Cycle Training Tips
Once you've registered for your chosen Cycle Challenge, it is recommended that you start training as soon as possible for the event. You will enjoy the challenge much more on the day if you put in the effort now with the training.
In some ways the hardest thing is getting started but, to paraphrase Confucius, the event is really just a collection of pedal revolutions (as opposed to steps) and so the first thing is to get out and ride – not for any set distance or time but just for enjoyment.
Maybe pick a cafe or place to visit and head there. You will be spending quite a bit of time on your bike over the next few weeks and you need to get used to it.
No matter how unfit you think you are, every time you go out on a training ride you help yourself prepare and get used to being on the bike. The important lesson to learn is not to try to push yourself too much in the beginning.
Before starting on any journey of this scale, whether it be the Liverpool Chester Liverpool Bike Ride or any other event, it will be worth visiting your local shop, not just to have your bike checked but to get your saddle set a right height for yourself.
Basically it should be at such a height that when you are sat on it, having the pedals vertical (ie left and right one in a vertical alignment), when you place your heel on the lower pedal your leg should be straight. This will mean that when you pedal, with the ball of your foot on the pedal, your leg will only be slightly bent when this pedal is at the bottom.
The training program that is right for you will depend on your level of fitness and experience, along with time availability and other activities you may be doing. There is no point copying a detailed training schedule if it does not fit with your lifestyle. There are plenty of these about on cycling forums and magazines but you are best adapting to suit your unique life.
The British Cycling website in particular has a full set of weekly schedules you could download and follow, to view, CLICK HERE.
One important thing though is to try to get into the cycling habit. This doesn’t mean day in day out but try to ride your bike at least twice a week and ideally 4 times (if you are not doing other activities). This can be incorporated into your daily routine such as riding to work. Time on the saddle is key – not just getting you fitter but used to sitting on the saddle for long stretches.
If you already do a lot of fitness activities then you will find that as you get used to being on the bike you are likely to soon be able to ride reasonable distances.
After that then you should look to build up your training steadily, just by small increases at first. You want to try to avoid making the training a chore so go riding with friends for example and vary the routes.
Your chosen cycle challenge is bound to involve hills somewhere and maybe some pretty long and steep ones too, to make sure your prepared for whatever the route throws at you, we recommend including some hills on your regular training rides.
They do not have to be identical to the ones you will face on your challenge but sufficient for you to get used to selecting the right gear, riding at a suitable cadence, pacing and trying to maintain a steady rhythm.
It’s also a great idea to vary your training why not change your route and take in some different scenery, do some circuit training or even go for a run or spinning class. If you vary your training you will improve your all over muscle and fitness.
Fitting in training
It is often challenging to fit training in to a busy work schedule. Here are some tips to help you organise your time and keep on track for achieving your target.
Plan your week ahead so that you know when you will be training.
Get up earlier to give yourself some extra time to fit in the training.
Cycle to work/shops/friends – anywhere you can!
Try different sporting activities within your training to help keep you motivated.
Recovery after your ride
Another key point is to allow recovery time in your training plan. Recovery time is important as it allows the body to absorb all of the training you have done.
Diet and Nutrition
Fueling your body is very important to maximise energy levels. Eat high carbohydrate foods a couple of hours before riding. Sustain your energy levels whilst riding by eating and drinking often as you ride. Energy drinks are a good way to keep your body fuelled.
Before any training it is important to spend 10 minutes warming up and stretching to avoid injury.
If you are training with a group and in preparation for your cycle challenge event a few ‘rules’ to be aware of are listed for your information below:
If you are leading the group that you are riding with you MUST be aware that you have a certain responsibility for the cyclists behind you. You must make them aware of everything that you are doing, such as shouting ‘Stopping’ when you a braking, but remember to not stop suddenly-easy does it!
When you are preparing to tackle a hill, the most common new-rider mistake is “drop kicking” the person behind when standing to climb. This occurs because when you naturally transfer your weight as you stand, causing your bike to slow down. The rider behind then hits your rear wheel, with a painful result. To avoid this, move up to the next higher gear before standing to compensate for loss of speed and maintain pressure on the pedals so that your bike doesn’t move “backwards” towards the rider behind. This sit/stand transition takes practice but soon becomes second nature. Concentrate on eliminating any freewheeling as you stand. You should always feel resistance through the pedals.
When you are ‘following’ a rider NEVER over lap your wheels. You need to stay a comfortable distance away from the wheel in front. You also need to train yourself not to get mesmerized by the wheel in front, learn to look through the rider / wheel.
If you keep your sense about you, and do enough training you will get great satisfaction out of completing your endurance challenge event.
Other useful cycling links
Happy Training !