You’ve done it – signed up for a bike marathon, and now face the daunting challenge of preparing for it. Even if you run the event through your mind, you are likely to face some unexpected changes and surprises once you actually start cycling. Thus, the best thing you can do is prepare and heed the advice of the millions of cyclists who participated in such events in the past. Hopefully, our tips will help you succeed.
Prep your bike
A marathon will require your bike to function under strain for hours (if not days), so you should do everything possible to prevent it from breaking down during the event. This includes performing a checkup one or two days before the race, and fixing anything that is required – tire pressure, chain oiling, brake performance, etc.
In case something unfortunate does happen during the marathon, you will be better off if you have a basic set of tools for a bike with you. This way, you should manage to resolve most issues in minutes and get back to the race.
Train (and rest) adequately
To build up the strength and endurance necessary to get through a marathon with a decent time, it is recommended to start training for it several months in advance. You can practice cycling at medium and high speeds, in short and long intervals, and pay special attention to uphill cycling. Rest is also important, and you should leave at least one day a week of full rest. Before the marathon, this could be up to a whole week of rest. It is also recommended to avoid major changes to sleeping and exercise regimens before participation.
Don’t forget about the ‘group’ factor
The event that you participate in will likely have dozens, or hundreds of cyclists, so you will not always have free reign to cycle the way you want throughout the race. Accordingly, you should pick up the skills necessary to move within a group, overtake and yield to other participants, and maintain a safe distance. If you plan to take part with friends, you could arrange joint training sessions to get a more realistic feel of the upcoming event.
Stock up on products
If the race is to take place within the scope of 1 day, you will not need to take a lot of food and drinks with you, but having a few such products is nonetheless important. Not all organizers provide food and drink at checkpoints in the race, and even if they do, it is not always convenient to visit them. With this in mind, you can take a bottle and some granola bars to keep your energy up throughout the challenge.
Become familiar with the route
Most organizers provide information about a marathon’s starting and finish point, as well as a map of it. You can easily inspect this map, figure out what kind of terrain and slopes it includes, which areas can be challenging, where you could rest, etc. You can even try riding through sections of the route beforehand to get a feel for it.