Lessons learnt training for a 500km London to Paris
20th June 2018
20th June 2018
The Science in Sport team, as you might expect, is well populated with budding cyclists. We also have almost as many runners (and some who do both), a steeplechaser, a powerlifter, a hockey player and smattering of footballers.
She, the powerlifter, and he, the steeplechaser, have both recently placed themselves on two wheels to see what all the fuss is about, along with a number of people who have either dusted off old bikes, or bought brand-spanking new ones, to take on the Hot Chillee London-to-Paris ride along with the rest of us self-proclaimed ‘cyclists’ in the office.
Everyone needs to train
The Hot Chillee London-to-Paris ride is 500km over three days. There are many more leisurely versions of this route, some shorter and some over longer periods of time; this version of the ride however is no walk in the park, it isn’t even a ride in the park.
The need to train properly for this event (and just for general improvements on the bike), is every bit the case for our experienced riders, as much as it is the less experienced ones. We’ll all cycle the same distance at the end of the day, and while some may do it quicker, the less speedy among us will actually have their bums in the saddle for longer. Both versions are hard, quite literally.
So, training is paramount. For everyone. No excuses.
You don’t put treacle in an F1 car
While we’re fairly savvy when it comes fuelling ourselves properly with our sports nutrition products, none of us are completely immune to the temptations of an unhealthy snack, a fast-food treat, a beer/G&T/glass of wine or even a cinnamon bun. And the cinnamon bun (courtesy of the Cinnamon Café, Windsor in this case) is actually worth the mention, because it’s the size of a football.
Slot one of these bad boys away mid-ride and you’ll be feeling it all the way home, and not in a good way. The Cinnamon Café Windsor must know this as they also sell it in half portions, not that we paid any attention to this on a recent training ride, more fool us.
The point here being not to become so strict with your diet that you can’t enjoy the occasional treat, but by understanding how our bodies run a little better and by using the right blend of performance sports nutrition and real food, the dividends are immense; be that going out for the Sunday club run or by cycling to Gai Paris, in three days, the long way.
We can all talk it up, but the actual ‘doing’ can be a little more difficult to achieve sometimes. Finding the time to fit in that training ride, turbo session or even a swim, run or whatever other activity to boost fitness and mental preparation can be hard. And if it’s raining, or it’s so-and-so’s birthday or you have to Veet your legs, it’s easy to get side-tracked and allow the mind to create convenient excuses not to crack on with the business end.
At the end the day, you just have to get up off your ass and do it. “Suck it up buttercup” as one our HIIT Cycle instructors at the gym likes to tell us, regularly. Actually, as an aside, its actually been proven that phrases that rhyme are more likely to work, be believed and be remembered, than those that don’t – ‘No pain, no gain’ for example has more far impact than, ‘If you don’t hurt yourself, you won’t get any better’.
The good news, the really good news, is you’ll feel amazing afterwards, so that demoralising headwind or never-ending sluggish climb will all be a very distant and different memory once those endorphins kick in and take over.
Not much else to say here really. They do. Velly jelly.
(*free to replace Swains Lane with any nasty ass hill in your local area)
No one said it would be easy. There’s going to be sweat, lots of it. Tears are optional; at times probable.
Something to never ignore though is the need to stay properly hydrated. Simply put, dehydration makes your blood thicker, which means your heart has to pump harder and the amount of blood being pumped by one beat is subsequently decreased.
This ain’t good.
It makes it harder for fat to get into your muscles and be used for fuel, so instead your body reverts to using up the sugars that are already there. It affects concentration and mood (since your brain is 85% water) and there’s a notable decline in concentration.
Even a 2-3% loss of body weight via fluid can dramatically increase fatigue, reduce endurance and generally make you start feeling a bit dodgy.
So, keep hydrated people. And funnily enough, we have one or two products that can help with that…