Monday, 24 February 2014

Building a long commute into your training plan

I recently responded to a query on the XC Racer forum asking how to fit commuting into a training plan for endurance racing. I thought I would share my response here:

"My commute is a 34 miles round trip for the direct route. I found that covering this distance everyday just ground me down, until I was actually getting so tired it was having an adverse effect on my fitness. It can also get terribly boring after a period of time - 7 years for me!

To mix it up and keep things interesting I try and take a different route home each day, even if it is just a minor detour. In the summer especially, there is the opportunity to take the MTB and fit in some off road skills training on the way. I am looking forward to those long summer evenings already!

To avoid fatigue I have to take days off.  I simply monitor how I feel, if the legs are dead on the way home I take the car the next morning. I also try and avoid really bad weather if I can, although it isn't always possible. This winter is an example, and apart from the discomfort of soggy shoes, there is also the hassle of having to dry everything out in time for the return journey. Long miles in poor weather can also take its toll on the bike, so expect bills for chains, bearings and brake pads!

If you are into Strava, it provides a good method of breaking up the ride and adding some speed/interval segments to the general plod to work. If you are on a popular commuter route like mine you'll probably find some other commuters to have a burn up with! It seems there are a lot of competitive people out there who don't like being passed by anyone!

I still fit in a 3-4hr ride at the weekend for base fitness. Leading up to a race I will shorten my commute route or try and take it easy. Backing off isn't always easy in poor weather, and you'll have to resist that urge to chase down that competitive guy you raced yesterday when he comes tanking past you!

I find using a commute as training encourages me to ride more, and once on the road you can't be lazy and cut it short. Also because I get all my training done going to and from work I have actually found I have more time at home in the evenings with my family."

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Happy bike day!

I had been watching the hour hand slowly crawl round the office clock all day. At 4.30pm on the dot I wasn't quite running, but definitely heading briskly for the door! Today was the day I collected my new 2014 S-Works Stumpjumper HT frame from South Downs Bikes!

Like a kid at Christmas they let me tear open the box and there she was. What a beauty! 

More photos and updates on progress building her up to follow.