Macmillan Cycletta: how to train for the 20-25km event
31st May 2016
If you’ve never ridden a bike, are new to cycling or haven’t ridden since childhood, then this event distance is right for you. Don’t be daunted by the fact that 25km (15m) sounds like a long way – it’s hard to imagine unless you’ve done it, but trust us, this is a really achievable distance.
The lovely thing about the Macmillan Cycletta events is that they are so friendly and no one’s going to judge you. This distance will take a beginner anything between 1 hour 15 and about 2 hours, so you’ll need to prepare and do some training so that you can enjoy the day to it’s full.
Both events are at the beginning of October, so you’ve got four months to get ready…lets get started:
One of the best ways of getting ready for an event like this is simply to get used to riding your bike, get some miles in your legs (it’s a riding term!) and get your confidence up. So ideally use your bike to go to the shops, visit friends, get to work or just try and get out 2-3 times a week for a short ride. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you will improve.
Try to fit in a longer ride once a week, most people will do a longer ride at the weekend, but it may suit you to fit something in mid-week. Start with an 8km (5 mile) ride and then add a little bit more each week or month depending on how long you have to prepare. Most people like to have done the distance at least once before the event, but it’s really not essential if you can’t fit it in.
If you do practice the full distance make sure that it is at least two weeks before the event so you have time to recover and prepare. If you’re nervous about traffic or even lots of other cyclists on the roads, then head out early on a Sunday when everyone is still asleep!
Nervous? Try a circular route
If you’re nervous about traffic, punctures, your own ability or anything else at all, then plan a circular route. Take a look at a map of where you live and plan a route that means you are never more than about 1.5km (1 mile) from home.
Work out a loop that is about 5km (3 miles), then if you are feeling good you can go round again…and again if you fancy! Plus the fact that you are never far from home means that if you do get a puncture or really have had enough, you can always push home.
Improving your general level of fitness will really help, so if you can’t fit in a bike ride during the week do something else instead. If you have access to a gym you could do to a spinning class once or twice a week or squeeze in a brisk 30 minute walk or swim. If you love the gym, then concentrate on strength exercises because even if you’ve not cycled that far before, being strong will get you through.
Take a look at your month or week ahead and plan what you are going to do – if you don’t the days will slip by. Aim to do one longer ride and two shorter rides or other exercise every week. Don’t panic if you have a couple of weeks when you can’t do much – maybe you are very busy at work, on holiday or ill – it happens to everyone. As long as you try and maintain some continuity the rest of the time, then you will be fine.
Find a friend
It’s a whole lot easier to train with a friend, so try and make this a social event by linking up with a buddy – maybe your friend will come and do the event with you too. You don’t have to do everything together but you can check progress and keep each other on track.
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