When training begins so far away from the event, the closer it gets the more you’ll be thinking about how to optimise your training and make sure you are set up to do the best you can and enjoy the day. We spoke to Andy from Andy Cook Cycling on what to do in the weeks leading up to your event.
A couple of weeks before your event.
In order to kick-start the body’s adaptation process you first need to put your body under a training load with either intense sessions (intervals, strength work) or greater volume; this would have been achieved through your long term training plan. If you were not to “ease up” and taper your training in the lead up to the event your body wouldn’t have the chance to adapt, meaning you would go into the event tired and unable to perform at your optimum.
Adaptation takes place when you rest and recover, so just like rest days during training are important, so is tapering your training a couple of weeks before your event. This allows your body to adapt so it is primed and ready for action on the day. An example of tapering would be decreasing your training volume while maintaining and few short and sharp sessions which focus on your energy systems.
Make sure you continue to maintain a good nutritional strategy and sleep patterns. Just because you have eased off on the volume and possibly have more time does not mean that you should relax and adopt bad habits leading up to the event! This means saying no to an increased alcohol intake, late nights, inappropriate fast food consumption etc.
With your extra time you should focus on being 100% ready to race, make sure:
- Your bike is in tip top working order, get a service if you can’t do it yourself. Make sure that you leave enough time for the bike to be re-ridden to make sure cables are stretched (if they had to be replaced) and that tyres, brake blocks etc. are bedded in on a few rides before the big day.
- Your cycling kit is not fresh out the packet and unworn. Wear it at least once and wash it again to make sure there are no seams rubbing etc.
- Simple tasks are not left to the last minute. Such things as downloading the route etc.
- Check your accommodation’s bike storage options if you have to stay overnight before the event to make sure it will be safe
- You write a kit list of the additional things that you are likely to need such as nutrition supplies (Energy Bars, Energy Gels), inner tubes etc.
- You avoid the temptation to do that ‘one last hard session’. The adaptation process will have begun and it’s likely that you’re beginning to feel fresh prior to the event itself and as such want to go out and “test” yourself. In reality you will do a great ride but then impact the ride that you have actually trained for. It’s not worth it.
- You don’t change your diet leading up to the event, this can have a massive impact on your performance. Continue to eat a balanced diet and most importantly ensure you stay hydrated leading up to the event.
The day before your event
It is very easy on the day before any major event/competition to completely undo all the good discipline and training by not thinking through a few simple steps.
- It’s all too easy to succumb to junk food if you’re travelling via motorway services/airports etc. Make up good nutritious food and take it with you.
- Ensure plenty of water the day before the event.
- Make sure to be prepared for next morning’s breakfast. It is easy to miss a breakfast if the hotel doesn’t provide food (or the right food). Simple solution: take some oats and a travel kettle with you. (As well as a bowl and spoon!!) Easy to make a quick bowl of porridge in the morning to ensure the ingestion of some slow release carbohydrates.
- Go through your nutritional strategy for the day and plan out contingencies for different weather conditions. E.g. on a particularly hot day you may need to carry more ZERO. And don’t forget recovery for after!
The most important thing is to relax, obviously there will some element of nerves but follow these tips and you can enjoy the event knowing that you have prepared as best as you possibly can.