KX Life Assist Me With the Etape
On July 7th, I’ll be riding the Etape du Tour – a 130km leg of the Tour de France through The Alps. Fun times! Well, probably very fun times for a cyclist – for me though, a runner making the shift into cycling for the very first time with this challenge, it will probably be more ‘ouch’ than fun. Plenty of people have said to me, ‘you’re super fit, you’ll be fine!’ – thankfully, I am not that naive. So, the guys at KX Gym are assisting me with my training to ensure that I’m race ready when July roles around.
You see, simply being fit isn’t enough. Switching sports like this presents a very unique set of physical challenges. Firstly, just from an endurance point of view, as a half marathon runner, I usually cover the 13.1 miles in just under two hours – during the Etape, I can expect the 130km (80 miles) to have me on the bike for around six hours. Training my body to perform at its optimum for that length of time will be a definite learning curve.
Not only that, the mechanics of running and cycling are completely different, so on a basic level, I have to train my body to move differently. Ben, a chiropractor at KX will be working with me to make sure this happens as seamlessly as possible. From his initial assessments of me we’ve determined that I currently don’t have that much strength in my legs (which you’d automatically assume I would as a distance runner, right?), my hips are a bit wonky and tension in my upper body will make it tough for my brain to get the messages down to my legs where they need to be. There’s nothing quite like a chiropractor appointment where one crack of your neck makes your legs do something completely different to show you just how much every little thing in your body is connected.
Ben, along with Gideon (Head of Fitness at KX) have come up with a plan for me to make sure my legs are going like pistons come race day. For me, with my weak glutes and legs, that means a whole lot of squats, in various forms. I need to lose some of my bulk from my upper body and get a whole lot of strength in my glutes and hammies to power me up those hills. When I look at pro cyclists on their bikes, their upper bodies are locked in position and their legs are just firing. For me, the challenge will be making myself steady like that on the bike and not wasting energy through my wonky hips or my upper body moving around when it doesn’t need to.
The first step in my program has a warm up designed to wake my glutes up, followed by three exercises: goblet squats (to get me in the ride position), dead lifts and overhead squats. I will do a post with more detail about these soon to explain exactly what they are, how to do them and why they’re effective.
Gideon has also designed a specific nutrition plan for me to ensure I’m fueling myself properly and have all the energy I’ll need to get me to the start line and through the race in one piece. Again, I’ll do a separate post on this.