Member-At-Large On The Road - June 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Cross-Training for Multi-Day Rides
by Mary Ann Breunig

At some point all cyclists start thinking about a multi-day ride. What do you think about as you begin looking at multi-day rides? Usually you consider factors like "fun" locations, degree of
difficulty, time of year, number of days, costs, and hotel/camping options. With your finalist list of rides in hand, you select a ride and proceed to recruit family and friends to join you!

Now it's time to work on a training plan to prepare for your adventure! Your plan should build mileage over routes that are similar to the event. Have you built-in back-toback days of riding? Fifty miles on a bike feels very different on the fifth day of a multi-day ride than on the first day. Training your body to mentally and physically ride multi-days takes practice. Consider scheduling training rides at the time of day you will be riding the event. Are you ready to ride 50-70 miles at 7:00 am for the next five days? 

You picked your ride and set your training plan. As the days go by, you realize that real-life events are requiring adjustments to your plan! Maybe it's a schedule change, weather delay, or
injury impact. As time goes on, maybe you need a motivation boost? Consider including Cross-Training.

Cross-training is any fitness activity that is not cycling! This can be running, swimming, or strength training. It could also include yoga and dancing! You can use cross-training to rehabilitate an injury, improve fitness, and rejuvenate the mind and the body. There are three types of cross-training: strength training, flexibility training, and endurance cross-training. You may plan a day a week of only cross-training or incorporate it into your daily plan. Try it and see what works best for you.

What are the best options for cross-training for cyclists? This season I decided to focus on cross-training that would improve my strength (quads and triceps), flexibility (hip flexor), and endurance (cardio for speed). This means adding a daily sets of exercises that can be done any time/anywhere, and adding two running/cardio sprint workouts a week. After six weeks, I can already see the benefits. On a two-day ride (62 & 35 miles), over a moderately hilly route, my average speed increased by 2 mph, my power to climb hills felt stronger (spinning in higher gears), and my recovery time enabled me to ride 35 vs 25 miles the second day without feeling exhausted! 

This year we are training for a multi-day ride (Bike Virginia) and two century rides (Tour de Whidbey on Whidbey Island, WA and PPTC Back Roads Century in Shepherdstown, MD). In preparation, over the winter I continued to ride and strength-training weekly. Add new activities over time--both to increase your training effort and add variety to your workouts. Every month revisit your weekly training plan, making adjustments that fit your goals and schedule.

In working your plan, consider finding a "buddy", class or group for each workout. It increases your odds of success and definitely is more fun! Cycling is super easy to plan--just checkout our Potomac Pedaler Rides! If you are a member of a gym, checkout their equipment, classes, and trainers. Many counties offer daily/weekly/monthly classes. You can also checkout on-line
videos and invest in a yoga mat, kettle bell, and weights. If you travel, many hotels offer training equipment in their Fitness rooms.

For lifelong skills, consider taking Yoga or Swimming. While there are many on-line and local programs, you may need to try out a couple of classes/teachers to find the right one for you. Even if you aren't a swimmer, the Master's Swim program offers a learn to swim program and access to lap swimming throughout the DC-metro area. 

Remember, when making your training plan consider adding cross-training. Choose activities that are both challenging and fun! Perhaps then your training plan for when you are in your 90s will include both cycling and dancing!

Note: This spring my mother-in-law, Mrs Dale Breunig, celebrated 95 years of "spinning" on the dance floor, gardening, and walking for Breast Cancer awareness.



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