5 tips to help you prepare for the world’s best amateur cycling race

Preparing for an event such as the Haute Route can be both exciting and nerve wracking. But with the right plan, everyone should be able to enjoy the incredible riding that the Alps and Pyrenees have to offer during the Haute Route events.

Joe Staunton is a cycling coach and performance nutritionist at Ceyreste Performance.

I have helped athletes prepare for many multi-day events such as the Haute Route. Below are a few simple tasks I suggest you do well in advance of your event to ensure you have maximum confidence in your preparation. All being well you should arrive on the start line fit, fresh and ready to have the ride of your life.”

5 tips from Joe!

  1. Study the demands of your event

Knowing what is required of you is the first step in putting together any successful training plan and giving yourself the best chance of hitting your event goals. Set some time aside, grab a brew of choice and sit down to really understand the demands of the event you have, or are, signing up for.

Questions you will want to ask yourself:

  • How many days of riding back to back will there be?
  • How long roughly each day will I be riding for?
  • What kind of duration and gradient are the climbs (Strava is a brilliant tool for easy analysis)?
  • What kind of weather will I be riding in?

Make a note of the answers to all these questions as it will help you formulate your plan.

  1. Make a plan – but be flexible!

Once you have an idea of the answers to the questions above, you can start to put together a rough plan. “Rough” because there is no such thing as a perfect plan! Setting out with an adaptable mindset from the off will help you keep a cool head and enjoy your preparation, without getting frazzled when things change.

How much time do I have to train?

  • I have a busy schedule and less time than a Tour de France pro

It is more effective to focus on intensity (commonly known as interval training) (1,2). I work with a lot of busy professionals where time is at a premium; specific indoor turbo training sessions are a brilliant way to maximise your training time efficiently.

  • My schedule is not too busy

Establishing regular longer rides with more sparing amounts of intensity within your training schedule will also put you in a great position to nail your event (6).

Being realistic about the time you must commit and having a big picture in advance will help guide your training approach and will prepare you both mentally and physically.

  1. Focus on your gut, not just your legs

The training that you do on the bike in preparation for the Haute Route is of course vitally important. However, the nutrition around that training may well be the (not so secret) ingredient that will enable you to really maximise your hard work and put you in the best position on the start line.

A healthy athlete is a happy one.

Your diet plays a huge part in your ability to complete training and recover from it. But it also hugely impacts your energy levels, mental wellbeing and mitigates your risk of illness or injury if done properly (4,5). If you’re about to ramp up your training, the number one piece of advice I would give you is to ensure you are giving your body the right amount of energy to fuel and recover from the work.

  1. Prioritise rest & recovery

When motivated, the trap of ‘more is better’ is tempting. Effective training demands time, energy, and consistency. Success hinges on the cumulative effect of months of training leading up to your events. So, allow your body to adapt and recover to build strength, and consider recovery daily and throughout your preparation.


  • Am I getting enough sleep?
  • Is my nutrition sufficient?
  • Am I making time for relaxation?


  • Have I had a rest day this week?
  • Have I incorporated easy rides into my training?


  • If I am in a particularly hard training block or am a higher volume athlete, have I planned in a longer bout of rest and recovery?
  • Am I making sure that I am not “burning the candle at both ends” and allowing for any periods of additional life stress?
  1. Do all of these tips, consistently

The phrase “consistency is key” is often used within the world of endurance training to emphasise the importance of continually chipping away. Consistently making the right decisions to enable you to complete your f training in the long run, not just in the short term, is how I explain the meaning behind this phrase to my athletes.

If you consistently make good training decisions, nutritional choices and nail your recovery, you will be able to train more consistently. This is the key to having the best Haute Route experience of your life!


1 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1995688/

2 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25365337/

3 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28332115/

4 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26891166/

5 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37752011/

6 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20861519/