Training camp in Spain

Hello everyone,

I spent the last 20 days in Spain, topping up my tan lines, practising my selfie skills, relaxing in warmer climates and, of course, training hard! I thought I’d let you guys know how I was training and why.


Essential fueling at Aldi

The main motivation for my trip was to have a break from my normal routes and routines and get away from the many rainy days in Scotland. Contrary to my regular, structured training plan from my coach Vicky Begg (head coach of Glasgow Triathlon Club), we decided that I should just get out to Spain, cycle almost everyday, and see how it felt. So this is what I did!

I cycled almost every day in and around the province of Alicante, covering between 100km (short ride!) to 225km each day. I took it fairly easy in the first week, before doing some longer days (around 200km long rides) back to back in the second and third weeks. Experiencing how these rides felt was very important for testing my stamina and helped me acclimatise to longer, tougher distances. For the Festive 500 challenge, I cycled 1052 km in hilly terrain in just 7 rides (with one rest day). Overall, I placed 9th out of 4200 women who attempted this challenge on Strava. Yay!


My set up for long days in the saddle

While I was away putting in the big miles, I realised that CONSERVATION of energy will be vital for my round the world trip. Coach Vicky Begg says: “This [endurance/long distance cycling] is different to racing in as much as the most experienced athletes and coaches focus on the minimum expenditure of energy during training (across the total volume, even though there are times when the training must be hard). This type of training allows for maximum output when it matters most, i.e. in a race.  In your situation a careful drip feeding of energy from the energy your body stores to your muscles is required to eliminate wasted energy output.  You don’t have the ‘peak’ or ‘race’ scenario as part of your agenda.”

Having raced before, I now realise that my trip will require me to think completely differently about HOW I ride. I need to make sure I ride RELAXED, not get distracted by other riders who are overtaking me and just trust that I will get there.


On my way from Tibi to Xixona, last climb of the day.

Back in Scotland, I will focus on keeping my riding consistent throughout winter and spring. Due to other commitments and miserable weather to contend with, I wont be able to sustain the same mileage I covered in Spain, but that’s ok. I will be doing planned sessions to work on endurance, threshold and speed, as well as stability and strength exercises to prevent injury.

I also see testing equipment, planning and organising as almost more important than spending long hours on the bike. With my big trip approaching, I have various pieces of equipment to acquire and test. More on that in another blog post soon!

Thanks for reading! Gracias por leer

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9 Responses to Training camp in Spain

  1. Rishi says:

    Hi Paula, thanks for updating us about your trainings. I have been following your write-ups for a few weeks now, and it is inspiring! A very good luck with your big mission! 🙂
    – Rishi


  2. It took us the first 4 months of a 4 year ride to stop attacking the hills. So much part of the way we rode. In year 4 after thousands of miles, we walked up more hills and were better for doing that – a single bad hill can kill your legs for the day!


  3. biziosona says:

    I do believe that the management of food is different in this type of challenge. You don’t need gels, or great contributions of sugar, and yes other kinde of foods; high in fiber, protein and carbohydrates (if there are slow in absorption, better).

    But I don’t be agree with your training… You talk about “hard training” while outputs are ‘relaxed’.

    Last year, I wasted many hours with “junk kilometers” on the preparation of the TransAm, and when I finished it I was very satisfied to do that, but I get a lot of energy in my legs. I think I could have given well over me (go faster).

    After the race, I have done physical-test and they evidence that I have “poor resistance”! My body doesn’t handle well the resources I have!

    I neither know exactly how to train, but I’m doing a little faster outputs (Z2), avoiding always be in “active recovery” (Z0/Z1) and now I’ll start to training to get more muscles to require less energy to maintain the same ‘cruising speed’ in the future. Which means with the same energy you’ll go faster.

    Come on!


    • Paula says:

      Hi Carlos,
      Thank you very much for your comment. What I was trying to say that I that during the back to back long days on the bike, which simulated how riding during my around the world challenge would feel, I realised how energy conservation was important and I just needed to ride in a relaxed fashion. During my normal training however I don’t always just ride in a relaxed way and do include quite a bit of harder sessions. Does that make sense?


      • biziosona says:

        Yes, why not!

        Today I check my improve in last 3 monts of specific training (using pulsometer) and I increase 14% my VO2! To 66 (ml/min/kg).
        So I save 14% of energy to do the same (more or less).

        Tomorrow I’ll post about it… Hehehe

        Well done and good luck! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Steven Oxley says:

    I toured Eurovelo 6 to Basel , Switzerland and Germany using 810 to post , Bluetooth worked well did not let me down nor did the light you are using , great in the tent ! Charged it all with Voltaic 6 watt solar panel . Are you camping ? Regards .

    Liked by 1 person

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