training programme

A - GETTING STARTED

Thank you for signing up to the C2C charity challenge! This training plan will help you to get physically prepared and enable you to complete the challenge safely. Being fit and bike-ready will also make the ride much more fun and enjoyable.

  1. Please have a medical check-up

Before you start on a new training programme, it is always a good idea to consult with your doctor. We recommend you take this training programme along with you, so the doctor knows the level of training you are hoping to carry out.

  1. Be honest with the amount of training time you’re likely to need

All people have different levels of ‘trainability’ and natural potential. Having realistic expectations of yourself will prevent disappointment. Some beginners can make rapid progress and move up through the targets with ease, while others might find training a little more difficult.

  1. The golden rules to effective training
  • Build your fitness and stamina up gradually
  • Rest and recover to enable the training to work
  • Give yourself enough lead up time

The aim is to comfortably ride 35-40 miles per day, which will require a good level of endurance. If you are riding an e-bike the motor will support you by sustaining speed and flattening hills, especially if ridden at full assistance (i.e. Turbo).

To improve your endurance, the training principles remain the same;

  • increase your body's endurance ability (fitness and muscle memory)
  • increase your confidence (fitness and riding confidence)
  • improve your bike handling (be confident on your bike and on the road)
  • increase saddle time (get used to long distances in the saddle)
  1. Basics

Your ability to ride for long distances depends on a number of factors:

Training

To increase your endurance ability you'll need to spend longer periods on your bike than you may be currently comfortable with. By pushing your body further, you will become more energy efficient; your muscles and body will adapt to the new effort and you will become more confident.

Build up & skill base

If you’ve not cycled before, start training on quiet roads and dedicated cycle paths. Start at weekends and build up to evenings, progressing to long distance Sunday rides.

If you are new to mountain biking, we advise you to attend a beginners MTB/EMTB course and start on the Green graded trails at your local biking venues (i.e., Betteshanger & Bedgebury). From here progress to Blue and Red Trails as and when your skills increase. Do not rush this! The C2C off-road and singletracks have been graded as a Red Trail. Red graded trails are suitable for riders with good off-roading skills and techniques on order to cope with variable surface types. Terrain is often steeper and tougher, with technical sections like loose slate, roots, large rocks, medium steps, drop-offs, cambers and water crossings; because of this a higher level of fitness and stamina is required.

Pacing

As you increase the intensity at which you are riding then your energy consumption will increase and your endurance ability will decrease (just like driving a car hard, compared to cruising at a more sedate pace). Therefore it is important that you pace yourself sensibly (see also pacing technique). This is very important when you are riding with other riders, as it is easy to get 'carried away' and ride beyond your own abilities only to suffer later in the day.

Nutrition

Riding your bike requires energy, obviously the longer you ride the more energy you require. If you are increasing your ride time you will need to increase your pre-ride energy intake, if you are riding for longer than an hour then it is advisable to take some energy on board during the ride (see also Nutrition).

Stops

When you begin to increase your riding time you may encounter problems because of lack of energy or discomfort.

  • Introduce a quick stop, or even a number of stops
  • Have a stretch, maybe some food and then when you are ready, off you go again
  • As your ability increases you can reduce the number and length of the stops, until you do not need to stop at all
  • Keep the stops brief, usually no more than 15 minutes, with perhaps one longer break of 30-60 minutes at about half distance

Flat & hills

The more undulating the route, the greater the effort will be. If you are riding an e-bike this effort is greatly reduced, but not eliminated.

  • In the first week of the training, keep to fairly easy roads, footpaths, green graded trails or even gravel fire roads.
  • In the second month, introduce some hills in the route.
  • In the third month, make the route much more hilly
  • Keep the duration of the ride the same, but by adding hills you will be increasing the intensity, increasing your endurance ability.

Destination

By having a ‘bucket list’ challenge, like the C2C Challenge, you will have a purpose for your training. This is a great motivation tool and will help you to tackle the task. Insert mini-challenges into your training programme, i.e., complete the 24mile Viking Trail or complete the full 12mile Blue/Red Bedgebury loop. Pepper these into your programme.

When training for endurance you must be patient and take your time. Your body can adapt very quickly but there is a limit, if you ride too far, too frequently, you can make yourself very tired. As the training will increase the stress on your body, it is important that you only concentrate on increasing endurance at a time when your lifestyle is not adding increased stress on your body (for example, meeting work deadlines or moving house).

Whether you are a novice or a competitive racer you can still use the same weekly guidelines. This is because you are adding percentages and time onto your personal level of endurance. The more often you ride, the greater increase you will be making. Even if you only ride three times a week, you can still improve your endurance but the benefits you will gain in three weeks will be smaller. Key points

  • Set yourself a goal
  • Make sure that your bike and riding equipment is suitable
  • Be realistic and not over ambitious at first
  • Ride at a pace that's comfortable. If you're feeling stressed, slow down!
  • Remember to eat and have something to drink on your ride
  • Have incremental increases to your distances, but remember to include 'easy rides'
  • Allow yourself a rest stop during the ride - but not too many or for too long
  • Ride in varied terrain

Important Note! Listen to your body. As you start and continue your training you will expect to feel slightly fatigued and your muscles may ache after training. Gentle stretching is important after exercise. If any tenderness or discomfort does not go away after rest, consult medical advice. If you experience any sudden pain, tightness in the chest or breathlessness consult medical advice immediately.

Bike Selection

It is really important you have the right size bike and your bike is set-up correctly. Not only will this make for a safer ride, it will add to your overall comfort and offset fatigue. For example, the incorrect saddle height and handlebar reach will create knee and back pain, making training impossible. You will be spending a long period of time on your bike, so it’s important that the bike is reliable and can go the distance. Be sure your bike is regularly serviced and you have suitable tyres for the terrain you are riding. Ask E-Flow Cycles for advice.

Route A of the C2C terrain is suitable for commuter and hybrid bikes, where the off-road Route B is more suitable to hardtail or full suspension mountain bikes. If you are riding an e-bike, be sure your e-bike is serviced and your motor diagnostically checked every 500-1000miles. Most e-bike batteries can reach 60 miles on Eco, so if you intend to ride the full day on Turbo, be sure your battery has this capacity.

Kit Selection

A good helmet is essential, as are gloves and wet weather gear. You can make riding long distances much easier on yourself by using suitable kit. In particular, a good quality, well fitting pair of padded cycling shorts and cycling specific footwear will help – as will a saddle that suits your shape! Please note - helmets, closed shoes and gloves are mandatory for Route A riders. Route B riders will be required to wear suitable off-road shoes, helmet, gloves, knee and elbow protection. Training with these items on will allow for familiarity.

NB – When training always take a spare inner tube, tyre levers, pump, a full water bottle, fully charged mobile phone and spare change every time you go out. Always use bicycle lights and wear bright, reflective clothing in poor visibility.

 

B - THE NUTRITION PLAN

‘Healthy eating’ needn’t be ‘fun free’, we need fat in our diet to remain healthy; we need carbohydrate in our diet and we need fibre too. It’s a question of balance.

Leading up to your bike challenge you should try to follow a healthy balanced diet. The training is very physically demanding, so you will need to increase your calorie intake. Food choices are important when training for any fitness challenge and whether you are looking at your bike challenge as a fun day out or a race against the clock, subtle changes to what you eat and drink will help to improve your performance and help keep you healthy so you can train regularly and also recover afterwards.

Fluid intake is especially important during training. It is vital to drink plenty of water before and after exercise sessions – aim to drink two litres of water per day. Try to reduce your intake of tea, coffee, sugary drinks and alcohol.

Increase your intake of fruit and vegetables high in vitamins A, C and E as they contain anti-oxidants, which help to reduce toxins build up in the body. Eat lots of the following:

  • Non citrus fruits such as strawberries, cherries and pears
  • Brightly coloured vegetables such as peppers, carrots and aubergines
  • Green vegetables, especially broccoli, courgettes and spinach

As always try and stick to the daily recommended intake of at least five fruit and vegetable portions per day. Everybody should try and do this as part of a healthy diet. 80g makes up a portion e.g. one apple, two plums, a glass of fruit juice, two heaped tablespoons of peas or one bowl of salad.

It is important to get enough protein, but you don’t need to overdo it. Try and incorporate one or two servings of fish per week. White fish is a great low fat option and oily fish, like sardines or salmon gives us a good supply of unsaturated omega-3 fats.

Try and get around 60% of your calories from carbohydrates – at least one rice, pasta or potato portion per day should cover this. Think of these foods as fuel – these will give your muscles the energy you need to train.

You will have depleted your energy stores during your training sessions, so try to consume some carbohydrates as soon as possible. This will speed up your recovery and enable your body to rebuild, restock and be ready for your next exercise session. During the 15-minute period following your exercise session, your muscles are very receptive to loading on fuel and can restock at a much faster rate than usual. By refuelling correctly after exercise you will experience less overall fatigue for the remainder of the day. Even if you are not feeling very hungry try a piece of fruit and yoghurt. Within two hours of exercise you should try to eat a balanced meal of complex carbohydrates and low fat protein, for instance chicken with pasta. Go for wholegrain varieties where possible.

There is some sense in ‘loading up’ on carbohydrates the night before your bike challenge as they are slow energy releasers, but try healthier options such as brown rice, wholemeal or wheat free pasta with a light non diary sauce. Don’t eat anything too high in fat or heavy protein or you’ll find it sitting on your stomach in the morning. Drink plenty of water the night before the event. On the morning of the trek get up nice and early and have a light breakfast. Porridge made with water and a little honey would be a good option.

You will also need to experiment with forms of energy to take on board during the ride. There are many different options ranging from pre mixed sports drinks to energy gels and bars. Use a variety on your training sessions and find the one that suits you, and your stomach, the best. You need to also get used to drinking and snacking while riding - most people ‘hit the wall’ because they are simply dehydrated. Work on a steady intake of one litre per hour of cycling.

 

C - THE TRAINING PLAN

Try and follow the following plan as closely as possible. If it looks a little daunting, don’t worry - one of the best things about bike training is that it’s so adaptable.

Cold, dark or icy outside? Beg, borrow or buy a turbo trainer, or set of rollers. You can set up your bike indoors, using the gears to increase and decrease intensity. You can also introduce a block under the front wheel to mimic hill climbs. And you don’t miss out on your favourite TV shows! If you’re more of a gym bunny? No problem - all gyms have bike machines, make sure you get advice to set it for the right intensity. Once you are further into your training introduce hill repeats. Sign up for a spin class too, a great way to train in a fun atmosphere

Worried about your training interfering with normal life at the weekend? The long rides at the weekend are ideal to take friends, family, partner’s out to enjoy the countryside, and get them involved in your challenge too!

So, now’s the time to get started!

NB - E-Flow Cycles does not accept responsibility for any injury, loss or damage to you or your property incurred during participation in this event. Any participant who has concerns about his or her physical condition is advised to consult his/her own doctor before taking part in the event or any training leading up to the event. 

 

D – RUN-UP & 20 WEEK PROGRAMME

People who have not ridden a bike for several years or indeed at all will have to start their training regime as soon as possible. Mileage should be built up gradually to avoid injury and over-exercise, and to establish a good base fitness on which to build the stamina levels you will need on a cycle challenge.

The 20 week sample training programme below shows how you will need to gradually build up the mileage to be able to cycle for up to 8 hours a day on consecutive days! To begin with though, avoid overstretching yourself – don’t ride in a gear that’s too difficult or as fast as you can. Regular training sessions will allow you to develop your speed and adjust to different gears.

From the outset you should attempt to develop your cadence, which is the speed at which your legs rotate (RPM); this will improve your aerobic capacity, meaning that your heart and lungs will grow stronger and be less stressed when cycling or exercising.

To develop your cadence you should select the gear that feels most comfortable when you are cycling on whatever gradient. If you can keep a steady RPM of around 60 - 70 most of the time this would greatly aid the speed at which you become cycling fit, and will increase your strength and stamina which you can then build on.

Before you know it you will find yourself being able to push harder gears while maintaining the same RPM. After you have become comfortable with your cadence and riding position, it will be time to start stepping up the mileage.

The 8 week Run-up Programme is for complete beginners. It allows for a slow build up to the more intensive 5 month Training Programme, when the mileage and training commitment increase week on week. During the Run-up weeks you should focus on bike familiarity, control and confidence. Casual weekend riding and one mid-week ride, will allow you to gradually build stamina (i.e. - e-biker’s can start to slowly reduce the motor assistance) as well as increase your confidence in gear choice and braking. It is important to fit one day of riding in during the week and begin to schedule your training commitments around your work like. It will take a bit of juggling and discipline, but it can be done!

8 Week Run-up Programme – November – December 2016

Weeks 1 – 3:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Rest Day

Rest Day

20 mins

Rest day

Rest Day

30 minutes either day

Weeks 4 – 6:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Rest Day

Rest Day

20 mins

Rest day

Rest Day

30 minutes cycling each day

Weeks 6 – 8:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Rest Day

Rest Day

20 mins

Rest day

Rest Day

1 hour cycling either day

 

20 Week Training Programme - January – May 2017

Weeks 1 – 3:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Rest Day

20 – 30 mins

Rest day

20 – 30 mins

Rest day

1 1⁄2 - 2 hours cycling both days

Weeks 4 – 6:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Cycle 40 mins (8-10 miles)

Rest day

Cycle 40 mins (8-10 miles)

Rest day

Cycle 40 mins (8-10 miles)

Cycle 2 – 2 1⁄2 hours (25 – 30 miles) both days

Weeks 7 – 9:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Rest Day

10 -15 miles

Rest day

10 – 15 miles

Rest day

30 – 40 miles (2 – 2 1⁄2 hours) both days

Weeks 10 – 12:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

10 – 15 miles

Rest day

10 – 15 miles

Rest day

10 – 15 miles

40 – 50 miles

Weeks 13 – 15:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

10 miles

Rest day

15 – 20 miles

Rest day

15 – 20 miles

45 – 60 miles both days

Weeks 16 – 18:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

20 – 25 miles

Rest day

25 – 30 miles

Rest day

20 – 25 miles

50 – 65 miles both days

Weeks 19 & 20:

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

15 miles

Rest day

25 miles

Rest day

25 miles

65 – 75 miles both days

Week before you go!

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

10 miles

5 miles

10 miles

5 miles

Rest day

15 – 20 miles both days

 

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