Having recently posted about what would happen if you stopped training I thought I should make some comments about starting training.
I have set myself the challenge of riding a one or two week route in June. When I first conceived this idea June was a long way away. I had plenty of time to get myself in shape to tackle up to 15 days of cycling a 100 miles or so a day. But that was months ago and the time has slipped without any sign of proper training. In fact, by the time Easter is over I will have a mere 2 months.
I have tried to squeeze some extra riding in by tackling a slightly longer and much more hilly route on my thrice weekly commute to work. In my third week I have reverted to my usual route, my legs protesting too strongly to be ignored. That may be due, in part, to the only non commute road ride I have made in a long time at the weekend. It was a ride I have ridden many time and is the shortest route I can ride door to door that goes up onto Dartmoor. It is 40 miles and has about 1400m of vertical ascent (and, of course, descent).
This morning, I felt totally shattered as I clawed my way to work. At first I put it down to the raging headwind I was battling against. But then I realised that the daffodils on the side of the road were not even wavering in the gentle breeze. Next I decided it was simply lack of sleep; pains in my shoulder and arms have been making it difficult to sleep for a couple of weeks and I was up until the wee hours trying to winkle 277 nasty bugs and viruses out of my son’s laptop last night. In desperation I thought it might be the wrong coffee before I set off; not enough caffeine in the bloodstream.
The reality is I am not fit enough. It is a worry. In a week’s time I am supposed to be cycling to my parents’ house on the Isle of Wight. The plan is to test out what would be my first day’s route should I decide to ride the All Counties of England route in June on a 9 day schedule. It would be the longest day at around 170 miles and I want to know whether it is feasible. Right now it seems crazy.
So, what happens when you start training? You feel tired, your legs ache and you want to give up. What do you do about it? Either give up or plod on. As long as you don’t overdo things, if you continue to push yourself you will get fitter and things will get easier. If you want to reach a fitter state you need to push through the hard rides to get there.
Is trying to ride 170 miles on Good Friday on the back of a mere 40 mile ride and some base level commuting a good training regime? No. Does it classify as overdoing it? Yes. Will I make the attempt? Maybe.