Best Warm-up before Your Long Ride
A long ride can range from around 40 km up to more than 150 km which means you need all the preparation you need to endure and enjoy it. Increasing your distance and having a good training routine will help you prepare for your body for the gruelling task ahead.
What is a Long Ride?
The concept of a long ride may differ depending on the type of cyclist that you are. For a casual cyclist, a long ride maybe anything more than 15 km. However, long-distance cyclists are used to cycling 100 km or more.
A long ride can be demanding for the body. A cyclist needs endurance, proper fuelling, the right training, and mental strength to be able to complete a long ride.
Before training for a long ride, it is essential to know how long your distance will be. It takes the right training and conditioning to be in shape. You cannot rush or cram your training if you want to be fully ready for a long ride.
How to Prepare for a Long Ride
Getting ready for a long ride is not an easy task. Like any other intense and long physical activity, long-distance cycling requires you to be in the best physical and mental condition. Here are some of the ways to prepare for a long ride.
· Increase your V0₂
You need to achieve your maximum oxygen consumption capabilities or VO₂ or the maximum amount of oxygen that your body can use during a maximal activity like a long ride. Your body’s capacity to absorb oxygen dictates how much power your body can generate to do intense activities. You can increase your body’s ability to absorb oxygen by doing interval training. Interval training boosts the capacity of your lungs for oxygen. It will enable you to ride longer at your best.
· Prep your bike
Your bike will be with you in the entire duration of your ride. Like a weapon for war, you must be sure that your bike is in good shape and suitable for the distance that you are cycling.
· Good nutrition
Protein and carbohydrates are essential to make your body ready for a long ride. Long-distance cycling will demand your body to use a lot of calories. However, this does not mean you can wolf down any food you want. You need to consume the right kinds of food to maximise your body’s capacity. Carbohydrates will provide you with the fuel you need while protein will be vital for your recovery.
· Warm-up properly
After all the training and preparation, you are more or less ready for the actual day of your long ride. On the day itself, you need to warm up properly to ensure that your body will be in the right condition for the long task ahead.
Importance of Warm-up in Cycling
Warming up is essential to transition your body from its resting state to an active state. The right warm-up will lessen the possibility of injury while increasing your blood flow for the activity that you will undertake.
A proper warm-up will make your muscles more pliant, fluid, and less likely to stiffen up during your long ride. It will also get your joints ready for the range of motion you will perform during your ride.
The rule of thumb for the proper warm-up is, the more intense and shorter your event is, the longer the warm-up should be. It’s opposite for longer events, which require shorter but efficient warm-ups nonetheless.
The type, duration, and intensity of warm-up will vary depending on the skill level and athleticism of a cyclist. However, the best warm-up is usually composed of basic components that will prepare your body for a long ride.
Best Warm-up for a Long Ride
Before your long ride, you have to make sure that your body is primed and ready to take on the challenge ahead of you. A warm-up can bring your body from its resting state to a state of optimised efficiency. However, you should be careful not to have a long and strenuous warm-up because this will drain your body for a long ride.
Here is the best warm-up for a long ride.
· 10-15 minutes – spin easy to moderate cycling
This general warm-up of low-intensity cycling typically lasts 10 minutes. Start slow, then accelerate to a moderate pace. It will gradually prepare your body and increase your working heart rate, making you physically ready to start your long ride. It’s also the opportunity to check if your bicycle is in good shape.
· Short Light Stretching
Stretching before you ride your bike is crucial, especially for your legs. However, do not spend too much time on your stretches as this can tire you out before you even start. Perform your stretches just after you cycle, right when your muscles are still warm.
There are two kinds of stretches you can do before a long ride. The first type is static stretching, which you can perform for a certain period in a single position. Some static stretches you can do before a long ride are quad stretch, hamstring stretch, hip flexor stretch, and calf stretch.
The second type is dynamic stretching, a movement-specific and functional type of stretching. Before your long ride, try to do some dynamic lunges, dynamic torso twists, high knees, and dynamic jumps as part of your stretching routine.
Warm-up is essential before a long ride, but don’t forget to cool down after your long ride to help your body wind down and recover properly. A good warm-up, along with good cycling training routine and a well-maintained bicycle will physically prepare you and put you in the optimum condition for a long ride.
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