We've given our Around the Bay Challenge team only 10 weeks to prepare for the big event. They've got their bike and kit, and now they've got their Training Plan. If you're not a professional athlete who gets paid to stay fit, it can be hard to fit in training around family and work.
It's all about setting a goal, finding a balance and making time. We've got 5 training tips for a 250km ride like Around the Bay.
1. Already have some kilometres in the legs
If you’ve just started cycling or have never sat on a bike before, maybe don’t sign up for 250km - this isn’t a beginners distance. But that’s the great thing about Around the Bay, there’s a distance for every experience level.
Don’t know which way is up on a bike? Sign up for the 50km distance and get started with our training tips for beginners.
Or if you’re a bit of a bike commuter, but this is your first big event, then the 160km is for you. Our sponsored rider Nick takes you through his training tips here.
The big 250km is better suited to people who cycle regularly throughout the year and can easily knock over 80kms - 100kms the weekend. Building up to a big ride takes time, but if you’ve got some experience under your belt then with proper training it’s definitely achievable!
2. Plan, plan and plan some more!
When you sign up for Around the Bay, they provide an excellent training guide for you to follow. If your particular event doesn't provide a guide there are plenty of good ones from reputable sources that are only a Google search away - like this one here. The plan provided for Around the Bay participants lays out exactly when you should ride, how hard and when to take a break. But everyone's commitments are different.
To work out how the training plan is going fit into your life you'll need to do a little planning. Draw up a calendar with all the weeks leading up to the ride. Mark down when you work, when you have family commitments and when you have special events. Now compare this to your training plan. Where can you fit in your rides? The training guide isn't set in stone, so make it work for you - just make sure you follow the plan as closely as you can and you hit the weekly KMs target without doubling sessions.
3. Don’t just cycle - mix up your training
250km is a big distance so you’ll need to build up some endurance. While cycling longer will help, alternating your training with strength exercises will increase muscle tone and density, thus increasing muscle endurance. Focus on leg exercises like squats, lunges and step-ups. Use free weights like dumbbells or kettlebells to increase resistance.
Start off with a lighter weight and increase it each week. A strong core will also help you get through this endurance-testing ride. Whole body exercises like pushups and planks will help build core strength and maybe even some rock-hard abs in the process.
4. Recovery is just as important as working out
Skipping the post-ride stretch or not taking your rest days and recovery weeks seriously is the quickest path to injury and muscle fatigue. Don’t overtrain and don’t over exert yourself, or come ride day you won’t even make it to the start line thanks to a pulled muscle or thrown back. There are some great stretching circuits out there specially designed for cyclists, like this one inspired by pilates.
5. Make sure your butt is comfy
You’re tush is going to be in that saddle for the good part of an entire day - remember 250km is a long way.. It’s imperative you have a comfortable bike that is correctly fitted to your height and riding style. Pop into your local Reid store to test ride our road bikes or check the size guide when buying online. Size and fit are crucial to rider comfort, especially over longer distances.
Paul's Training Plan
Our 250km rider Paul is excited to get stuck into his training. He completed the 210 km last year, but lost motivation after the event - so training of any kind has been on the back-burner. He's excited to have a new plan and a new goal to motivate him. Read on to find out how Paul will balance his training with work and family commitments.
As soon as I got the call from Reid Cycles that I had been selected as a sponsored rider, and it started sinking in what I was committing to, I began researching what training would be required to build up to being able to complete a 250km ride in one day. As luck would have it, my previous weeks riding fitted in quite nicely with the suggested distances for first few weeks training. So my initial shock (and fears!) at the prospect of what training would be needed to do, soon turned to “Hey I can do this - I’ve already started!”
My plan is to continue to follow the training program supplied by Reid Cycles as closely as possible. My son is doing Year 12 VCE PE, and he is coincidentally doing a module looking at a 12 week training program. This has led to some interesting discussions about diet, loading and taper weeks as outlined in the plan. This is now the centrepiece on our fridge.
I feel lucky that my commute to work by bike is 36 km which matches my planned weekday ride distances of 30 km quite nicely - but the longer weekend rides may be a challenge to squeeze in around family life. Watch this space for updates on how I go with that. Some weeks call for totals of up to 340 km, which seems quite daunting. Week by week I have options if the weather is bad. I can access my local gym for cross training (been once so far...),or I can use rollers for indoor training (twice so far...).
To anyone scared of rollers - don’t be - if I can do it anyone can! My second attempt on the rollers was with cleats clipped in, it just takes a bit of faith to get your speed up and you're away (maybe don’t do it early on watching the footy, yelling at the TV - this may cause some swerving). It’s a pity that Strava shows 0 kms doing this! I am already starting to be careful with my diet and I am hoping that the volume of training will help with both my weight and aerobic fitness - I really must look up what my ideal weight/BMI is...
Inspired? Want to get involved but don't know where to start? Check out our Around the Bay Challenge 2016.