This week we are lucky enough to introduce cycling aficionado and constant LEJOG sounding-board and inspiration, Matt, as a guest-LEJOG-leBLOGGER.
Long-time cyclist and Yorkshireman, what Matt lacks in an official coaching career he more than makes up for in practical knowledge and words of support. Below, Matt offers his top tips on how you can start now and be ready to join us for a bit of cycling in August. Enjoy! Abs & Sal xxx
There’s no doubt about it – the LEJOG challenge is EPIC. A test of mental and physical endurance that is beyond the abilities of many of us. But if you fancy your own mini-LEJOG challenge (or just want to be there to scream motivational slogans at Abs & Sal) then why not join them for part of the ride? I know the girls will really appreciate the company, and it all helps to spread the message to support the cause.
My name is Matt, and I have the honour of being appointed ‘coach’ for Abs & Sal as they build up to August. For anyone preparing to pedal some of the route, or if you’re still looking for inspiration, I’ve got some top tips for you here. (I should point out that I am just a fellow cyclist and am in no way qualified to provide coaching advice. So, as with any other test of endurance, it is recommended you seek medical advice before deciding to spend a prolonged period of time in the girls’ company…)
- Set Your Target
Getting out for training rides will be all that much easier with a target date and distance in mind. So check out the previous LeBLOG post, find a date that works for you, and stick it in the diary. Abs & Sal will be covering some serious mileage each day, but even if you can only join them for an hour or two you will be welcomed with open arms (once they’ve come to a safe stop). If you share your plan with friends and family they can provide that extra bit of pressure encouragement for your own preparation. I’ll get us started by adding to the comments section below the date and route I’m going to be there!
- Get Comfortable
One you’ve set your target it’s time to ready your steed. There’s nothing worse than trying to ride a bike when it’s not running smoothly. So if yours has been collecting dust at the back of the garage it’s worth taking it in for a service before heading out on the road. And if you don’t already have a pair, think about investing in some padded cycling shorts. Your bum will thank you for that.
- Training Rides: Little and Often
It will come as no surprise that key to improving cycling fitness is spending time on your bike. The priority should be little and often. Find opportunities to ride your bike wherever you can – maybe ride to the shops, or the park, or to a wedding (nice one, Sal). If you can ride to work – you lucky devil, you – then that’s going to set you up a treat. No better time of year to beat the drive/tube/rickshaw on your usual commute. But don’t worry about speed – the schedule for LEJOG allows for plenty of time each day to ride at a steady pace. It’s not a race!
- Training Rides: Long Ones
If you’re planning to to take part in a ‘full stage’ then you’re looking at about 70 miles / 110km (can you imagine doing that 13 days in a row!). It’s worth getting a couple of longer training rides under your belt. As well as improving your fitness, longer rides are a chance to practise eating and drinking enough to keep your energy levels up. Typically you’ll need to refuel around every 20-30 minutes for rides beyond 90 minutes, or you risk the dreaded ‘bonk’. (If this term is new to you, ask a cyclist friend. Or Google ‘bonk’ at your own risk…..). So stuff some snacks in your pocket or schedule a cafe stop. Even better – do both. What better way to spend a sunny Sunday 🙂
Any questions, I’ll do my best….
Here are Matt & Zara training for their LEJOG leg in Dubai – partly because they want to make sure they are properly acclimatised to the scorching British weather come August, and partly because they live in Dubai.