Training around real life

phase3uk Posts: 12
edited October 2008 in Road beginners
Having been a MTBer on and off since 1989, and a break of about two years on my fitness, I've gone mad and decided to sign up for a sponsored "road" ride across the Alps next Septemeber for the wonderful people at Macmillan Cancer Support. This is a charity close to my heart so I know that whatever pain I go through to achieve completing this challenge will benefit people with much more life "challenges" than me getting fit!

So here's the bad bits first; no fitness training for at least 2 years, never ridden "road" before, am married (not a bad thing but means I have family time commitments, but no kids) and a full time job.

The good bits; have managed to get myself a grand's worth of 105 spec road bike (good persuading on my part to my wife as I already have a carbon fibre Trek MTB so if you need any help with "why do you need another bike" questions then I'm your man!), got some R151 shoes and new clipless SPD pedals and hopefully my local gym will give me reduced fees to use the facilities to help towards my goals.

Right so my question is how do I combine the good and bad parts?! Answers on a postcard..... Any advice, no matter how small, would be appreciated.
Currently riding a Airborne Valkyrie


  • kingrollo
    kingrollo Posts: 3,198
    Ive been cycling for over 20 years - and the biggest thing this year - is with the petrol prices I started to commute every day to work - this is only 11 miles per day - but it has made hell of a difference - my mate who regulary used to give me a pasting over the hills - is now blowing on my wheel !

    not a great to start though - as they do daylight 'saving' until march ?
  • LeighB
    LeighB Posts: 326
    I have to juggle training with wife, children and work. In the week I try to do two rides of about one and a half hours and at the weekend I do longer rides in the mornings. I enjoy the early mornings at the weekend as the roads are quiet and it leaves me the rest of the day for the family. If you are doing a long ride over hills (Alps) try to ride on hills when training and if possible do a couple of rides that are at least two thirds the distance of your event. Do not ride every day make sure you have a rest day so you can recover.
  • Al_38
    Al_38 Posts: 277
    Is it organised by macmillan, or a ride that you are going to do personally sponsored for macmillan? If the former then I would imagine it to be a fair bit easier and there might also be advice available from people who have done previous rides with them.

    Okay, first things first, don't go mental and try and do too much too quickly depending on your fitness levels you should start at a level that you find challenging on a weekly basis but not one where you are so tired you can't live your life / get injured / ill. There is a rule of thumb that you shouldn't increase distance or intensity by more than 10% week to week.

    Ultimately it is the base aerobic fitness that you will need to complete the ride, so I would suggest doing as much as you can on the bikes. Ride to work if possible, ideally this would be something like an hour long route (clearly this is much nicer if there are showers at work) (or if you wanted you could use a turbo trainer). Go for a ride each weekend if possible / run / swim etc. Aerobic sessions should ideally be 1hour+ long - depnds on activity, but you only get aerobic benefit from the latter stages of the session.
    Make sure you take a complete day off at some point too (each week) - rest days are at least as important as the training itself.
    If you are using the gym the they should be able to sort out a few programmes for you in there, I would suggest doing some form of weight training (depends on your body type / shape as to what would be of most benefit and this will change too). If they do spin cycling classes, personally I think these are really quite good and you will notice the difference up hills fairly quickly from them.
    I am also a big fan of core stability work - while not crucial for cycling I believe that the increased strength of your back and core areas greatly increases ride comfort. Finally make sure you stretch after every session you do (holding static stretches for about 30 seconds) (before sessions is good too but you need to be warmed up - static stretches for around 10s or so and some dynamic stretches, NOT ballistic stretching). Ideally some form on instruction from someone who knows what they are talking about would be good for these - a sports physio or similar. Yoga might be a good alternative / addition.

    What will help you most, I believe is enjoying it. So pick and choose the activities you enjoy, find some friends who are have similar aims and train with them and that way the motivation will always be there to complete every session properly.

    Hope this helps!
  • giltkid
    giltkid Posts: 53
    If you have any fat to lose its best to lose it now rather than carry it up and down those hills.
  • tlw1
    tlw1 Posts: 21,871
    I have been cycling on & off too for years and due to buying silly (read fun) cars that can't fit bikes in, then having a couple of kids I had lost my fitness. This year I have just become more selfish, ie, cyling at llandegla couple of times a month with the lads. Also cycling to work on a Sat when I am in (2 hours each way). But the biggest help is I have started to run, as it can be done in an hour at night after the kids are in bed.

    Is it worth getting the wife a bike?

    Good luck on the ride & great choice of charity (my mother is our local Chairwomen).
  • matthew h wrote:
    Is it worth getting the wife a bike?

    If she is a keen cyclist then a competitive training buddy makes it easier to motivate yourself.

    If she is anything like my wife then she will just slow you down to a snails pace and make you wonder why you bother!
    17 Stone down to 12.5 now raring to get back on the bike!
  • chuckcork
    chuckcork Posts: 1,471
    I suggest finding a club local to you that you can go out with. They'll be doing reasonable
    distances at a steady pace, say 40-60 miles, which isn't earth shattering but is quite achievable for a new road cyclist in a short period, but you'll learn from them things like pacing yourself over a distance. (Personally I just like to go flat out if I have the energy, works for the first 120km anyway)

    The social side can make it rather more enjoyable too, as I'd say the hard thing is to maintain the riding when the weather is bad and there can be more enjoyable things to do.

    Once you've built up your riding to a reasonable level you could then maybe do some longer rides, like a 100km brevet or a 100 miler, which will teach you a bit about yourself as well.
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • Thanks to all who've replied so far, all great!
    Just to clarify, other than abit of a belly, I'm not having to lose any weight as I'm 11st and no binge drinker/kebab eater so that's not an issue as it's more getting overall fitness back. The ride is with other Macmillan riders but this is the first time they've done it so I can get feedback from other rides but not this one.
    I'm hoping to start cycling to work over the next week or so but this is only 3 miles each way, then again I'm sure everyone will agree that every little helps.
    One question I'd like advice on is do spin classes at the gym help cyclists or not?
    Currently riding a Airborne Valkyrie
  • Winter:

    Sunday club run: 50 - 65 miles
    Saturday: 1 hour turbo intervals (6 x 5 mins at 15 to 25 beats below max HR; 3 mins recovery between).
    4 mile each way commute every day on slicks shod MTB
    Another 1 hour turbo session in week.


    As above but fast Thursday evening club training ride (2 hours) and out on road 1-2 hours Saturday instead of turbo.

    On the back of that I've done 3 British sportives this year: 1 gold time and 2 silver times.

    Like you, MTB for 4 years previous. New to road biking this January.
  • phase3uk wrote:
    I'm hoping to start cycling to work over the next week or so but this is only 3 miles each way, then again I'm sure everyone will agree that every little helps.
    Take the "long" way and make it a training run that happens to end up at work.
    phase3uk wrote:
    One question I'd like advice on is do spin classes at the gym help cyclists or not?
    Yes, provided they are hard and long enough to provide sufficient stimulus for positive training effect.