Training Tip – 3

Tip Of The Week 3: Stay Loose

When preparing for any type of long distance event it’s obviously important to focus on training and nutrition. The body needs to be well fed and the muscles as well as the mind need to be exposed to the type of pace and distance that’s going to be encountered on the event itself. However what is often forgotten is that although you will get faster, fitter and stronger you are also putting your muscles and joints under an enormous strain. Without proper maintenance these same muscles may end up very sore, cramped and even injured thus making your training unnecessarily uncomfortable or even forcing you to take time off.

During the course of 2009’s excellent Tour De Burren I had cause to regret not practicing what I preach. At about 120km into the cycle we were climbing the road from Liscannor to the Cliffs of Moher when suddenly both my calf muscles began to cramp up. Luckily there was a food-stop after the descent into Doolin where I was able to re-fuel and massage some life back into my tired muscles. Unfortunately I had ignored warning signs during the week when my calves felt a bit sore and I had skipped the opportunity to have them massaged. The situation wasn’t helped by the fact that I had probably not  taken on board enough electrolyte-containing Sports Drink to  compensate  for the amount of sweat I’d lost due to the beautiful warm weather and the very challenging pace and tough climbs. So please remember to learn from my mistakes:

1.     Keep well hydrated at all times but drink even more Sports Drink and water when the weather is warm, the pace is high and there’s a lot of climbing to be done.

2.      Have regular massages from a qualified therapist. Your muscles are taking a lot of punishment during long hours on the bike and you will perform far better if they are flexible and supple rather than tight and knotted.