To warmer weather, the Tour de France, and/or passion to get you or your clients out on the bike- we have asked our resident cycling expert & TRX Senior Master Instructor Dan McDonogh here to share his top tips when training for a race, long ride, or to improve your personal enjoyment of this amazing sport:
Tips preparing for a long ride or a Tour:
- 1) Ensure that your bike is ready Taking the time to ensure your bike is in working order before a long ride or tour can make or break an enjoyable experience. Below is a list of things to inspect/check before your ride begins:
- Check tires for tears or holes. If you notice either, replace the tire(s)
- Check brakes are in working order
- Clean and lube your chain and drivetrain
- Make sure the shifting is crisp and sharp.
- Stock your seat/saddle bag! Make sure you have spare tubes, Co2 cartridges and Mini-tool. This is especially important if your ride is not supported.
If you are unsure or cannot do any of the above yourself, take your bike to your local bike shop for a full inspection & tune up.
2) Hydration & Nutrition Hydration will be influenced by heat, exertion level, terrain etc, but you generally want to aim to drink around one bottle per hour. You can mix something in the water if you prefer like electrolytes, but it is really the H2O that your body needs to maintain a sustained effort. You should also eat consistently throughout the ride, taking a bite or two of a palatable snack that is easily digestable every 20 minutes or so. On this notem don't try a new electrolyte drink or snack for the first time on a long ride or tour. You want to make sure what you drink/eat is right for your system so experiment with this on shorter rides.
3) Have knowledge of the route/terrain you will be riding Knowing this is important for several reasons but most importantly, this helps you to determine what type of fitness will be required to complete the ride/tour. No matter the terrain, cycling requires a blend of muscular endurance, strength and power. To support this, a strong core is needed as well. If the terrain is quite hilly with lots of elevation gain, building strength on and off the bike will need to be a priority. It's not that strength is not needed for flat rides, however the bumpier the route, the more strength will be required. On the bike, strength can be gained by riding hills. Off the bike, strength can be gained by doing exercises for your lower body such as Squats, Lunges, Deadlifts etc. As mentioned, training your core will be important to support this.
Try the TRX Cycling Training module to get a full strength workout for your lower body.
4) Sleep I cannot emphasize the importance of sleep especially in the days leading up to the long ride/tour. Sleep directly affects performance and your ability to be alert and reactive on the bike for anything that might come your way! Aim for 8-10hrs of sleep/night. Doing the following can help with this:
- Wind down hour: One hour before bed, stay away from any type of technology to reduce blue light exposure
- Consistent bedtime and wake time 7 days a week: Sleeping in any day of the week more than 30 minutes can start to put your body in a state similar to jet-lag
5) Recovery It could be argued that your recovery is just as important, if not more important than the work on and off the bike. While sleep is certainly a big part of recovery, taking time post-ride to calm down overactive muscles (hips, quads, hamstrings, back) by foam rolling and stretching will play a big role in your recovery. In addition to this, proper nutrition and cold baths post ride can help to reduce inflammation and speed up recovery.
Meet Dan McDonogh
Award-Winning Fitness Leader // International Speaker, Educator, and Trainer
Dan McDonogh has been a speaker, educator, and coach for over two decades and is a globally recognized fitness professional. He has played pivotal roles with global brands such as Under Armour®, TRX®, and Les Mills International. Dan was a 2015 IDEA Program Director of the Year finalist and the 2012 IDEA Group Fitness Instructor of the Year.