Have you been thinking about signing up for a cycle marathon? If yes, then chances are you might not feel a bit intimidated especially if this is your first time. However, the good news is that with good planning and execution, it will surely be an experience to remember.
Before getting into the preparation part, let's explore some interesting facts about cycling. Compared to other activities, cycling generally leads to fewer injuries. Cycling is an excellent aerobic workout, as it is beneficial for the blood vessels, heart and lungs. Riding a cycle strengthens your stamina and bones, enhances movement in your joints, reduces fat content in your body, combats stress, helps with arthritis, and lowers the risk of developing diabetes. Some studies have also shown that cycling regularly lowers the chances of breast and colon cancer.
Those of you plannning to take part in a cycle marathon, here are a few handy tips to keep in mind.
Build your leg muscles. Weeks prior to the marathon, you must work on strengthening your leg muscles. Aim to enhance your overall core and strengthen your muscles, which will assist you greatly while riding. Some effective workouts for muscles located in the leg area are squats, dead lifts, and leg pushes. Other simple and effective exercises for core strengthening are plank and lunges. The former is particularly good for the lower back, shoulders, and abdomen, while the latter is also a highly recommended workout for bikers.
Eat nutritious food. Paying attention to what you eat is also vital while training for a cycle marathon. Consume foods that are rich in protein such as chicken, yogurt, eggs, almonds, whole gain cereal, and salmon. Also eat foods that are high in carbohydrates while doing aerobic workouts, such as whole grain pasta, banana, oatmeal, sweet potato, and brown rice. Foods with high protein content must be eaten during muscle building. Another vital point to keep in mind is not to experiment with food before a marathon. Instead, eat the same quantity and the same type of meals that you were eating earlier. On the day of the race, eat a good breakfast but at least two hours before starting. During the race, carry a few energy bars. Do not forget to drink plenty of water the day before the race, and also sip water during the race itself.
Be familiar with the course. Knowing the route that you’ll be taking is essential. It helps you better understand the type of riding you’ll be required to do, and the physical fitness and technical demands of the course. Before the event starts, ride your cycle around the course so that you know what kind of road it is, and whether there are uphill and downhill sections. While you’re riding, some important things to look for are the grades of uphill and downhill, the terrain, and the length of the course. You must also remember to pay attention to the gears that you use, and how long to ride using one particular gear.
Ride in groups during the training. While training, make sure you ride in multiple groups, as this will enable you to ride with other riders and in larger groups on the day of the main event. You are also likely to learn about cycling etiquette by practicing with various groups of riders. In a group, you’ll learn to speak to passing cyclists, help riders in need, and be cautious of where you take a rest break. You will also learn to take control of your bike when you ride with a large group of people.
Keep a heart rate monitor handy. While training for the race, it is very useful to keep a heart rate monitor, as it helps you to correlate your training to the demands that you must meet during the actual race. You can maintain your pace during the race by keeping your heart rate at a certain level and setting your paces for different legs.
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