I spent the last 20 days in Spain, topping up my tan lines, practising my selfie skills, relaxing in warmer climates and, of course, training hard! I thought I’d let you guys know how I was training and why.
The main motivation for my trip was to have a break from my normal routes and routines and get away from the many rainy days in Scotland. Contrary to my regular, structured training plan from my coach Vicky Begg (head coach of Glasgow Triathlon Club), we decided that I should just get out to Spain, cycle almost everyday, and see how it felt. So this is what I did!
I cycled almost every day in and around the province of Alicante, covering between 100km (short ride!) to 225km each day. I took it fairly easy in the first week, before doing some longer days (around 200km long rides) back to back in the second and third weeks. Experiencing how these rides felt was very important for testing my stamina and helped me acclimatise to longer, tougher distances. For the Festive 500 challenge, I cycled 1052 km in hilly terrain in just 7 rides (with one rest day). Overall, I placed 9th out of 4200 women who attempted this challenge on Strava. Yay!
My set up for long days in the saddle
While I was away putting in the big miles, I realised that CONSERVATION of energy will be vital for my round the world trip. Coach Vicky Begg says: “This [endurance/long distance cycling] is different to racing in as much as the most experienced athletes and coaches focus on the minimum expenditure of energy during training (across the total volume, even though there are times when the training must be hard). This type of training allows for maximum output when it matters most, i.e. in a race. In your situation a careful drip feeding of energy from the energy your body stores to your muscles is required to eliminate wasted energy output. You don’t have the ‘peak’ or ‘race’ scenario as part of your agenda.”
Having raced before, I now realise that my trip will require me to think completely differently about HOW I ride. I need to make sure I ride RELAXED, not get distracted by other riders who are overtaking me and just trust that I will get there.
Back in Scotland, I will focus on keeping my riding consistent throughout winter and spring. Due to other commitments and miserable weather to contend with, I wont be able to sustain the same mileage I covered in Spain, but that’s ok. I will be doing planned sessions to work on endurance, threshold and speed, as well as stability and strength exercises to prevent injury.
I also see testing equipment, planning and organising as almost more important than spending long hours on the bike. With my big trip approaching, I have various pieces of equipment to acquire and test. More on that in another blog post soon!
Thanks for reading! Gracias por leer