Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I really have to train?
A: Yes! Yes! And Yes! Cycle4haiti is designed for people of all levels of fitness as long as you are prepared to do a bit of training. You should start training a few months before the event. How you start training for a long-distance bike ride depends largely on your present fitness level, age and the amount of cycling you have done in the past. There are various ways to train for your challenge; below are various training regimes that can be adapted to fit into your personal lifestyle. Please remember we have all shapes, sizes and ages take part in Cycle4haiti as we work together as a team to ensure everyone gets to Galway together. Whatever your fitness level now, as long as you’re prepared to do a bit of training, we will get you to Galway.
Non-Cyclists / Low Fitness
The sample 9-week training program below shows how you will need to gradually build up the Kilometers to be able to cycle for up to 8 hours a day. To begin with though, avoid overstretching yourself; don’t ride in a gear that’s too difficult or as fast as you can. Regular training sessions will allow you to develop your speed and adjust to different gears.
People who have not ridden a bike for several years or indeed at all would be advised to start their training regime earlier than shown below. Kilometers should be built up gradually to avoid injury and over exercise, and to establish a good base fitness on which to build the stamina levels you will need on a cycle challenge.
Social Cyclists / Moderately Fit
This category might include anyone who has been cycling intermittently over the years, perhaps by cycling to work in the summer or regular Sunday rides with the family. As you will have a degree of basic fitness and confidence built up from previous cycling, 1 month or so of training should prepare you for the ride.
The 9-week sample training program below should enable you to gradually build up your kilometers to be able to take on the challenge. If you feel you will need more training time, plan ahead and start training earlier. Be honest with yourself: you will enjoy the challenge much more if your fitness levels are good.
Regular Cyclists / Fit
This category would include people who cycle regularly throughout the year, whether it be commuting 25KM or more to work a day or training seriously with weekend races and time trials. People within this category should already have a good training schedule and will be amply fit to take part in Cycle4haiti however we suggest you step up training for long days of riding at 25KM per hour for 2hour periods if you plan to cycle option 1 from Dublin to Galway.
People included within the commuting bracket may find it a good idea to step up their weekly KM by cycling a longer route to work, or doing a brief morning or evening ride and by also doing regular weekend rides.
Q: I want to take part but I’m not sure which stage to do?
If you are a regular Cyclist/Fit and can cycle at an average of 25kph for a 2 hour period we would suggest you take part in stage 1 from Dublin – Galway. We will cover just over 100km in 4hours with 1 stop after 50km between Dublin and Athlone.
If you are more inclined to cycling at a slower pace or you are a new cyclists we would suggest you take part in stage 2 Athlone – Galway.
We would like to remind everyone that all cyclists will join together as one group in Athlone and complete the challenge as one large team helping and encouraging each other along the way. The average speed from Athlone to Galway will be 20kph.
Nobody is left behind and nobody cycles on their own.
This training guide is just that, a ‘guide’! With work, family and fundraising commitments you might not be able to follow it to the letter, but you can maximise your training time by making some small changes to your routine.
Get up an hour earlier and go out for a quick cycle with some stretching in the morning before work, it will get you moving and ready for the day!
If you can cycle to work, do so. If you can’t cycle the whole distance between work and home, why not cycle to a station/bus stop in between home and work and then continue your journey on public transport. You will obviously need to be happy that you are able to leave your bike in a safe and secure place!
Use your lunchtimes to take regular brisk walks or cycle around where you work.
Find a steep set of stairs i.e. five floors of a department store/office block and climb them five times, at least three times per week.
Try your local leisure center or gym. You may be able to get a fitness instructor to design a program specifically for you. Make use of the exercise bikes or try spinning classes, where you can train hard with other people and an instructor. You still need to cycle as much as possible in ‘real’ conditions. The more you can train in similar conditions to your challenge, both in terms of terrain and weather, the better.
Try to get to some hilly country at the weekends to experience cycling on different surfaces, hills and of course the weather in all its variety!
Train using the kit you want to use in your challenge. If you’re planning to use SPDs (clipless pedals) on your challenge, get used to them well in advance – most people fall off a few times when getting used to them!
Try to cycle some consecutive days; you might ache a bit after one full day’s cycling but the best way to improve your fitness and stamina is to go out again the next day!
Cycling is very beneficial to your body and the best way to prepare for your challenge but you can add other activities to your training to improve your general fitness. Playing squash, tennis or badminton, going to the gym, cycling or swimming for an hour or more will improve your fitness and keep you interested in your training. While you may not stick to the training guide exactly, you need to make time to train. You will enjoy the challenge far more if you are physically fit!