In this article we catch up with Elivar CEO & Co-Founder, Donal Hanrahan, who is currently ramping up his training in preparation for this years epic 815km Mavic Haute Route Rockies event. We talk goals, training tips and how to survive a multi-day tour or training camp.
As my early forties started to sneak past me, I found that I needed to keep setting goals to motivate myself to keep training. Going to the gym for no apparent reason didn't do it for me, nor did the odd weekend amble on the bike.
As a rower in my younger days we trained right through the winter without any bother. A wet and windy December morning? No problem - out of bed and off to the river. Roll on 20 years and I just needed to look at the Snooze Button to reset my alarm clock.
The difference was a goal, a purpose, a reason to get out of bed and make the effort. As rowers we were training for the summer racing season, chasing our version of glory and whatever it took was what got done.
So now I set a goal. I try to find an event that brings me somewhere new, both geographically and physically. A change of scene is always good, new towns, new people but it also changes the route profile - gradient & length of climbs. A healthy fear of the unknown has a habit of focusing the mind. Variety is the spice of life apparently, so mix it up and enter events that require you to pack your bags and go travel.
Training Tip 1 - What Happens After The Event
There are plenty of online training programs out there and many events will provide a basic training plan to get you into reasonable shape for the big day. However what very few of them tell you is that you need to have a plan for AFTER the event also.
The purpose of the event was to get us training in the first place. With all the focus on the event itself there is every possibility that we'll reverse right back to where we started from if we don't put some structure around the days and weeks after the event. It comes back to having another a goal, even a modest one, to keep you moving forward with all your fitness gains.
Typically I'll have my main target for the year followed by a "fun" target. The "fun" target keeps me ticking over while I'm laying plans for the following years main target.
Training Tip 2 - Time & Priorities
Cycling can take up a lot of time - especially the weekend club ride. Unless you're a professional then your cycling is probably at best No. 3 after Work & Family ("no specific order there, honey"). So for most of us it's a question of working around our priorities.
What works in my case is training early in the morning mid-week - before getting kids up for school. It means I see 5 am or 6 am on my alarm clock more than I'd like, but training in the evenings isn't practical in my world. As we head into late spring / early summer my mid-week sessions will be 75-90 min long high intensity sessions. So worst case I'm rolling out the door at 6 am two or three mornings a week so I can be back by 7:30 am to wake my cherubs for school.
Everyone is different but I've come to realise that there is plenty of time for enough training - It may not be as much as I might like, but its more than enough to achieve my goals each year.
Surviving A Multi-Day Tour Or Training Camp
Assuming you have prepared properly and have enough training under your belt, then the following tips will help you surviving a Multi-Day Tour or intensive Training Camp:
- Maximise your rest - Rest whenever you can. Don't spend hours on your feet in the evenings. Sitting with a cold beer and some fellow cyclists watching the world go by counts as rest in my book.
- Maximise your energy intake - Eating on the bike is as much about fueling tomorrow as it is about today's effort. Off the bike just keep eating - "double-dinners" is one of my favourites, a main course pizza as a starter and a main course pasta dish for main course. Just avoid anything with too much fibre....
- Relax - Be social, laugh lots and enjoy wherever you happen to be. Avoid anyone moaning (excessively) about how tough it is, how crap they feel or how badly organised this or that is. If that's you, then get more rest, maximise your energy intake and relax!
Follow Donal to see if he practices what he preaches (it hasn't always been so!) during this years Haute Route Rockies, 24th to 30th June, 2017. Boulder, Colorado. 815km & 15,000M+
Riding the route of the Giro D'Italia would be a challenge for most normal cyclists. 3,400 km over 21 stages between the 5-28th May. But what if you were 77 years old? Well, meet Mick Ives.