Tips for Training for Longer Distances
- Build up at a steady rate. If you are used to doing 100 miles a week, you could try increase your weekly total by 10-20% a week.
- Don’t feel obliged to do same mileage every week. It is good to have an easier week once a month.
- Make sure you have correct position. Check saddle height and position on bike.
- Listen to body for any niggles. For example, at first sign of knee problems check bike position. Also, you may benefit from some physiotherapy to strengthen different parts of the leg.
- Learn to increase the efficiency of your cycling – but don’t compromise comfort for aerodynamics. It’s not a 10 mile time trial!
- Longer distanced depends primarily on aerobic capacity. Therefore, much of your training will be in your aerobic zone of 65% – 80% max heart rate.
- Threshold training. As well as training at this base level, I also recommend doing some training at your ‘threshold level’ This is the maximum level before you go anaerobic. It is harder work, but will help increase your speed and aerobic capacity.
- Rest is as important as stretching yourself. Give your muscles chance to recover when they need it. Watch out for signs of over-training, it is important to maintain enthusiasm and eagerness for cycling.
- Because of the long hours in the saddle, it is good to find some like minded company to help motivate and enjoy the mileages.
- Core Strength exercises will help give a stronger position on bike. This can be as simple as a few sit-ups to strengthen the lower back.
- Stretching. I definitely recommend stretching every day to retain flexibility.
Potential Problems for Long Distance Cycling
- Saddle Sore – buy best cycle shorts you can. It will get better with more time in the saddle. Use chamois cream and try find most comfortable saddle. See: Dealing with saddle sore
- Knee Injury. See: dealing with knee problems
- Cycling ‘bonk’ – running out of food on ride. See: Mistakes of cycling nutrition.
Diet for Longer Distances
- Energy bars
- Malt loaf
- Protein bars
- Raw food bars.
- Cycling Food
Variety is important. On long rides, it can be hard to eat enough.
An important determinant of endurance riding is that the amount of fuel you can use. A key factor is the rate at which you can utilise glycogen stores in addition to the carbohydrate you can take in. On some two hour rides, try riding at decent tempo without eating anything to the end. This will increase your capacity and efficiency of using glyocogen and will help increase capacity for efficient fuelling.
February has so far been a milder month. With good weather, there have been much less reasons for not going training. I have done about 500 miles in the first two weeks of Feb.
Some Recent rides.
- Sun 13th – 30 slow miles. legs tired after previous day, averaged a lowly 15.6 mph. Felt like headwind all the way around. Drizzle didn’t help. Ride felt harder work compared to previous days 80 miles.
- Sat 12th – 80 miles to Stow on the Wold. Felt good, took it fairly steady. But averaged around 18mph, despite hilly route. Wasn’t pushing it, but one of best rides of year with nice weather.
- Tues 8th – 70 miles to Wycombe. Hardest ride so far, 70 fast miles with some good efforts up the long climbs around
- Sun 6th – 40 miles. Slowish recovery.
- Sat 5th – - 80 miles. Very hard day in strong winds. Cycled into wind to Lambourne. Speed fell to less than 10mph in the biting head wind. Flew home, with tail wind.
Knee sometimes plays up after hard ride. But, have entered first races for end of month.
The aim of February is to work on building a base aerobic fitness and stamina. This will make interval training of later in month more effective. Thankfully weather is being helpful, could be a lot worse for this time of year.
Also, after three month break from intervals am trying to cycle harder on some hills, but nothing too scientific of specific at moment.