By Martin Spierings
Sometime last year, in a fit of inspiration, and perhaps a little too much wine, you snatched your credit card from your wallet and eagerly signed up for that endurance event that’s been sitting on your bucket list forever. Fast forward to spring, you find yourself with not many training miles in the bank and a scary event looming on the calendar. Sound familiar? Whether you’ve entered a multi-day adventure like the California Coast Classic Bike Tour, a marathon or the Death Ride, there are a few things you can do starting today that will increase your chances of success in the summer.
There’s Still Time
Ideally, you should have spent all winter diligently preparing an aerobic base for your summer endurance adventure. I get it! With the rain, falling apart roads and limited daylight hours – good intentions can turn to mud. The good news is, there’s still time. The physiological benefits of endurance training can be seen after as little as 8-12 weeks. As well as the psychological boost of actually doing something to prepare!
Get on a Training Program
A few minutes googling should find you a generic structured program for whatever distance event you’re doing. Joining a local club can also be a great way to link up with more experienced athletes and some offer group training if you’re having trouble motivating to get out there yourself.
If you have an unpredictable work schedule or just need someone to talk to who will listen, hiring a personal endurance coach is an option. They know how to tailor a program to your needs and can use your feedback and training data to maximize the time you have available to train.
One way to avoid disaster on the day of your event is to race in the gear you trained in. Buying a new pair of shoes or fiddling with your seat height might sound like a way to get an advantage but if it leads to blisters or an injury from changing your body position it will not be worth it. Get any new gear four to six weeks before your event and dress and nourish yourself the way you plan to during the event so you’re not faced with any surprises.
There’s a temptation, especially if your preparation has been on the late side, to train hard right up to the event. Big mistake! The best thing you can do, even on limited preparation, is to rest in the week before the event, with just a few, short, light workouts to keep the engine running. Warning! As you’ve been training consistently you will probably feel horrible during this rest week; lethargy, achey muscles, lack of motivation and you’ll possibly even pick up a cold. This is normal as your body has adapted to consistent exercise and doesn’t like it. It will, however, thank you on race day as you’ve allowed your glycogen stores to replenish and muscles to recover.
There you have it. Time to get outside and prepare the body and mind for your next challenge.
Martin Spierings coaches endurance athletes at tricoachmartin.com.