using a heart monitor.

This session will improve your maximum cruising speed and help you to be more comfortable at reasonable speeds.

Energy Replacement

Aim to eat / drink about 60gms of carbohydrate per hour to maintain energy levels on training sessions in excess of two hours.

IMPORTANT: An increase in training also requires good nutrition, rest and sleep to assist in recovery.

We’ll be running the ‘Ask the Experts’ series in the final weeks leading up to the event. Our panel of experts includes Cycling Coach, Paddy Doran from Peak Endurance Coaching, Mental Toughness and Performance Coach, Alan Heary, and expert bike mechanics from Cycle SuperStore .

Just submit your question on our Facebook Page, Instagram, or Twitter, or by emailing and we’ll select a number of them each week which the panel will address in their regular post.