Having fairly recently taken up racing,I'm already getting fed up with coming in the back half of all my most recent outings. And that's on a good day - I've managed one dead last. So it's time something was done - you guessed it, training!

As a student, I don't have much time to train around all the studying, drinking and general studenting around. But I reckon that if I sort out a routine around my free time I may just be able to realise my hope of getting on that small Southern XC podium, up there with the gods... Well, perhaps not. But you've got to have a goal.

Me, as I am now. I'm currently twelve and a half stone and have a bit of a gut on me, but not much. I really dislike hill climbs, but I'm the sort of person who leaves their fork unlocked on the ups, then locks it out on the downs. I love riding, so that's a pretty major bonus! Running, oh running... I wish I could, but it's just so tiring - I think I've got myself another target here. Say 5 miles before dying? Done.

Without even thinking about all this training malarkey, I cycle to college Monday to Friday, which is five miles each way. In the mornings, I try not to push myself, as who wants to sit next to the sweaty kid? But in the afternoons I love to just race myself and my MP3 player. The commute is sometimes done on the mountain bike, but when it's not being borrowed, I give the singlespeed a decent workout. And don't think I'm all rich with all these bikes, the singlespeed cost me twenty quid and rides like it too - perfect for training then.

*Opens new bag of crisps*

Well, that's a bad start right there, albeit a tasty one. Eating better is definitely a first step. I shall somehow have to stop myself when it comes to doughnuts. Several a day can't be healthy for anyone, but someone trying to get fit? Shame on me.

So how am I going to acheive my goal? Simple, I hope. I asked on the Bikemagic forum about advice on how to get to my target. The advice sounds painful, but fair. Thanks to John for the following:

"Get a good endurance base in and then start working on speed. Build up volume gradually until your body can happily cope with, say, 20 hours a week of aerobic exercise and then bump the thread and we'll suggest routines to improve your speed (which will improve anyway as you up the volume). Have at least one rest day a week and a lighter week every third week. You need to lose a bit of weight too but that should come off easily once you get beyond 15 hours a week. Swimming and running add variety."

That sounds to me like "Get out and ride!"

I'm writing this on a Sunday night. I'm on about five hours per week minimum at the moment. Doubling what I'm doing at the moment should be easily doable as I don't exert myself, and I feel capable of it all. I finish tomorrow at about 5pm, so I reckon an evening road ride should start me off nicely. When I get a good routine going, I'm hoping this should become slightly easier (with the emphasis on "hoping").

I shall keep you all updated on my little experiment, When (not if) I get my podium finish, you'll know whether what I'm doing actually works. Feel free to give it a go as well if you're feeling the same as me. And if you want to aim for your own goal, just make yourself known in the forum - it should be interesting to see how others are holding up.

Until then - let the games begin!