Training tips for Malin to Mizen
This summer brave fundraisers will be cycling the full length of Ireland to raise money to help people affected by depression.
AWARE’s 416-mile Malin to Mizen cycle challenge (www.aware-ni.org/malintomizen) is open to anyone with a basic level of fitness – you don’t have to be an experienced cyclist.
Whether you’ve signed up already or are considering doing so here are some training tips to help you make the most of the experience. A full training guide will be provided to all participants.
KNOW YOUR OWN ABILITIES
Everyone has their own physical and mental abilities, goals and aspirations; therefore, devising your own training programme personal to your needs will be the key to your success.
Getting yourself fit is all part of the challenge. You will be cycling distances averaging 75km a day, over successive days. This will require a degree of endurance, leg strength, aerobic fitness and a tolerance to sit on a bicycle saddle for up to 8 hours a day. You can help to avoid possible aches and pains by slowly building up your fitness. The fitter you are the more you will enjoy the challenge ahead!
FINDING TIME TO TRAIN
If you have a busy lifestyle of work, family and fundraising commitments then draw up a weekly training plan. Be creative in your training and start doing things such as getting up an hour earlier to go for a bike ride, cycling to work or to the shops and going to the gym.
Don’t just cycle to get fit – cross train with other sports e.g. swimming, running and going to the gym, you’ll enjoy training more by breaking it up. Having a good general level of fitness is key, but time in the saddle is vital. Spinning is another excellent way to build endurance and anaerobic fitness – spinning is a high energy, indoor stationary cycling based group fitness program, where the instructor takes participants on a virtual outdoor road race complete with hills, fast flats and downhill’s, valleys, and finish lines.
The secret to preventing injuries and preparing yourself to get the most out of your training is to develop a good, personal mileage base. The best strategy is to let the terrain and how you feel tell you when to make more or less effort. It’s also important to make sure you are well fitted to your bike – a local bike shop or club can help you with this.
Remember the purpose of your training is to help you achieve the trip of a lifetime. The more you put in before you go, the more you will enjoy the challenge whilst you are there. Keep in mind this goal at all times. You can help yourself with this by planning your rides for enjoyment as well as workout – try to ride to places you want to go, rather than simply doing the distance and hours.
BEATING THE WEATHER
It’s all too easy during the winter months to make excuses not to train, but there are lots of fun ways to get fit and avoid the cold weather:
- Spinning is an excellent way to build up cycling fitness on a cold wet day.
- Gym work on the bike will help improve your fitness
- Aerobic classes and swimming are great for overall fitness
- When the sun is shining get your bike out and make the most of it
EATING FOR FITNESS
Your diet will play a key role in your fitness, and it’s something to start thinking about when you start your training. In the initial stages of your training try to reduce your saturated fat intake. As you start to increase the distances cycled, you will need to up your calories. Try to eat one meal a day high in carbohydrate to give you the extra energy you need. Ideal foods include potatoes, bread, pasta and rice. Remember a balanced diet is always best so you get your daily requirement of vitamins and minerals. Include fruit and vegetables as well as meat and fish. The other important thing to note here is fluid intake – it is essential to increase your fluid intake when exercising as you lose a lot.Tags: cycle challenge | Depression | Fundraising | ireland cycle | malin to mizen | Mental Health | Mindfulness