My second blog instalment on preparing for the Etape is covering the period which includes Christmas and New Year.
Christmas and New Year are great times of the year to relax, catch up with family and friends and take a bit of a breather from the routine. It is also a time for parties, celebrations and great food and drink.
Training for the Etape for me is pretty high up my priority list these days. I really want to complete the event and not get swept up by the broom wagon at the back. More to the point, I would like to complete the event without suffering too much as well. So the Christmas break was an interesting time with regards to training. I really wanted to carry on my training through the holiday period but I also wanted to be able to spend some time with family and friends and to be able to relax a little as well.
Added to the mix this year was the “interesting” weather we have been experiencing in the UK, mainly extremely high winds, rain and flooding!
Having ridden in these conditions in the past I am very respectful of them as riding on the road in high winds is difficult and dangerous. It is all too easy to get caught by a gust of wind and thrown either onto the verge or into the path of other vehicles.
So with all that in mind a flexible approach was required over the Christmas holidays and I am pleased to say I have managed to pretty much complete all my scheduled sessions albeit mainly indoors on a turbo trainer.
Training indoors on a turbo trainer has different challenges, some not immediately obvious to the onlooker. Firstly the biggest challenge to overcome is boredom. Pedalling and not going anywhere for 2 hours gets tedious pretty quickly. However I vary my programme regularly to keep it fresh and ensure that I am never too long doing the same thing. I also listen to music and keep my ipod on shuffle so I have no idea what is coming next. This keeps things interesting too.
The other big challenge is keeping cool. When riding outdoors you have natural airflow to cool you. Indoors the heat just builds up and very quickly you can overheat. So lots of fluid intake is necessary. And a towel! A lot of people also employ a fan to generate airflow. I may use one in the future if I end up using the turbo as the weather gets warmer again.
By scheduling my sessions into the early mornings or other times when I wasn’t required for family occasions I have managed to keep a pretty consistent training schedule going.
And consistency is key to training. Unfortunately you can’t play catch up very easily so steady progress is required. Also 3 x 1 hour sessions over a week are more effective than 1 x 3 hour session. Maintaining the training load and adapting it as your training progresses is the way to do it and constantly building gradually on the work previously completed.
So, as we enter 2014, I have a good base to build on and a clear schedule ahead to keep me on track to July. And I am looking forward to getting outdoors again as soon as this spell of winter storms pass.