Paul Griffin – Training Advice, Suggestions and Tips.

Paul Griffin – Training Advice, Suggestions and Tips.
(Thanks to Eamon Collier for submitting this great article)

Training Schedule

Training for an Endurance event of 5 x 80-90 miles daily, will best be undertaken through a regular and consistent training programme. The present training schedule of Tuesday and Thursday evening runs and followed by Saturday and Sunday runs is sufficient, however, if some riders want to do additional, all the better. The weekend runs need to be around three hours duration at this stage, building incrementally to four hours. The Tuesday and Thursday need to be extended to two hours. (Paul’s emphasis was not on miles covered but on hours in the saddle).

Ideally, the average speed achieved on the longer runs at the weekend e.g. 16 mph would require that the shorter runs on Tuesday and Thursday would be attempted at a higher average speed by 2 to 3 mph.

By the end of March, club members doing the Malin to Mizen would be achieving four training sessions of two 2 four hour sessions (average pace) and 2 two hour sessions (average w/e pace plus 2-3 mph).

Due to the nature of an endurance event, warm ups and warm downs are not really called for, although the spins might start for the first five minutes with a gentle spin out.

Easter weekend will allow for 4 consecutive days at 4 hours a day, and this will add a considerable boost to fitness levels for the event. No need to do any more, as you don’t want a dress rehearsal!

The week before the Event, is ‘a rest week’ consisting of gentle spins of shorter duration.

General Nutritional Advice During the Event

Breakfast for the event could consist of porridge or weetabix an hour before the start time. Fried foods (i.e. full Irish are a waste of effort). Scrambled egg, beans and pasta would provide an alternative.

Once on the bike, the body needs about 60g of carbohydrates every hour, preferably in liquid form, Hi-Fives is suggested. You need two bottles on the bike, and three made up in the support vehicle. You need carbs in the bottle! Additionally, riders need to take five/six ‘energy bars’ for hourly consumption. These can be sports bars or Nutrigrain.

Paul was not in favour of regular or long breaks during each day’s event. Muscle condition deteriorates and body gets cold! No need to stop for food as you have everything you need on the bike in terms of energy/fuel. If however, for the social purposes, a break was required, he suggested a duration of no more than 10 to 15 minutes.

Recovery after Each Day of the Event

Paul placed a strong emphasis on the following advice. Once finished the day’s cycling, the main objective was to provide the muscle tissue with an immediate source of protein and carb. This could be in the form of a protein drink and a carb bar, crucially, consumed before you changed out of cycling gear, and certainly within 60 minutes of finishing the day’s run. This intake will reduce muscle ache the following day as it allows for the tissue to begin the immediate task of repair after the demands of the day.

Paul’s own approach, is to consume a tin of Ambrosia Creamed Rice (60g Carb) before “he takes off his shoes” or a bowl of cereal would be fine or a sandwich/roll of cheese and ham (Carbs and protein) until the main meal of the day is consumed.

Massage would be beneficial after the event, although a masseuse is only likely to be able to provide for a group consisting of three to four riders!

Swimming is good, as is jacuzi, provided water is consumed while in the ‘tub’ to counteract the dehydrating effect. Steam room and Sauna are a “No”.

Evening Meal (7-8 pm) needs to be a carbohydrate meal, consisting primarily of rice, pasta or potatoes. Protein can also be included (Steak/Fish etc.)

Avoid take away meals!

Urine needs to be fairly clear through-out each day. Each Rider must monitor this for themselves! The darker the colour, the greater indication of a poor level of fluid intake.

Research indicates that a higher level of potassium and magnesium are required for an endurance event. These are readily available in the form of bananas or alternatively, before retiring for the night, consuming diaoralite will aid recovery (available over the counter in any chemist).

Paul’s view on alcohol intake was as follows; “One or two pints …. anymore and the recovery effort after the event is set back. And, if someone is suffering the next day …… leave them behind!”

Riding Position (Now for the Technical bit!)

Saddle Height

Paul gave some advice about achieving the ‘perfect’ saddle height, and therefore riding position. In your bare feet, stand next to a wall and place a book (e.g. hardback A4) between your legs and raise it until it meets your crotch. The book should be touching the wall in a perpendicular position. The wall should be marked from the top of the book. Measure the distance from the floor to the mark. This gives you an accurate measurement of your inside leg. This length should be multiplied by .885 to obtain the correct distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the saddle.

Saddle Set Back

For riders of height of 5’7 to 5’10, set back should be 5cm. Taking a weighted string, tape to the saddle and allow the string to hang over the front of the saddle and drop down below the chain. The distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the front tip of the saddle should be 5cm.

Any adjustments to saddle height or set back should only be undertaken with very small increments until the desired setting is achieved.

Roller Training

Sessions should be of one hours duration, pulling biggest gears. Again this hour, should average a speed 2 to 3 mph higher that the long weekend runs. Alternatively, 12 minutes running followed by 3 minutes at maximum effort repeated four times in the session.

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