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Six training tips to prepare you for the Ring of Kerry cycle

There is only two months to go until the country’s biggest sportive.

AROUND TEN THOUSAND people managed to register in time for the Ring of Kerry cycle on Saturday July 5. If you were one of these lucky people, it’s time to ramp up your training.

With just two months to go until the country’s biggest sportive, it’s the perfect time to give you some advice on what you should be doing on and off the bike right now.

The most important thing to remember is that no matter where you are in terms of your training, it’s never too late to start. The 100 mile cycle is not impossible, for anyone. Even if you do 10 miles an hour, you will have plenty hours of daylight left to complete it.

Follow these six training tips and we’ll get you there:

1. You don’t need to train on climbs

Even though there are some long(ish) climbs included on the route, such as Molls Gap towards the end, you don’t need to be doing timed intervals up the highest mountain passes.

Molls Gap 24/5/2001 Molls Gap, Co.Kerry Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

2. Get a bike computer

It doesn’t need to cost a fortune but having something to monitor your speed, time and distance is important.

Breaking down your training load into smaller, more manageable chunks is going to be the key to success.

3. Vary your training

Finding the time to train is often harder than the training itself. Between work, sleep and family commitments there’s often very little left over for quality training. And we emphasize the word quality.

If your aim is to arrive in Killarney in a fit enough state to complete the ROK,  we would suggest two long (ish) spins in the week (90-100k +), one steady spin where a conversation is difficult to maintain (1.5-2 hours) and one speedy where a conversation is impossible to sustain (1-1.5 hours). Long spins should be done at around 65%, steady around 70-75%, and speedy upwards of that.

4. Every mile counts

The more miles you log now, the better you’ll be. Whether it is commuting in and out of work, crossing town or city to visit a friend or however you fit in a cycle.

Think of it this way; if you ride just 5 kilometers to and from work every day that’s 50k completed, a not insignificant amount. Add a couple of longer spins in on the weekend and you’re well on your way.

5. Stay loose

On the days you’re not training, try to do some form of mobility exercises to keep your muscles loose. Long hours in the saddle can result in soreness in the lower back, shoulders and backs of the legs.

It’s important to do some stretching or in an ideal world, some yoga and/or pilates. Foam rolling is also beneficial to soothe tired muscles.

6. Be kind to yourself

We’re specifically referring to your buttocks here. There’s no getting away from the fact that more time in the saddle leads to a greater risk of developing soreness, irritation or at worst, saddle sores.

But there are a number of things you can do to prevent or alleviate or prevent pain, brought about by repeated trauma on your bum from being in the saddle.

A few tips are to buy some quality cycling shorts that fit you very well. (They must not be loose or baggy). Use a quality chamois cream that is kind to your skin. Try different saddles. Vary your position on the bike; sit forward, sit back, come up out of the saddle for 20 seconds every few minutes. This not only takes the pressure off certain areas but uses different muscles in your legs and back also.

Read: ‘They don’t take it easy on me in training just ’cause I’m that bit older’

Read: Want shoulders fast? Follow this plan…

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About the author:

Brian Canty

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