The whole seven weeks have been leading up to this. If you’ve followed the training plan since week one, you should be feeling fit, comfortable on the bike, and ready to go. All you need to do now is take a couple of tune-up rides and get mentally ready for your race.
Week 8 – Getting ready for race day
The aim of this week is to keep your legs firing while allowing your body to recover and top up your energy reserves. Tuesday should be an easy 45-minute ride at talking pace (TP), followed by 30 minutes at talking pace (TP) on Thursday. Your last training ride will be Sunday when you’ll do easy 20 minutes to keep your legs engaged. It might feel like you should ride more, you have plenty of energy and the race is coming up. Don’t! Trust in the training you’ve done, you wouldn’t be able to properly recover from extra last-minute rides, and they would do more harm than good.
Spend your remaining time organizing the kit you will need and preparing any food and drinks you are planning to bring. Check the weather forecast the day before your race and adjust your clothing and hydration accordingly. If you feel nervous, it helps to visualize the following day. Go through your kit, your way there, your nutrition, and how it feels riding your bike. Your body is ready, so allow your mind to enjoy the experience too.
Don’t make any changes
The most common mistake new cyclists do at race day is they make last-minute changes. They buy some new energy bar at the event, they get too excited and start the race riding way faster than they normally would, or they don’t follow their prep routine and forget an important piece of gear. Your moto for race day is: stick to what you know. Ride the same pace you do in training, if you have extra energy towards the end, that’s the time to spend it, not in the beginning. And definitely don’t experiment with food and drinks, digestive issues are a sure way to ruin your experience. Just do your thing and enjoy the atmosphere.
By following this 8-week Beginner 50k Training Plan you have become fitter, healthier and an overall better cyclist, no matter the result of your race. Compare your first rides with how well you cycle now, and the difference will tell you all you need to now. You’ve built a valuable habit that you can keep enjoying for as long as you want. And if you had fun racing, then there are always new challenges ahead. How about a 100k race?