Training Tips from GYGIG

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Never participated in an endurance cycling event? You’re NOT alone. Many of the former participants of Get Your Guts in Gear began their training as novice riders. This page is intended for people like you!

First off, before beginning any intensive training, make sure you are cleared by your doctor to participate in a long distance cycling event. Being in good health before taking on an endeavor such as GYGIG is extremely important for everyone and especially for those with Crohn’s or colitis.

Next, you will want to begin considering the type of bike you will want to train on and ultimately use for GYGIG. Purchasing a bike, or borrowing one from a friend, requires a couple of different components. Finding the right bike for your intentions is key. Go to your local bike shop and begin asking questions. Not only are you going to want a bike that is the correct size for you, you will also want to get fitted to your bike to make your cycling experience pleasurable and pain free! Check out our “Buying Your First Road Bike For GYGIG” page.

After registering for GYGIG, logistical information will be sent to you via email or snail mail. This will include an 8 week training schedule by a USA Cycling licensed expert coach. This is intended as a guide for our novice riders and will help condition you for the terrain you will encounter on the GYGIG route. Our staff and volunteers will also keep in touch with you about your training.

Weather may play a factor in your early training regimen. Here are some options to consider in the colder spring weather:

Join a spin class to begin building endurance.
Benefits of this will be:

To learn proper positioning on the bike and to use good form throughout each session. A good spin instructor will try to make the ride feel as close as possible to being outside on your own bike. Spinning will build your base, enhance your cardiovascular system, and help you gain strength and endurance for the transition to the real thing. Plus, it’s fun and motivating.

Cross Training
Introduce cross training into your training program.

Participating in Core classes, Pilates, or Yoga, will strengthen your core and improve your balance and flexibility; all of which will help you through a multi-day cycling event.

If you do not have access to a gym, or cannot afford one, you can do very effective workouts right in your own home. Consider a couple of targeted workout DVDs, find the exercise station on your TV, or just do a 20 min routine of squats, push-ups and pull-ups. Holding a plank for 2 minutes a day is a wonderful whole body exercise. Start at holding for 30seconds and gradually work your way up to 2 minutes or longer.

Walk the hills
If you have access to hiking trails, parks, or Conservancy lands, go on a vigorous 45 walk incorporating hills. This will strengthen your quadriceps, glutes, flexors, and hamstrings, all of which you need to ride. Your heart and lungs will be happy too!

Consider purchasing a heart rate monitor. You will learn where your aerobic and anerobic zones are, and it’s a good way to measure your performance. You can keep track of your daily rides and workouts, making adjustments if you need to. You will have days you feel great, and days where the effort is difficult. Try to stay with your program, but be aware and back off if you aren’t having the best day. You will probably plateau about 4 to 6 weeks into your training, and that is when you need to just maintain for a week before you ask your body for more. Also, remember that recovery is just as important as the effort.

Pre/ Post Hydration and Food Consumption While Training
Make sure your are consuming a diet that is healthy and compatible for training. Consuming healthy snacks prior and during ling rides will help your body avoid “Bonking”, running out of energy. You want to build up a good supply of carbs (stored as glycogen) in your muscles so that you can use that energy on your rides. Consult with a nutritionist if you are unsure of proper diet.

Staying hydrated all day will help you during those hot days when you will sweat a lot while training. Try bringing a reusable water bottle to work and take small sips throughout the day. Make it a goal to consume 2 water bottles full on top of what you will drink when cycling or working out that day. It’s difficult at first especially if you are not used to drinking lots of water, but your body will thank you and you will have more energy during the day. Check out the video below for more tips on staying hydrated.

How+to+Stay+Hydrated+While+Cycling— powered by LIVESTRONG.COM
*Interested in trying sports drinks? Some favorites of the GYGIG community are: Gatorade, Cytomax (Linnea’s favorite), Accelerade, Propel, and Powerade.

It’s a good idea to experiment with the gels and energy bars before your ride. Find out which ones agree with you and your digestive system. Some popular gels are Gu and powerbar. There are numerous energy bars on the market. We prefer the ones with the most natural ingredients such as Clif, Luna, and Powerbar. Try Muscle Milk or chocolate milk consumption after a long workout. High quality protein helps your muscles recover from a strenuous effort.

After 1 hour or many hours in the saddle, it’s always a good idea to be nice to your body and stretch. Your muscles have worked hard and chances are you are carrying some tension and stress in your neck, back and shoulders. Be sure to stretch your calves, quads, glutes and hamstrings. Be good to your upper body as well, stretching out the fingers, shoulders, chest, sides and neck.

Consider treating yourself to a massage every 3 weeks during your training program. This is excellent for working out any knots, working the hydrogen ions ( Lactate build-up) out of your muscles, and effectively draining the lymphatic system. As a bonus, you’ll enjoy a good nights sleep.

If you have any questions regarding our training tips page, feel free to contact us at: