Training tips for a long-distance ride

One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated and indulge in riding is to set yourself a goal, and one of the simplest ways is to target a charity cycling event. Not only will you feel motivated due to the rewards we expect from Allah Subhanahu wa ta’ala you’ll also train that much harder due to the fact you’ll have started fundraising.
Depending on your fitness level, it can be anything from 30 up to 100 miles – anything that you realistically believe you can achieve in shaa Allah.

One thing’s for certain, with charity cycle rides – you need to train, and train in the right way. Below are a list of guidelines to follow that will in shaa Allah help you in your quest to conquer your first big event.

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Make sure to carry enough food with you on long rides.

Sign up for a challenge!

First off, choose your event. Be realistic: if you took up cycling only a couple of months ago, don’t enter a monster slog like London to Paris – it has been done, but it’s very rare. Once you’ve signed up to an event – renew your intention and remain focused.

Get a few long rides in

We all miss occasional planned rides, but even if you can’t do high mileage outings all the time, don’t miss the long rides at the heart of your training – they’re vital. Bad weather? Go out anyway; you could get bad weather on event day.

Long rides are when your body gets used to handling the demands you face on the big day; they help you learn to draw on your fuel reserves more efficiently, and they get your head prepared for long, gruelling efforts.

Muscle power

Lactic acid is produced when your body breaks down carbohydrate for fuel, resulting in lactate in your blood that affects your muscle performance.

All you really need to know is that the point at which lactate starts to accumulate faster than you can disperse it is your lactate threshold (LT), and raising it helps you ride faster for longer.

Working on your power is important too, both for increasing the amount of force you can put into every pedal stroke and also for increasing endurance.

Take breaks

You don’t get fitter when you’re riding, you get fitter when you recover afterwards, which is why you need to have at least one day without exercise every week, or more if you over-stretch yourself, plus an easy week each month.

Drink enough water

This is one of the main reasons why a lot of new riders struggle on rides. They don’t drink enough water. Be sure to sip water every 10-15 minutes. STAY HYDRATED!

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Dates are an excellent source of carbs on a ride.

Become fuel efficient

You need to drink when you ride to replace the water you sweat and breathe out, but for longer training rides and during the event itself you must use drinks to help provide fuel. Suffering ‘bonk’ – when your body can’t get the energy it needs and refuses to cooperate any further – is bad news.

For both training and the big ride, try a drink that has carbohydrates in it. This is an isotonic level, meaning the drink contains the same concentration of dissolved particles as your body fluids, so will be absorbed fast.

 

The only way to find out what’s right for you is by experimenting in training. Choose a drink that also contains electrolytes, particularly sodium. This speeds up the delivery of fluid to your body, so it’s especially important on longer rides.

Finally, it’s key to go for a drink that you really enjoy the taste of – that way you’re far more likely to drink enough. Drink plenty before you go out on your bike so that you start off fully hydrated, and continue drinking afterwards – a little and often – to aid recovery. If you’ve trained for over an hour, make it a carb drink. Don’t wait until you feel really thirsty – that’s a bad gauge of need.

You should consume at least 1g of carbohydrate per kilogram of bodyweight for every hour of riding. This can be in the form of carb-electrolyte drinks, gels, bars, solid food, or a mix of these, a lot of brothers find Medjoul dates very beneficial.. But your needs could be different from the norm so it’s important to experiment in training.

That way you’ll be able to tell exactly what you can tolerate and what you need with you on the day.

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But don’t stuff yourself neither!

Avoid injury

When you step up the amount of riding you do you’ll be adding stresses and strains on your body. You might be tempted to ignore niggles in order to stick with the programme. Don’t! Riding through the pain is a great way to make minor problems major.

If you get injured, take it seriously. Take some time off the bike or do some cross-training, and if it’s a biomechanical problem have your riding position looked at by an expert. If necessary, visit a health professional. Whatever you do, don’t ignore a potential injury when it’s still in the niggle stage.

Pace yourself

Pacing is crucial in training and on the big day. The main trick is to climb at an intensity that won’t blow your legs. This comes with experience, but if you’ve trained by heart rate monitor (HR) you should have an idea of what you can sustain.

If you don’t know how hard you should be working, don’t go over 85 per cent of your max HR on even the steepest hills or you’ll dip too far into your glycogen stores. You have limited glycogen and can never eat enough to make up for going too hard too soon. Pace yourself, feed regularly and enjoy the ride.

REMEMBER: IF YOU DON’T TRAIN. YOU WON’T ENJOY IT!