FEBRUARY TRAINING HINTS

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The weather in the UK has been alternating between icy cold and warm and wet! Fortunately, there have still been times when it has been good to get out on the bike!

Last month we were looking at building up mileages. I expect most people will have done 20 mile rides, and maybe the odd 30 mile or more ride. Maybe it is time to start looking at other aspects, such as climbing and speed, as we extend our distances.

Climbing

How much climbing you have done will depend on where you live! If you ride in the Chilterns or Cotswolds, not to mention Wales or Scotland, you will probably be doing hilly rides as a matter of course! This will not be the case if you live in East Anglia! Wherever you live, it is probably a good idea to do specific training climbs. These will depend on what hills are available, but for example ideally you could climb a 100m hill on the first ride, two 100m hills on the second ride and so on. If you are lucky, there might even be a 200 metre hill to practice on near you! As you go on, you may want to modify the rate of increase of the hills you tackle. There is plenty of time before July!

Speed

Maybe you have creaked out after the Christmas break with 10mph rides? Try riding for short stretches as fast as possible – maybe 100 yards, perhaps racing a passing cyclist – you may be amazed at your improvement, before long riding in the 15mph band, then 15mph -20mph range – or faster!

Improving your riding speed

This may be combined with group riding skills (such as effective slip streaming!) by finding local club ride sat the right speed. If there are enough club rides in your area it will be possible to join rides at increasing speed as time goes by.

Maybe there is a 5 mile or 10 mile route near you? It is worth riding it fast once or twice a week, and recording your average and maximum speeds.

Recording

It is worth recording speeds, distances, and heights gained electronically, or in a note book as you go on. This gives you a good incentive to improve.

Indoor Training

Indoor training in the gym, or on a turbo trainer may be a good alternative if the weather is poor, or after dark.

Recovery

The body repairs itself and becomes stronger during rest periods. The most respected sources suggest three or four training sessions a week is probably about the optimum, with rest days in between sessions ( though this is a bit extreme in a busy life! )

Do find scenic routes which you enjoy riding – and don’t forget the coffee stops!