People often ask us how fit you need to be to take part in MizMal. It's a hard question to answer! Lets just say there are very few people who can jump on their bike tomorrow and cycle an average of 85 miles for six or seven days in a row. MizMal-ers are often leisure cyclists rather than racers. Many of us struggle to keep the balls sufficiently in the air to get one or two half decent weekend runs. Perhaps the question should be "how fit do I need to become?". You don't need to aspire to athlete status. The key thing is to stay as injury free as possible. Everyone is different, but here is a suggested "base" from which to work from... If you can ride 50 to 70 miles once or twice at the weekend then over a two to three month period you should be okay for MizMal. Of course there are other factors, like your age, general health conditions, injuries, available training time, etc.. If you start there you will have a good idea how much effort YOU need to invest. Here are a couple of rough principles:
- Try to fit your training into your regular riding habits... add a few more miles at the end, or a few more hills
- At some stage try to do two or three days in a row. Bank holiday weekends are ideal!
- Tighten up on diet. You will notice a difference if you shed 5 kilos! Especially on the climbs.
- If time is tight then just ride your bike instead of frantically trying to visit the gym.
- If you have time to spend off the bike, then it's good to work on Core Strengthening. There are all sorts of exercises that will help. A Google search is a good place to start. Mix it up a bit. A Kettle Bell is very versatile - great for core work and cheap to buy too. Build in some 'planks' and some 'crunches' and you'll be flyin'!
- If that still leaves you with time and motivation, then work on muscle development. Squats will strengthen the gluts... often ignored, and great for cycling. Take the stairs two at a time.
- Spin class? Can be hard work, however a 30 minute class on full gas can be very beneficial without too much time commitment. An experienced leader will know how to get the best out of the short time.
- Most of all, don't risk injury and practise a positive mindset in everything. Like all things in life don't underestimate the impact of a positive outlook on the body. Have fun!
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