Training for cycling to Land’s End to John O’Groats is tough on many levels. The hardest part of training is probably fitting it in with day-to-day life – work, family and everything else. When one thing goes wrong or the routine stops, motivation can be lost very quickly.
Training and Build-up
Since January this year I have built-up gradually both the miles and hours of cycling. Initially my lovely friend, amazing triathlete and Iron Woman and trainer Fran Malin, helped me set a plan. She changed my normal swim, run and bike routines to just bike with a bit of run and the odd relaxing swim. I didn’t find the change particularly easy, partly because every week I was running with a great group of friends and it was still too dark to go out in the early mornings and evenings. As the days got longer my biking increased.
My plan has worked on two levels – the distance and the daily grind of forcing myself to be up and out on the bike by about 6-6.30am. It doesn’t always work! Where I can’t get the distance in, I increase the speed to build strength in my legs.
My friend Chrisie has been an incredible support, going out on many of my rides or allowing me to take part in hers. Luckily we are fairly evenly matched on speed and endurance. On some of my early starts it has been her presence that has ensured I do go out. We have experienced a range of drivers on the road – lovely, very rude and those willing to put lives in danger by taking some crazy risks. I won’t rant about who pays for the roads and the car tax no-one pays. Suffice to say that road use is about respect for every user, no-one has more rights.
Mind over Matter
In my training, I’ve met 1-2 metre snow drifts, fallen trees, failed road surfaces, mechanical problems and as a non meat-eater I think I have consumed my share of insect protein. When I heard about people stealing bikes from lone cyclists along country roads my confidence was really knocked. It is mind over matter but it took me several days to build my confidence back up.
Between mid May and mid June I cycled over 680 miles, completed 4 spin classes as well as 2 sessions on a turbo trainer. That amount of cycling alone at my height and weight claims to have burned 34, 017 calories. I have an average weekly ride of about 162 miles. That’s a lot of chips! But put this into perspective I’ll be cycling 950 miles in 13 days!
The training continues and I have now started to go out with my packed panniers but that is another story. In the mean, time if you can spare a few pennies to keep me going I will say thank you!