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How Do I Get in Shape for a Cycling Tour?

Ask a Pro — Diane Stibbard

Coach, Personal Trainer, and Two-Time Canadian Duathlete of the Year

Diane Stibbard - two-time dualthlete of the yearQ: How do I get in shape for a cycling tour?

A: This is the time of year to start thinking about getting in shape to ride in a one- or multi-day cycling tour. Training for a tour requires a gradual increase in mileage, which helps prevent injury and keeps you mentally and physically fresh.

Schedule Your Training Time
Once you’ve chosen an event, decide how much time you have available for training and pencil in your weekly ride schedule on a calendar. When putting together a training program for a client, I usually start from the end point and work backwards. That allows me to see how frequently my client needs to ride and what mileage will be required for her to be properly trained for the event. For example, if you’re doing a one-day 100 km tour, plan to have cycled at least two to three rides of 90 – 100 kms (54 – 60 miles), two weeks before the event. If the event is two days, then scheduling a few weeks with two or three consecutive days of riding will help condition your body.

Sample Programs
I’ve written an e-program for a two-day event, which is available on the website, but here are two examples showing a typical week in the middle part of the training phase. The first example is for a one-day tour, the second example is for a two-day tour.

Monday: strength and core conditioning
Tuesday: 20 km
Wednesday: strength and core conditioning
Thursday: 20 km
Friday: Off
Saturday: 50 km
Sunday: Off

Monday: Strength and core conditioning
Tuesday: 30 km
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: 40 km
Friday: Strength and core conditioning
Saturday: 50 km
Sunday: 25 km

Food and Drink
When training for a cycling tour you also need to learn how to fuel and hydrate yourself properly. Choose foods that are easy to digest. Foods that are fibrous and high in fats don’t digest quickly and may cause stomach distress. Eating carbohydrates like figs, dates, bananas, nut butter sandwiches and even small boiled or baked new potatoes provide a steady source of energy.

While training for your event, practise eating while riding, and finding foods and snacks that work for you. As well as the foods mentioned above, there are many sport bars, gels, and drinks that are available at cycling and running stores. If you’re going to try any new product, do it during training. Never experiment with foods or drinks during the event.

A cycling tour is a great way to set a goal and get fit, as well as to meet other cyclists. There are many tours to choose from. It’s easy to find an event in your area by just doing a search on the internet.

Set your goal, make a plan, and get out there and do it. Ride safe.

Training for a two-day cycling eventDiane provides training programs for recreational and competitive cyclists, duathletes and triathletes, including nutritional counseling and personal training. Does your company need a fitness consultant? Get in touch with Diane to discuss fitness seminars for corporations

You want personal training but don’t live near Diane? No problem. Diane does email and telephone consultations. To learn more, contact Diane at [email protected] or at LinkedIn.

Check out Diane’s e-programs: Keeping Fit in the Off-Season and Training For a Two-Day Charity Event For the Time-Starved Cyclist.

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