Preparing for Your Road Cycling Holiday
Being prepared for the physical challenge of a cycling holiday requires a commitment. While it is a holiday, stuff a training regimen that aims to build stamina and strength will ensure that you enjoy the ride and all the sights, sounds, and special moments along the way.
Develop a Training Regimen
Start training in a way that makes sense. You want to build up strength and stamina over time in a way that keeps you making progress and staying motivated. Start your regimen small and build up gradually until your workouts rival the rides on your cycling holiday.
Use a Bike Trainer or Rollers
Investing in a trainer or rollers is a great way to train on your bike when you’re pressed for time, like most who work a 40 hour week. It can be hard to find the time to go out for a challenging ride after work, but it’s hard to argue against hopping on the trainer for a time-efficient workout.
Don’t fall into the trainer trap however, where many riders turn on the TV or some music and peddle mindlessly. In order to make the best of the trainer, really push yourself for a specific amount of time or try interval training.
Many top athletes dabble in cross-training to some extent when preparing for a big event. Cross-training helps to mitigate the fatigue in both body and mind that comes about when performing the same activity for months on end. It also helps build dynamic muscle strength that is highly beneficial for specialized athletes and has been found to improve muscle recovery.
Depending on what other forms of exercise are available to you, cross-training could include other sports, endurance training, or even weight-training.
Don’t let the Weather Stop You
Physical fitness often takes a predictable downturn during the winter months. Especially for riders who’ve booked a Christmas or New Year getaway, it’s important not to let gloomy, cold weather impact your training schedule.
Keep yourself motivated to continue training, whether it’s finding riding buddies to hold you accountable for your rides, or investing in some specialized cold weather gear. If the weather conditions prove too dangerous for riding, take your workout inside on the trainer or rollers.
Don’t Let the Terrain Hold You Back
A cycling holiday is likely to be rewarding and challenging, full of downhill and uphill in equal measure! If the terrain where you live is mostly flat, you’ll need to work harder in order to prepare for the climbs ahead. Like on the trainer, interval training helps to develop stamina, and you can also switch to riding in a high gear to build strength.
Pay Attention to Your Diet
Many people have a tendency to eat more unhealthy food when they begin exercising more than normal. This is the body’s natural response to increased fat burn- it demands more calories! It’s important not to indulge too frequently, as high calorie, high fat food like junk food has negative impacts on your total health and can even reverse gains you make while training.
While it’s fine to eat more, make sure you’re getting a balanced, nutritious diet that will fuel your body and give you sustainable, long-lasting energy to support and enhance your training regimen.
Recreate Your Holiday Conditions
Nothing can prepare you for miles on the bike… like miles on the bike. Build up your cycling stamina by going out for long rides that aim for a mileage similar to what you’ll do on a day of your cycling tour. This will not only give you an idea of where you stand in terms of physical preparedness, but will also expose you to other issues you may not experience in regular training, like soreness on points of contact with the bike on the hands, seat, etc.
The more experience you have in dealing with symptoms of a long day’s ride, the more prepared you’ll be to take in all in stride when you’re out on tour.
Enjoy the Ride
While you need to develop stamina and increase strength, remember what you’re working towards! A cycling holiday is going to be filled with more than just cycling- an amazing destination, cultural encounters, stunning views, delicious new cuisine, and so much more. Ultimately your training regimen is about more than getting in shape, it’s about getting the most out of the cycling trip of a lifetime!