Ask RIDE…3 Peaks Challenge #4

With just two weekends of training before the main event I am trying to squeeze in as many hours as possible, and it’s getting a bit tiring. Riding through the week is fine, each morning starts early but as you move through the week the weekend gets closer which gives you a bit of motivation to just get it done. The only problem is Saturday arrives and the routine doesn’t change, the alarm still goes off at about the same time only on this day your rides should be longer – around 4-5 hours (excluding stoppages). It’s Saturday and Sunday where the kilometre count should be high. My goal is 300km or so with Monday’s being an easy 1.5 hour spin. Don’t pike out on the weekend rides because this is where the difference is made. Choose a weekday to sleep in, not the weekend.

Since our first 3 Peaks post I have been trying to improve the diet not to really loose weight but moreso looking at the types of food I have been eating and when they are consumed. The only real change has been the at lunch and in the afternoon. It has made a considerable difference – three kilograms in three weeks is proof that it has worked for me.

Lunch time is where many people fail to eat in moderation. It’s an easy thing to do because our brains are programmed to ‘need’ food at 12 or 1pm – it’s what we have been taught since our school days. The problem is if you work in an office (like myself) you are sedentary for a large part of the day. When I first started in this position I wore a heart rate monitor while sitting at my desk and recorded the results. Compared to my previous job when I was on my feet all day, getting hungry was normal because extra calories were being burnt but when you are seated the body is not working hard at all. Your not burning many calories while sitting at a desk so why then should I need a burger and chips, large pasta or other equally calorific meal when I just ate a few hours ago? Sure, I trained this morning but if you adequately re-fuelled at the end of the ride then you shouldn’t be starving at lunch. Sometimes it’s just a the thought of walking down to the shops for change in scenery that spurs the desire for some ‘grease’. Instead of pigging out pick a meal which is filling but is lower on the energy content. Don’t starve yourself because you’ll likely to work a further five or so hours plus the commute – on the bike – before getting home. That’s where picking a healthy afternoon snack also makes a difference. Stay away from the chocolate brownie or muffin! Choose a couple of pieces of fruit instead. Ok so it’s not as good but another couple of weeks of this firm will power and you’ll be firing up the climbs.

Changing lunch habits can do wonders to how you feel after lunch. I’m not a nutritionist but I take an active interest in learning about food and with a bit of common sense you can figure out what a good lunch is and what is not. I’m sure we’ll have another Ask RIDE regarding nutritional advice in the near future.

The next week should be another big hour/kilometre count. Use the last two weekends to do some long rides and shorter, intense efforts during the week. Longer intervals, of around 15 minutes can assist to simulate the effort required for the climbs on the day. If you have 5km-plus climbs nearby then ride up them, then down and back up. Nothing like hill repeats at a steady tempo to build your fitness. Take a look at some of the suggestions from our “I want to race, what next?” posts and use their professional advice and keep building. Not long to go…

This is what the weekend has in store:

Saturday – 4.5 hours with 4 x 5km SE (strength efforts). I will likely do the strength effort up the climbs or alternatively when doing a turn on the front of the bunch.

Sunday – 5 hours. Nothing specific, just good tempo and with a number of hills. No bunch today, all wind.

What is your plan?


PHOTO: Stuart Baker.


Alex Malone is the Technical Editor for RIDE Cycling Review. Follow him on Twitter @alexjmalone

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