Getting into Gear for Will Bike 4 Food: Training for the Big Day
By Sean Condon of Speed & Sprocket
It’s hard to believe that summer is all but gone and fall is just around the corner. And of course, with fall coming, WB4F is practically here! With only about five weeks to go, it’s time to step up your game and get ready for the main event.
Whether you’re doing the 3.5, 10, 25, 50, or 100 mile route, it’s important to prepare your body for the challenge. I like to compare it to a solid relationship; just like you wouldn’t hop in your car, drive to Vegas, and marry someone you’ve known a week (hopefully,) you also shouldn’t be dusting off your bike the week before and re-introducing yourself to it for a casual 100 mile ride. Developing a plan and putting in the time is key to enjoying the experience that will be memorable for all the right reasons.
You know where you need to get to on September 27, and you know where you are right now. A little bit of (increasing) work between now and then is going to work wonders for you. For every week except the last one before the event, you want to put in one comparatively longer ride and then a few other shorter ones. For this example, let’s pretend that you’re shooting to complete the 50 mile route:
5 weeks before WB4F — Assuming that the longest ride you’ve been doing up to this point is 25 miles (half your goal distance), you should be shooting for a 30-35 mile outing during your first “training” week.
4 weeks before WB4F — Aim for a long ride of 35-40 miles, as well as 2-4 other shorter rides.
3 weeks before WB4F — Try to get up to a 40-45 mile ride this week in preparation for the full distance the following week (plus shorter rides).
2 weeks before WB4F — Ideally, you should ride nearly as long (or equal to) your goal of 50 miles (as well as shorter rides)
1 week before WB4F — Let your body recharge a bit and store up some energy. Realistically, any hard training this week will probably do more harm than good. Don’t stop training completely, though. A few shorter, relaxed paced rides will help you prepare for the big day without tiring yourself out.
It’s important to continue with the shorter rides each week, even if they are just an hour or hour and a half. It will keep your body working and active. Try to plan ahead and mark ride days on your calendar (especially the long ones) in advance so your family, friends, and most importantly you know that you’ve got to put some deposits in the mileage bank! If possible, try to find friends to ride with, as it’s always harder to back out when you know someone else will be there, too.
For some of you, this increase in physical activity will lead to a larger appetite. Don’t freak out, that’s normal. The key is not to increase your intake of junk calories. Instead of bigger meal portions, pick up some healthy snacks to eat over the course of the day, like fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, and other “real” food (not chips and cookies.) Another key is to make sure that you are getting plenty of sleep to let your body recharge and give it a chance to build those muscles up.
Having prepared with set goals, upped your eating but mindfully, and gotten plenty of rest, you’re sure to hit your target — and then some!