As we’re sure you’re aware, we’re the official Charity of the Year for the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46, one of the most prestigious cycling challenges in the UK! The 46 is a great starter for those who are new to cycling challenges, but that’s not to say it won’t need to prepare for it. So, whether you’ve signed up to cycle as part of Team Prevent Breast Cancer, or are simply thinking about undertaking a cycling challenge in the future, here’s a few tips to kick-start your training…
Go for longer rides
With a 46-mile ride, endurance is key, so it’s important to slowly build it up. Lengthy cycle rides at a steady, moderate pace – if you can still talk whilst you’re riding, you’re going at a good rate – should be introduced at least once a fortnight to lay the foundations of your training regime. Ideally, these rides should last for a minimum of an hour, but try to do a little more each week.
Mix it up
Once you’ve started to introduce the longer rides into your regimen, it’s time to mix things up! Intersperse them with cycling in short, fast bursts – 10 minutes followed by a rest period, and then repeat. Spinning is also a great way to up your game, as intense cycling will increase your lactate threshold, which is the point where your muscles start hurting. Aim for two faster-paced rides a week.
It may sound obvious, but when you’re exercising, your body will need significantly more fluids than normal. Most of us are guilty of not drinking enough water, so make sure you’re drinking plenty before, during and after your rides. For caffeine addicts, the thought of cutting down on your coffee intake might sound unthinkable, but it will dehydrate you, so be mindful of how much you’re consuming.
Food is fuel, so it’s important to make sure you’re eating the right things. Just before a ride, your meal should consist of complex carbohydrates – as the body breaks these down more slowly – and some protein. Think pasta, pulses, lean meat and vegetables. If you’re cycling early in the morning, porridge or oats make a great breakfast. Although everyone is different, as a rule it’s best to eat two to four hours before jumping on your bike.
Build your strength
Although your main focus should be training on your bike, the fitter you are in general the better prepared you’ll be for race day! Improving your core strength can help reduce your chances of back pain, which is a common side effect of hunching over a bike, so rowing exercises and stretches will improve your flexibility and resilience. Leg exercises such as lunges and squats build leg strength, which is vital for long-distance pedalling.