This ride will be a challenge but with the correct training you’ll enjoy and remember it for the rest of your life. The good news is that you do not have to have ridden 220 miles before the event, if you can confidently complete 140 to 150 miles in a day, then the additional distance should be manageable. 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.
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.
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.
Each of you will have an understanding of your own body and how it responds to exercise, most important thing is listening to your body. This is a basic guide but you will need to adjust it to your own needs.
Firstly, don’t panic if you’ve never ridden that far before, there is plenty of time to train, especially as the days grow longer. The simple way to increase your mileage is to use the 10% rule. Don’t suddenly leap out and do a massive ride if you’re not used to it. You’ll only set yourself back.
One of the most important things for distance riding is time on the bike, 220 is a long day out, even if you’re used to long rides. Get used to your bike, get the set up right for you, you may wish to have the bike set a little more for comfort with wider tyres and a less aero position. Experiment with what works for you.
Make sure you recover well, the body responds better if it is well rested.
Don’t worry too much about what other people are doing, we’re all different. Do what works for you. If you don’t have as much time for longer riders then try to get as many shorter rides in as you can. Sneak in a few extra commutes where possible.
And remember, we’re here to help you achieve your goal. If you need to ask, then do, it’s what we’re here for.
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