THREO has teamed up with Macmillan Cycletta and will be appearing at each of the events with a recovery zone, the opportunity to win some of our great kit and we are looking forward to meeting some of you there.
We love a good sportive here at THREO because they are great fun and are excellent if you are looking to up your mileage in an organised environment, commit to a big challenge or just use them for training.
Whether you are doing Cycletta or have signed up for another sportive this summer, here are some of THREO's top tips for preparing and training.
1. Interval Sessions
Intervals are hugely beneficial for all aspects of your riding and your general fitness. Regular interval sessions will help improve both your speed and your endurance.
After five minutes warm up, riding at an easy pace (putting in about 30-40% effort) you will need to start pushing hard for 1 minute by increasing your resistance or cadence – or perhaps both depending on your experience. By pushing hard we mean you need to be going at about 80-90% effort for the full minute, you shouldn’t be able to hold a conversation.
After 1 minute, drop back down to about 50-60% effort for 2 minutes. Repeat this according to your experience aiming to build up to more intervals as you progress. Make time for a five minute cool down of riding at an easy pace (effort 30-40%).
Remember - this session is meant to hurt, short term pain long term gain!
2. Hill Repeats
Tackling hills helps build leg strength. Choose a hill near you, and make it challenging - only you can choose this according to your experience level.
You need to be warmed up before starting hill repeats, so get at least 25 minutes in the legs before you tackle your chosen hill. Time the repeats according to your level, for example for a beginner aim for three minute intervals, intermediate for five minutes and if you are more advanced or trying to aim for a specific time and really build up your cycling then go for 8 minutes.
Your recovery time should be approximately half the time of the interval. Aim for a set of 8-10, but feel free to build up slowly according to your underlying fitness and experience levels.
3. Social Rides
Social rides can be just as good for you as the high-intensity sessions if you use them for recovery.
Its a chance to enjoy yourself out on the bike and remember why its so much fun in the midst of your training schedule. You’ll still be getting the miles in while you allow your body to spend some time at a lower intensity during an active recovery ride.
Spend your entire ride at about 50% of your maximum effort. The best bit about these rides is that its a great time to team up with a friend or two - riding at 50% effort allows for plenty of chatting time and stopping for a coffee is actively encouraged!
4. Endurance Rides
Long and steady rides help build your aerobic base, enabling you to gradually increase the distance you can manage.
After a ten minute easy paced warm up (for example at about 30-40% effort), maintain a steady cadence and try to sit at about 50-60% effort during the rest of your ride until it’s time to cool down for five minutes at an easy pace (back down to 30% effort).
The length of your endurance ride depends on what distance you are aiming for at the Cycletta. For example if you are doing the 20km you need to be doing some regular endurance rides at around the 15-18km mark regularly. If its the 80km then building up your endurance rides to 60-70km regularly will serve you well (don’t forget you can build up to this gradually, don’t increase your mileage by more than about 15% a week to really build a solid base.
5. Enter a Sportive
If you are a more experienced rider and looking to go for a cracking time at Macmillan Cycletta then perhaps you can enter a couple of sportives beforehand, to get some miles under your belt and build strength. There are plenty of them around over the summer, such as the Human Race L’Etape London or try looking here.
6. Spin it out
When its difficult to fit the longer rides into a busy schedule or the weather puts a stop to an outside ride, don’t underestimate how useful an intense spinning session can be to get the heart rate up and build leg strength.
With a good instructor the time should fly by a lot quicker than a turbo session by yourself and its always nice to exercise in a group tp help push yourself further.
7. Build in gym sessions or cross training
Try incorporating a different session in amongst all that cycling, partly to mix up the routine and partly to look after yourself.
Some yoga or pilates will help increase your flexibility and core strength - both beneficial as keeping a strong stable position on the bike is essential for injury prevention and a comfortable ride. A gym routine incorporating, squats, planks and TRX exercises will help strengthen your core.
8. Nail your nutrition
As you build up your distance you will find you need a bit more to keep you going over the longer rides. Find a method you like, whether it be gels, bars, tablets and always always mix it with more fluid than you think, and find what works for you. The recommended fluid consumption is approx 500ml per hour of riding so aim for this, click here for some useful information on staying hydrated on the bike.
Use your long rides to figure out what works best for you now. On the day of the Macmillan Cycletta you want to be confident in your routine and it shouldn’t be the time you test out a new gel or bar for the first time.
9. Get kitted out
You will be spending a lot of time on your bike in the build up to the big day, and the most important thing is that you are comfortable, you feel confident and your kit can withstand the temperamental British weather.
Invest in a good pair of padded shorts to help ease your rear into all that time in the saddle. Check out our range of womens' cycling jerseys and shorts here. All of THREO's kit is engineered to fit a female figure, made from compression fabrics designed specifically for cycling and the bold colours also help brighten up the toughest training ride.
Its easy to get caught up in a set training schedule by ticking off the miles and forget that rest and recovery are just as important for building fitness and strength as active sessions. Listen to your body and make sure you get lots of sleep. Missing a session isn’t the end of the world, and as there are still a good few months to go until the Macmillan Cyclettas, you have time.
For more tips, training programmes and articles on womens' cycling check out the cycling section on SportSister.