If you want to complete Mallorca 312, you have to train for it.
An event that’s 312 kilometres, with nearly 5,000m of climbing and tough cut-offs, is a serious undertaking. Unless you’re a pro, a well thought out Mallorca 312 training plan is non-negotiable.
In this article we speak with James Walsgrove, head coach at Ride Harder.
Ride Harder was the Mallorca 312’s official training partner for 2021/2022.
In this article James shares his tips for training for Mallorca 312 (and the 225 and 167 km distances) in a way that will see you achieve your goal and get to the finish line within your target time.
Note: in this article we predominantly refer to Mallorca 312 because this is the main name for the event as a whole and it would be a very wordy article if we referred to each course each time. However, the same tips are relevant for those focused on the 225 and 167km distances. As most of the climbing happens in those early kilometres, it’s important you’re prepared for them.
1. Why do you need to train for Mallorca 312?
I’m often asked “How hard is Mallorca 312?”. My answer is that Mallorca 312 is a really tough event and not to be underestimated. It includes over 5,000m of climbing throughout the 312km and happens early on in the season, which makes training that much harder. The Mallorca 312 time limit is 14 hours to receive your medal and an official finishing time. The fastest rider usually completes it in around 9 hours, but 12-14 hours is more usual.
What makes the event even harder are the two Mallorca 312 cut-off times at 97km and 220km. The majority of the toughest climbing is completed in the first half of the Mallorca 312 course (including iconic climbs like Puig Major), so even if you are faster on the flat you may not get a chance to complete the course if you lose time on the climbs. (More on cut-off times below.)
There’s also the heat and the fact many cyclists don’t consider the impact that will have on their performance.
Mallorca 312 is not an event that you can attempt half heartedly, so you need to be fully committed to the training. This can be hard with the event being early in the season (usually in April) as it means the majority of your training will need to be over the winter.
But we’re here to help (more on that below)!
James Walsgrove’s GPS file from Mallorca 312, April 2023 (or here is his Mallorca 312 route 2023 Strava file)
2. What are your top training tips for Mallorca 312?
Focus on endurance training (both aerobic and muscular)
For the majority of the Mallorca 312 cycling event, you will be riding below your threshold and this is what you need to train. This will mean plenty of easy rides at a steady endurance pace and intervals where your muscles are constantly under tension. Those sprint efforts on Zwift will not help you on the day. But don’t worry if you don’t have endless amounts of training time – you have options. More on that below.
Plan event simulation rides in your training
These don’t need to be anywhere near the length of the event, however you want to practice what you will be doing on race day. This includes race day nutrition, eating on the move and minimal stops.
Generally, the longest ride that I include in the plan is up to 5 hours regardless of how much time you have available. Your body can only absorb a certain amount of training stress so any longer than that then you are just building extra fatigue rather than fitness. For example, you are far better to train consistently, with back to back rides at times, rather than just one very long ride once a week.
Know your zones AND train in them!
Whatever device or metric you are using it is essential to know your training zones. Whether you are using power or heart rate you need to know what they are. Write them down and memorise them! Aim for the majority of your riding to be done at an easy intensity but you want to train all the zones in each training block. The volume will depend on the phase of training and your individual needs as an athlete (for example target time).
Far too many people just ride with their club mates and end up with a mish-mash of intensity throughout. For example, never quite going hard for long enough or doing periods of easy riding. This approach is unlikely to get you the results you’re looking for.
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”
Consistency is the key to success (not just in sport but with anything in life)! Even if you only have 30 minutes for each training ride then this regular training is better than nothing.
The goal is to train regularly and limit any time off the bike! Many people train too much at the wrong time resulting in either fatigue, injury or sickness and then end up with periods off the bike.
The goal here is to aim for quality consistency!
4. When do you need to start your Mallorca 312 training?
Building fitness takes time, so the earlier you start training the better.
That said you want to progress your training throughout the length of the plan as this is one of the components of fitness – progressive overload.
I would generally say 24-32 weeks ahead of the event is the best time to start training. This will allow you to work on building your aerobic engine first to lay the foundation. 16 weeks to go is not a bad time, providing you have a certain amount of cycle fitness going into it.
Will you give up?!
You need to make sure you complete the length of the plan, so depending on how disciplined you are then longer is not always better.
For example you could sign up to a 24 week training plan but lose motivation after 16 weeks and not do any training in the last eight weeks, which would be a total waste as you would have lost all the fitness before the event.
In this case, it would be much better to start at 16 weeks before the end and make it all the way to the end of the plan and the event.
Last minute training
With training, you can only absorb and adapt from a certain amount of training so cramming it in with only a couple of weeks to go will not work!
If you have only four weeks to go and haven’t done any training then you are really going to struggle to complete the 312 distance.
However, the beauty of this event is that you can always start with everyone but drop the distance and complete the Mallorca 167 which should be achievable due to the length of time you have to complete it. Although the climbs are still tough on the 167, they are more long than steep so if you have the correct gearing then you should be fine.
5. Why follow a training plan?
A training plan will give you the motivation, structure and accountability to complete the training ahead of the event.
You will also have the comfort that the sessions are specifically targeting the physical demands needed to complete the event.
It takes all the decision fatigue out of your training.
Plus, it’s all mapped out in front of you so you can plan in the time needed.
6. What are your Mallorca 312 tips for putting your training into practice on the day?
Understand the Mallorca 312 cut-off times
The times below are taken from the 2023 event, however they’re very similar year on year.
The Mallorca 312 cut-off time is 14 hours and 10 minutes for the full 312km. The event starts at 6:30 am so you need to complete the Mallorca 312 by 8:40 pm.
There are also two checkpoints on the way around that you have to reach within the time limit in order to be allowed to continue. The first is at 97km; you must be there by 11:10 am. This gives you 4h 40min to complete this section which has the most climbing. The second checkpoint is at 220km; you need to arrive there by 16:20, which is 9 hours and 50 minutes from the start of the event.
I have found that checkpoints can be hard to achieve if you stop too long en route. Be aware that organisers do not add time on for any delay at the start of the event whether it was due to the organisation or your individual time you crossed the start line. The organisers are strict and the road is blocked if you arrive after the cut-off times.
With any endurance event, assuming that you have done the training then completing it is in the mind. Your mind will give up long before your body does, so you need to make sure you are mentally prepared and don’t have any doubt that you can complete the event.
Your brain can only have one thought at a time, so make sure it is positive. If it is negative, then change it as quickly as possible. For example, think about how lucky you are to be riding on this amazing island.
I have found that not giving your mind the option of a ‘get out’ option works really well. I suggest going into the event with the mindset of “I WILL complete this and I cannot stop until I finish, so the quicker I get it done the quicker I can relax with my well-earned drink of choice”!
More mental tips and advice are included within the Mallorca 312 Academy.
The other component that will let you down on the day is fuelling. Make sure you eat and drink regularly and have a plan on the day. You want to start eating before you are hungry and think little and often. If you are not adequately fuelled, it will not matter how good your training was, you will not be able to finish!
As a basic rule you should be drinking 500-750ml per hour of fluid containing electrolytes. However this is very individual and heat will have an impact on this. Checking your urine is a great way to check your hydration status. For food, you should be looking at around 60-90g of carbs per hour, but this will depend on body weight. This is more than you think when you break it down so it is important to train the gut. More detail will be available in the Event week performance nutrition guide for the Mallorca 312.
I would suggest that you have a plan for the Mallorca 312 feed stations. This is where a lot of time can be wasted and lost.
I would grab what you need and get going straight away.
Coke and gels are great instant energy food but if you are out for a long period then want to include some ‘real’ food also. Many of the feed stations are at the base of Mallorca 312’s climbs so you want to be selective with what you consume at that point. It is important to get the blood to the muscles rather than the gut to digest food.
The Mallorca 312 start location is Playa de Muro, so staying close by can save you a great deal of time in the morning and much easier to ride to the start. If you have to drive then you will need to park on the edge of the resort and ride in.
The Mallorca 312 start time is early, but the start of the event is very busy and you can lose up to 40 minutes if you are at the back so I would suggest you get there at the crack of dawn to secure your place (think 5am). It can be cold at this point so I suggest wearing an extra light layer on your top half to keep warm.
The first 16km of the course is pan flat but very busy so will need to have your wits around you. There will be lots of groups pushing hard to get to the front.
I would suggest not going too hard at this point and going at your own pace. It is a long day so save some of that energy for the first climb!
Pacing yourself for the full 312 distance can be tricky if you are looking to complete the event in 14 hours. It works out at an average speed of 22km/h (14mph) but there are faster and slower sections within the event and of course this does not taken into account and stops!
I go over this in detail within my Ultimate Race Day Guide, by breaking the event into sections between feed stations.
7. Why should people trust you with their Mallorca 312 training?!
Bike fitter and cycling coach
My passion for cycling led me to want to help others to achieve their goals through bike fitting and coaching.
I qualified as a Retul bike fitter in 2013 and extended my knowledge into cycle coaching (British Cycling Level 2 (2015) and Association of British Cycling Coaching ABCC (2020)).
I’m proud to say that my work over the last 10 years has improved the comfort and performance of hundreds of riders (lots of testimonials on Facebook and Google!). My group-coaching programme has educated riders of all abilities with many moving onto my individual coaching services. I am passionate about making riders faster and more efficiently on the bike from whatever level they are starting from.
Mallorca 312 Facebook group
I’ve ridden the Mallorca 312 sportive five times and I have to say it is the most amazing cycling event that I have ever taken part in. 8,000 riders on fully closed roads in Mallorca; what else could you want!
The event has some tough climbs with stunning views but I believe it is achievable with a reasonable level of fitness.
My love of the event saw me set up a Facebook group for riders doing it in 2018. It was an honour to run this group, which grew to 3,000+ people all looking for information about the event. It meant I gained total immersion in the event and all the details from cut-off times, to potentially difficult areas of the course to start line strategy!
Official Mallorca 312 training partner
In 2021 Rider Harder was selected as Mallorca 312’s official training partner.
I am passionate about helping people complete this challenging event. I have a huge amount of knowledge about it and I want to be able to share it with everyone.
The training plans I have developed are specific to completing Mallorca 312. Together with the Mallorca 312 Training Academy, they are designed to inspire and give cyclists confidence to take on the challenge of Mallorca 312 through training, advice and support.
The plans and Academy are built on the methods that I use within the successful Ride Harder Academy, but the Mallorca 312 training programme is event specific. The programme will save you valuable time, energy and stress! It will remove the decision fatigue and many hours of planning what workout to do. It is all laid out for you so you can just get on with the training sessions.
Here are a few testimonials for the Mallorca 312 Training Academy to give you a flavour. You can find more here.
“Purchased the 16-week 312 training plan. Been using your plan for a month now and can already see and feel the difference in my strength and stamina when out on the bike. Added bonus, I’m stronger up hills already and I’ve lost 5lbs in weight. Can’t wait to put all this training into action on 30th April Mallorca 312. Really enjoying the workouts, it’s a different way of training for me, as I used to do hard interval sessions for racing but I feel I’m just as strong building up the endurance. Thank you, James.” Nikki Tout
“The academy from James worked really well it’s a very structured training plan that at times does feel like you are not training hard enough but trust the plan. It does work! One of the real value points of working with James is the nutrition guide and ride plan that’s included that was worth its weight in gold. Stick to the plan use the advice – train hard ride easy!” Ian Stacey, Newbury Velo
“Thanks for everything – I owe a lot to the plans. Of course, I had to get up and put in the work, but the plan was a great forcing device that really worked for me. Thanks, James.” Boris
“James’s knowledge is second to none, and the information the academy provides you with is priceless. From the ultimate race day guide to event nutrition and even travelling with your bike, no stone is left unturned, you really do turn up on the start line feeling you have all the tools in your box to enjoy this amazing event!” Sharon Cook
Do you really need a Mallorca 312 specific training plan?
In the early phases of training, it is less important to have a Mallorca 312 specific training plan, as long as you adopt good general training methods.
As you get closer to the event you want to make your training more specific and simulate the demands that you will be faced on the day. With the length of this event and the varying terrain, I believe there is so much to learn/train to make sure you complete it within the strict cut-offs.
If it’s the first time you’ve completed the event, there’s also a huge amount of practical detail that it’s really helpful to know about (and that’s where the Academy comes in).
8. Tell us more about your Mallorca 312 training plans
The training plan sessions are delivered on the TrainingPeaks platform, through the free basic account. They are all planned out in advance to give you the structure needed, removing that paralysing feeling of decision fatigue. This will allow you the flexibility to complete them at a time that suits you.
How much time have you got?
The three stand alone training plans have been designed based on training time available.
I have called them 167, 225 and 312 which are the three distances that you can complete on the day, however the plans are interchangeable. For example you should still be able to complete the 312 distance using the 167 training plan, you might just not do it as quickly.
Mallorca 312 plan
This plan is for advanced riders who have a good level of fitness. It assumes 10 – 12 hours of training per week with a mix of 1-2 hour indoor turbo sessions and longer weekly rides on Saturday and Sunday (around 2-4 hours each depending on the phase of the plan). Check out the plan here.
Mallorca 225 plan
This plan is designed for both intermediate and advanced riders. It assumes 8 – 10 hours of training per week with a mix of 1-1.5 hour indoor turbo sessions and longer weekly rides on Saturday and Sunday (around 2-3 hours each depending on the phase of the plan). Check out the plan here.
Mallorca 167 plan
This plan is for intermediate and advanced riders and those short on time. It assumes 6 – 8 hours of training per week with a mix of 1 hour indoor turbo sessions and longer weekly rides on Saturday and Sunday (around 2 hours each depending on the phase of the plan). Check out the plan here.
Which plan to use
Training volume will always give you the greatest improvement in performance, providing that you train smart.
You could download the 167 plan and still complete the 312 distance, however if you are able to train more hours then you are likely to complete the event more quickly. This will make it more enjoyable and less stressful worrying about the cutoffs.
However, I would not commit to more hours than you have available. Far better to get all the sessions in and then add a bit of extra rather than not completing all the sessions in the higher volume options.
What you need
The plans are generally based on power for the shorter indoor sessions so you can use a smart trainer if you don’t have a power meter on the bike. The longer road rides can be done using either power or heart rate.
The sessions are totally flexible and can be moved around within the week to suit your work/family schedule.
Giving the “why”
There are so many training plans out there but they all only include the training sessions. In my experience, we cyclists don’t just need training plans, we also need to understand why we are doing what we have been “told” to do.
So I always give the “why”. For example:
9. What is the Mallorca 312 Academy?
In addition to the training plans, you can also opt to join the Mallorca 312 Academy. This will allow you to train in a virtual group environment with others towards the same goal of the Mallorca 312.
Why join the academy (instead of just downloading a plan)?
For me, the real value in the Academy is the community that it creates and that you become part of. We all know someone who has downloaded a training plan and started super keen only to give up after a couple of weeks. This may even be you!
Going through the plan in the community environment (a private Facebook group) will ensure that you stay motivated throughout. It is a great place to ask questions and make friends. With the support of the Ride Harder head coach and the group, you will be held accountable and committed to completing the plan and thus completing the event.
Get your questions answered
The other key advantage of the Academy is that it gives you support with questions you may have along the way. Again I have found if you don’t understand something or it does not work then often you just give up. Within the Academy, you have access to your own coach without committing to full 1:1 coaching.
As well as the training sessions needed to achieve the Mallorca 312, the Academy gives you the knowledge and confidence to take on the challenge.
Within the Mallorca 312 Academy, there will be brand new sessions and extra exclusive content not included in the stand-alone training plans.
For example, members will have exclusive access to a number of helpful online resources such as videos and articles on a variety of event-specific topics such as travel guides, nutritional advice, mental techniques etc.
All advice is provided by experts who have completed the event several times, to help give you the edge. The team includes myself and podium finishers from previous years along with Jason Fligg, a sports performance nutritionist, and Nicky Roger the Mind Coach.
What’s included in the Academy
Academy only opens once a year
The Mallorca 312 Academy is only open to new members once a year. It starts in January, 16 weeks before the event in April. So you don’t want to miss it!
However if you’re new to structured training, you can get warmed up with our Ride Harder Academy that starts in October. It’s a great way to get started ahead of the Mallorca Academy in January. Check out more details here.
You can save money by purchasing both the Ride Harder Academy and Mallorca 312 Academy here. This offer is only available until the Mallorca 312 Academy launches in October.
10. Where can people find more information?
Full details of the Academy and training plans can be found on my website www.rideharder.co.uk/mallorca-312-training-academy along with lots of information and tips for the event.
Also feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, the Mallorca 312 Academy is only open to new members once a year and places are limited! It starts in January, 16 weeks before the event. Don’t miss out!
A big thank you to James for his valuable insights on training for Mallorca 312. If you’d like to find out more, drop him a line!
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