Training for an ultra is hard work, here are a few of the best tips we have found for keeping your head down and carrying on.
Maximise your 24-hour total
Your body needs to be able to recover quickly and keep putting in the miles – regardless of how it feels. More importantly, you need to be able to get yourself up, out and on the bike regardless of how little you want to. A good way to develop these aspects is to join consecutive sessions together. If you’re planning on getting out a couple of days in a row, try to squeeze them as closely together as you can and maximise your 24-hour total.
If you’re putting in a 2-hour speed session and a 7-hour endurance ride on consecutive days – why not put the 2 hours in the evening, come home, sleep and get out riding as soon as you can in the morning. Rather than just a sprint and an endurance session, you did a 9 hour 24-hour period! If this is your first race, this will give you an idea what it’s like push for a whole day, even if you slept for 7 hours.
If you’re racing as a team, you definitely need to ride together to get solid camaraderie, but when it comes to getting fit – train solo. Unless you’re really lucky, you wont be the same pace as the rest of your team. When it comes to training, you won’t gain anything waiting at the top of the hill. On top of this, there is no point in not riding just because your buddies are busy – get out there!
This one is simple. Ultra-endurance racing is a big commitment in terms of time, money not to mention the physical and mental input. If you’re not enjoying it, you’re not going to continue it and you’re less likely to stay motivated during the race. Keep an eye on why you’re doing it and enjoy yourself!
Make a plan
Keeping to a schedule can help compartmentalise your training and keep your eye on the bigger picture. Attempting to follow a generic plan can be a great start, but you will want to personalise it to take into consideration your own commitments. Plan all training days and make allowances for time off and resting.
Make a plan for equipment checking and maintenance too. You’re putting your bike through a lot of wear, so make sure you’re looking after it.
Look after your gear
There is nothing worse than heading for your bike before realising you forgot to change your pads or swap over the tyres. Keep the bike in perfect condition to prevent this disappointment. Keeping your bike rolling well will make it play on your mind less and allow you to push harder during your training sessions.
Base Fitness and periodisation
Before taking on an intense training programme for you race. You need to make sure you’re capable of taking it on without risking injury. Periodisation and periodic increase in training effort, distance and time will help mitigate the risk of injury and help you keep on track and developing for longer.