Whether you’re taking part in our charity cycle this July or whether you’re simply getting ready for a race, there are certain ways you can prepare for a big cycle. Here are six of our suggestions…
1. Begin training for a long distance
If you’re new to cycling, you’ll need to slowly build up to the distance – at approximately 179km, our route is long! Speed isn’t important, but distance is. Start off riding for 30 minutes, then increase the time each week to what you can manage. Be careful not to do do too much too soon, and as your ride time increases, remember to drink and eat during the ride and immediately afterwards.
2. Watch your diet
Eating healthy is important for the entire training period. Eat plenty of carbohydrates, such as brown rice or pasta, along with a lesser amount of vegetables and meat (or other protein). Eat a high-carb, low-protein breakfast (such as oatmeal or toast and peanut butter) two or three hours before each cycle to give yourself time to digest. Drink plenty of water in the 24 hours before each cycle too.
3. Practice riding in a group
Cycling in a group is different cycling on your own. When riding in a group, always keep your hands in contact with your brakes, either in the drops or on the hoods. That way, you are always prepared to slow. But you’ll only be comfortable with this after cycling in a group, so make sure you go out on a couple of group cycles before the event.
Make sure to rest for one or two days each week. Let your muscles recover – over-intense workouts increase fatigue and wear out your muscles. If you decide to only rest one day, choose a second day for light rides only.
5. Eat and drink well
Hydration is very important. If you’re not taking in enough fluids then fatigue and tiredness will lead to a decrease in performance and the body will be more prone to trauma. Good nutrition also plays a strong role in injury prevention. Stock up with nutrient rich, high energy food and your body will be at optimum strength, helping to protect muscles and bones.
6. Stay motivated
Tell yourself you’ll be able to complete our cycle! Encouraging yourself with a non-first-person pronoun (“You can do it”) is more effective than using first person (“I can do it”).
Overall, make sure you have a realistic plan of what training you want to do each week. Try to keep it different which will keep it interesting. Also be sure to know why you’re doing each session. Finally, try to organise rides with other people – it’ll push you more and having company for longer rides is more fun!