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**How To

Tune up for the ton up

We’ve had a load of requests about getting ready for the re-scheduled late summer endurance events such as the Schwinn 100 and Newnham 90. Here’s our first installment of your preparation primer.

If you’re already going out on weekend or day rides it is highly likely that you will have the fitness to be able to complete the Scwhinn 100 right now, but your confidence and recovery will be better the fitter you are.

Like any big job, getting fitter for the Schwinn 100 should be done in stages. Firstly, at no point during your training do you actually need to ride 100k, which should come as a relief to most.

Secondly, find a route you enjoy which should take between three to four hours to complete at 70% of your maximum effort. If you have a favourite weekend or day ride, that will probably be ideal. Timing your route does not mean you have to treat the Schwinn / Newnham as a race, this time is just to be used as a bench mark so that you can see an increase in your fitness when you redo the same route every three weeks or so. As the time it takes decreases, this will have the effect of remotivating you and also sets you a short term target. It’s all too easy to let work or other commitments get in the way of your training if you think you have plenty of time, such as 12 weeks, whereas a three week target doesn’t give you the leniency of thinking you can catch up next week!

One of the most beneficial ways to become fitter is to train aerobically. When you ride the S100 you will be in an aerobic state most of the time (your body is using oxygen to burn with glycogen fuel supplied to your muscles). The greater the effort you can work at whilst remaining within the aerobic state (known as the aerobic threshold) the more comfortable you will be. You will be less likely to go into an anaerobic state (Where your body burns more glycogen muscle fuel than it has oxygen to mix with) which is far less efficient and highly uncomfortable. The trick to strengthening your aerobic power and speed is by working just below your anaerobic threshold.

We’ve been slightly presumptuous here and put in heart rate values for using with a monitor. If you’re serious about training they make a lot of sense, and can now be had for as little as £40. Do your body a favour and buy one, they’ll make you much faster than any £40 component you can buy.

The following training plan is based on two training sessions a week and one longer ride at the weekend. If you want information about more or less strenuous plans let us know and we’ll get on the case straight away.

Monday/Tuesday: 3×15-20 minutes @80-85% maxheart rate with 8 minutes active recovery (120-140bpm)

Start the stop watch from the moment you begin to work harder, NOT when your heart rate reaches the desired heart rate zone.

Wednesday/Thursday: 2-3 hours @ 70-80%max heart rate. If this is your normal midweek group ride, keep trundling round when everyone stops but don’t go chasing down sprints or blowing a gasket on technical climbs or you’ll throw your heartrate all over the place.

Saturday/Sunday: longer weekend ride @ a much lower inyensity of 60-70%.

Every third or fourth week have a go at your timed route and see how your times compare. Take into account things like the weather and other external factors such as stress from work/relationship, diet – including hydration, sleep… diet and sleep are essential fOr increasing fitness. Don’t forget, when you train you are causing damage to your body so that it will repair (recover) to a more efficient state. If the repairing process is hindered, your increase in fitness will be hindered.

Make sure you always have a rest day between workouts to help the recovery process and to be sure you’re not training an already tired body.

Four weeks before the day of the event introduce 5x5miutes @85% MAX HR with five minutes rest in between instead of the 3×20 [email protected]%. This will add short burst power to drag you up the technical bits.

For the really keen, introduce flat out sprints in the last month. 5 x 30 seconds MAX 30 Recovery, five minutes active recovery and then another 5 x 30 second set. Finish with a very steady 120bpm recovery ride home for 20-30 minutes. The ability to be able to do these in a race situation is essential, but they are also good for the extra power to help clear that nasty little hill and recover easily and quickly.

Above all remember to have fun when you’re riding and don’t become too much of a training slave. Otherwise you’ll be so cheesed off with riding you won’t even bother to turn up for the event you’ve worked so hard for!

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