I was recently convinced by two very good friends to do a 40 mile charity ride around NYC – the 5Boro Bike Tour. I’ve been wanting to start biking for years, and charity events are a passion of mine. Plus, I’m always looking to visit one of my very best friends in NY…so, this seemed like a great idea all around. When I committed to the ride in January, May 3rd seemed so far away, and I thought I had plenty of time to train. Then came the infamous 2015 Boston Winter.
Now, I’m sort of an anxious person, so by March, I started thinking I should get moving (keep in mind, I didn’t yet own a bike). While I was waiting for my bike to come in after I ordered it, and waiting even longer for the 7 foot snow mounds to melt in my neighborhood, I spent time riding a stationary bike indoors, picked up my running a bit, and concentrated on a well rounded leg and core strengthening routine. All important for building muscular endurance needed for a long ride…especially one with hills. Once the snow did melt, my friend and I started doing longer weekend rides around Boston, and I found time most weeks to do one shorter ride around my neighborhood that included hills.
The weekend of the ride came, and though a bit nervous, I felt ready (enough). We couldn’t have asked for a better day, and the ride was amazing! It turned out to be an incredible way to see the city, and I’m so grateful to my friends for convincing me to sign up for the event. The ride, and our weekend rides leading up to the event, gave us lots of opportunities to catch up on our lives outside of our usual happy hour or dinner dates. It got me training my body in a whole new way, and I do feel stronger because of it. In fact, now I can almost keep up with my husband on bike rides, and I’m enjoying Spring in a whole new way this year. So, I’m encouraging you to go out there and sign up for a charity run/walk/ride/triathelon. Enlisting the help of a trainer prior to an event is never a bad idea, but here are a few tips for your next endurance event:
- Get a good pair of shoes. You’re going to be racking up a lot of miles, so get fitted properly or even consider getting your gait assessed.
- Increase the distance you run or bike by no more than 10% each week.
- Include workouts focused on increasing speed also to alternate on the days you increase distance.
- Cross train…with other forms of cardio and definitely with strength training.
- Don’t forget your flexibility. Stretch more than you’re used to, or try that new yoga studio you’ve heard about.
- For short events, there’s probably no need to change your diet too much. “Carb loading” is certainly not necessary, but do seek out a Nutritionist who specializes in sports nutrition for any particularly long or challenging event.
- Eat enough and drink enough water for the days leading up to your event.
I hope you all find time to challenge yourself this Spring and Summer with a new event or workout routine. Once you start training for an event, you’ll find motivation and enjoyment in exercise again, and you’ll really appreciate how amazing it is to see your goal through. Signing up is the first step…what are you waiting for??