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Training Tips

We value and appreciate everyone who wants to make a personal goal for finishing the American Cancer Society’s Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer. This cycling tour is designed so that each cyclist who wants to and has trained can pedal every mile whether he or she jams like a hammerhead or whose strength is fiery dedication because they have been personally touched by cancer. You will be given a wide time range to complete your miles, and all you need to do is set your own pace, and then enjoy the scenery and community of cyclists, volunteers, and cancer survivors.

Here are a few of the basics to get you started. Before starting any exercise program or diet, consult with your doctor first.

Mind and Body

Jump into a training plan head first with determination and enthusiasm, because the right attitude is half the battle, but take it slowly on your body and evaluate your preexisting abilities before getting aggressive with your program.

Stick With It

After you have committed to fundraising and training for the Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer, stick to a training routine and a steady schedule. If you are true to your training, then your endurance will come.

Staying healthy is more important than building your muscles

Get more sleep than usual. Studies show that at least seven to eight hours of sleep are required each night for adequate recovery during intense work out programs. Remember, muscles grow during periods of deep sleep when our growth hormone is optimally released.

Don't let your rides become routine

If you think you've mastered a great route, start switching it up because your body will stop responding to that exercise because it will become adapted. Remember if it's not burning, it's not working! Find several routes that you are comfortable with and feel safe training on so that you are continually stretching your body's abilities.

Don't worry about speed and cadence (right away)

The Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer is a life changing and life sustaining ride. It is neither a race nor a competition in any form. It's fun to turn events into a challenge personally so do the ride for yourself to test the boundless limits of your healthy body, not to see who can do it the fastest! Distance and time in the saddle supersede how fast you get from point A to point B. You will find a pace at which you excel the best during your training. Bike computers are relatively inexpensive and typically have about four or five useful functions that track your speed in miles per hour, cadence, trip distance, and average velocity and some computers even come in wireless nowadays. Speed should not be at the top of your list when training. It's quality over quantity. When you do want to work on speed, focus on high cadence pedaling to increase your efficiency and aid your form.

Cross train

During your cross training, you will vary your workouts the most and notice significant response from your muscles, joints, and lungs. Cross training also helps prevent the injuries often associated with repetitive endurance exercise. They also allow you to increase your training intensity without burning out. Try Yoga to help with your flexibility which will aid your body with handling soreness. Consider adding swimming into your exercise regimen, too. Swimming helps build your lung capacity and that will come in handy on the long rides. Also add walking, running or elliptical machine training to build strength and aerobic endurance.

Spend as much as time as possible in the saddle

Hit the road frequently, if for no other reason than to get comfortable on your seat and used to spending extended hours pedaling. If you traditionally ride more than seven hours a week, you may be able to taper your training to about 14 weeks out from the event. If you are considering the Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer as a developmental training event, then beginning about five months ahead can be beneficial. Although broadening your aerobic base is necessary, you should not devote more than three days a week to long, aerobic rides. Cycling is as much a technical sport as any other sport out there. Seek out a group, club, coach or friends that can help guide your training.

Consider all types of riding

Hill riding will prepare you for the different hill grades. Practice your form in the saddle as you pedal the incline, but also test your form out of the saddle as the hills get steeper.

  • Short intensity speed riding will ultimately make you a faster rider.
  • Build up your threshold for longer routes by tempo riding and finding a challenging but comfortable pace which you can ride for about 30 minutes steady.
  • Put together an endurance ride schedule so you can truly become ready for ride.
  • Recovery riding is just as crucial as the above rides because you need an active recovery rather than an immediate change in dynamic from the intense cardio. This is much like proper stretching so that you avoid soreness due to pulled muscles and injuries.
  • Another important element to keep in mind is to increase mileage gradually. When you train you break down muscle fibers. Training intensely everyday with no recovery will prevent muscle growth, and it also can break down the immune system leading to colds, flu and other ailments.

Eat and drink

You need enough calories to keep going. As you train, you will find out how many miles you can go with just water. You'll also see how much further you can hammer away once you increase your calorie intake. Calorie needs while riding vary in proportion to your body weight, road surface, the weight of your bike, the type of tires, wind resistance and how fast you are cycling. Consult a physician for a diet specific plan to fit your individual needs.

  • Carbohydrates provide more energy. A small 'before-workout' snack of carbohydrates and protein can fuel the body while training. A post workout protein shake can aide in recovery. Chocolate milk is often referred to as the official recovery drink for cyclists!
  • Eating a large breakfast is a good way to get a head start on your energy. Pancakes and bananas are a well respected standby! On the bike, it's recommended eating a minimum of 300 calories per hour so pack snacks (primarily from carbohydrates.) For example, Gatorade contains 150 calories (also meets hydration), while a granola bar will provide another 150. Power bars, power blocs or GU are some other sources of quick energy and easy to handle snacks for during a ride.
  • On a long ride, your overall goals should be to maintain fluid and energy balance. Consider having more than one water bottle cage on your bike.
  • Over hydration is just as dangerous as under hydration. During outdoor cycling, you have fluids as well as the breeze to cool your body. During winter months of training, indoor exercise causes increased sweating and an increased need for fluid intake.