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Training Tips for a Multi Day Cycling Tour

  • Training and Fitness
Training Tips for a Multi Day Cycling Tour

With multi-day cycling tours gaining popularity in the country- be it an organized cycling tour, a multi-day challenging race or a self-planned getaway on your saddle, it is important to be physically prepared for the road ahead. Your training would ideally depend on a few factors such as your existing level of fitness, the kind of tour you are training for, duration of the tour etc. Read on for the basics of training tips for a multi-day cycling tour.

IDENTIFICATION AND PLANNING

To begin with, you will need to assess your current level of fitness and endurance, based on which you will need to train for your upcoming tour. Furthermore, identifying the difficulty level of the upcoming tour will play a role in your training. Thus, an important starting step would be to plan your training based on the difficulty of the tour. A few helpful points to ask yourself to understand your level of fitness, and the training required for your tour -

  • How many days is the tour?
  • What’s the longest block of continuous riding(back-to-back days)?
  • What’s the distance covered/expected duration of each day?
  • What’s the typical temperature range on your ride?
  • What is the terrain like? Is there an elevation profile available?
  • How many days do you currently ride (back-to-back)?
  • What is the distance you are comfortable riding, regularly?
  • How often (And far) do you ride, on average?
  • The answers to these questions will help you determine your training requirements, based on your current fitness level.

    Training Tips for a Multi Day Cycling Tour-1
    Training Tips for a Multi Day Cycling Tour-2

    CONSISTENCY IS KEY

    Whatever the details of your upcoming tour may be, an important factor of preparing for it is to be consistent with your training. Make sure to start your planning in advance, thus allowing you ample time for consistent training. Time management and consistency go hand in hand- schedule your training in advance. If you are crunched for time, focus on training at a higher intensity for a shorter period of time. Alternatively, when you have time, focus on those long distance rides with a balance of intensity and distance/duration.

    PRACTISE - HYDRATION AND FUEL

    The stomach is a muscle that can be trained. When it comes to multi-day tours, you need to adopt a forward thinking view, when it comes to nutrition and hydration, as you are also eating to fuel the upcoming days. Inefficient fuelling on any one day of the tour could have you running out of energy and stripping your body’s energy stores to an extent where you might not be able to replenish them overnight. In such an instance there maybe an impact on your performance on subsequent days. The same applies if you allow yourself to become dehydrated. Thus, it is important to practice your fuelling and hydration on your training rides. Ideally, you should aim to finish rides feeling slightly hungry but not ravenous and never allow yourself to have a sugar crash.

    TRAINING PROGRAM- AREAS OF FOCUS

    Create a training program that allows you to build your base foundation for a minimum of 5 to 10 weeks. Add 10% to your weekly mileage and include one long endurance ride per week.

    Once your base is established, add specific skills, drills and interval work 2-3 times per week to improve your speed, endurance, strength and power on the bike.

    To be a good hill and mountain climber, practice climbing on hills or mountains around you. Sometimes, even with a high level of fitness climbing could prove to be a challenge without adequate training as the pain and suffering from untrained legs (on climbs) could cause muscle fatigue and cramping, and could prompt you to stop and hang up the bike. Thus, to avoid this, be sure that hill training is part of your training program 1-2 times per week so you can learn to climb skillfully and efficiently.

    And finally, include rest days. Everyone needs rest days where you are completely off the bike!

    Training Tips for a Multi Day Cycling Tour-3
    Training Tips for a Multi Day Cycling Tour-4

    GET A RECOVERY ROUTINE

    Practice makes perfect - even when it comes to recovery. A recovery routine is as important (if not more) than the day’s ride itself. Improper recovery techniques could hamper the next day’s ride, especially if your muscles are sore and your body isn’t well rested. So, no matter how tired you feel, have a recovery drink right after you’re done with your ride, get clean and dressed, work through your mobilization routine (cooling down and proper stretching routines) ... and, if possible, have a massage (or massage out your body with a roll-on massager). A recovery routine should be the utmost priority on finishing riding.

    AND FINALLY, TAPER!

    As you inch closer to your cycling tour, you may feel the need to get in as many training rides as possible - to keep your body going. Don’t. The week or two before your multi-day cycling tour is referred to as the tapering period, where it is recommended to reduce the overall training volume (which helps shed residual fatigue), while maintaining your training intensity (to maintain fitness).

    Conclusion

    Given that there are several kinds of multi-day tours out there, these are a few important guidelines to help you prepare for your multi-day tour. It is important to plan ahead based on your personal strengths and improve/ focus on the specific areas that you feel need work. In addition to this, if you are planning a multi-day tour that is self-supported without any additional support, you will need to practice riding with the additional weight of your baggage.

    Preparing for a multi-day tour can be a lot of hard work, scary at times too. Don’t let the ‘perceived magnitude’ of the pre-tour preparation get your spirits down. Keep up with your training and work on your fitness, taking each day as it comes and you will be at the finish line of your tour without even realizing it! So, stay focused, be prepared and Happy Cycling!

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