Manchester to London Challenge 2014 – training advice

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Prior to the main ride, Rapha will be organising two training rides, one in the south and one in the north. These will be open to all registered participants. The southern ride will be in late June, while the northern edition will take place in late July.

This ride will be a challenge but with the correct training it will be a challenge you’ll enjoy and remember for the rest of your life. Below is some general training advice to start you off.

Work on your core strength

Riding for hours and hours places an extraordinary demand on your body. It’s advisable to do some specific core-strengthening work to prepare you for the demands of the event. A strong core will help you to avoid injury and provide you with a stable platform to deliver more power to the pedals. You can start with simple sit-ups at home or develop a more complex programme with the help of a personal trainer at your local gym.

Stay flexible

Closely related to core strength is flexibility. Our flexibility naturally declines with age leading to a greater chance of injury and a loss of efficiency in pedalling. Working on your flexibility will not only benefit your cycling but improve your general posture and help with general niggles, such as a sore lower back and a stiff neck.

Eat properly

Getting your fuelling right will allow you ride faster for longer and help your recovery so you’re ready to go again on your next leg. You should practice your nutrition strategy in training, in the weeks leading up to the event. In this way, you can help to avoid digestion problems associated with using products your body is not accustomed to.

Train in the sweet spot

Training in the zone that coaches call the sweet spot is a time-efficient way of boosting your performance. Less fatiguing than a threshold session but more taxing than an aerobic ride, riding in the sweet spot allows you to train more frequently and gain real results. The sweet spot is defined as either 90% of your threshold power, or 95% of your threshold heart rate.

Give every ride a purpose

With limited time to train, it’s essential to make the most of every minute. It’s easy to go out on the bike with no purpose and ‘waste’ the training opportunity. Have a plan for each session, whether it is a sweet-spot session or recovery ride. Riding with a group can help with motivation but be careful the level of the group isn’t holding you back or pushing you too hard.

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