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Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

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Fitness Consultant


How should I train for the London to Paris cycle?

Hi. A team from the office have asked me to join them in a charity cycle ride from London to Paris in 3 1/2 days. I'm a commuter cyclist, doing from 5-15 miles a day 3-4 days a week. I'm 45 and several stone overweight, but my heart/blood-pressure are fine. One of the team suggests if up my route to 2x15miles a week I'll be fine. I'm sceptical! What do I need to work up to? Many thanks, Jonathan


Our expert says...

Hi Jonathan,

This sounds like a great event for you and the more prepared you are for it the more you will enjoy it.

The cycling you are currently doing is a great start and will have given you a degree of fitness and bike confidence. In order for you to be fully prepared for the event, I recommend that you include a longer steady ride at the weekends. Initially this should be 20-25 miles gradually building upto 50-60 miles. You should aim to get at least two 50-60 mile long steady rides in before the event. During these longer rides try to include some hills to get the muscles used to climbing and gain experience of riding different gradients. Try introducing a social aspect to these longer rides by completing them with your colleagues who are also doing the event or other friends or family. Riding with others is also a good way to pace yourself and ensure you aren't working too hard as you should always be able to hold a conversation.

Something to think about whilst your out riding, whether commuting to work or on a longer ride, is your cadence (the speed at which your legs rotate). Focussing on your cadence in training will promote a number of physiological changes including a greater aerobic capacity and an increase in leg strength and efficiency. In order to develop your cadence you should select a gear that feels most comfortable when you are cycling (irrelevant of the gradient). Try to keep a steady RPM of about 60-80 RPM as this will encourage good technique and a more efficient riding style. Over time you will notice that you will develop the ability to push bigger gears whilst maintaining the same RPM. If you don't have a bike computer to measure RPM you can also simply wait until your on a straight piece of road and time yourself for 60secs and count each time your right foot hits the bottom of the stroke (or the 6 o'clock position).

Nothing will prepare you for your event better than actually getting on a bike and cycling. However, work, family or other commitments may prevent you from cycling as much as you'd like but other activities such as swimming, running, fast walking, other sports even climbing flights of stairs will all contribute to your preparation.
Good luck with the challenge!
Hope this helps,

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