Am I Fit Enough To Do The C2C?

23rd June 2014

When it comes to preparing for the UK’s most popular and best-known long distance cycle route, there are various factors to consider…

It goes without saying that no training routine or fitness regime will be the same between two people – every person requires different strategies and intensities, which is why we can’t provide a training guide (it wouldn’t be right).

What we can do, however, is suggest how well you’re going to cope – or not – doing the Coast to Coast route without training and how certain habits, routine changes and lifestyle adaptations could make a difference.

This post will be particularly for those who feel a little out of touch with their fitness regime – if you think you might need to do some training or preparation (everyone should prepare for the C2C) then you probably should.

General Guidance

Everyone has seen the beautiful landscape that features in the Coast to Coast route, whether the programme is Julia Bradbury’s 2009 documentary on the route or a countryside-set drama, you’ll have seen the beautiful scenes and thought “ooh that looks lovely”.

It is lovely, gorgeous in fact. However, we cannot pretend that it’s as simple as a leisurely cycle through your local park. At 190 miles long, even experienced cyclists can find it difficult to manage – add in the hilly land of the Lake District and some “difficult” weather and it can feel nigh on impossible.

NOT that we want to put you off – simply, be aware.

The rewarding sensation upon completing this journey is something no one else can understand – you’ve travelled 190 miles in some of the most beautiful parts of our British Isles!

Health & Training

If you are worried about your age, health or fitness levels having a negative effect on your chances of comfortably completing the ride, please see a health professional, rather than guidance off the Internet or social media.

There are many cyclists who have first attempts – and successful repeat attempts – at the C2C in their golden years.

Now that we’ve said that, if you are in relatively good health and / or you’ve been reassured by a medical professional, let’s begin with some good pointers for training…

  • Even when fit and healthy, you should prepare with hill cycling – there will be some parts of the walk that mean you’re “up and down”.
  • You should be relatively fit and have the following:
    • A competent ability with a map and compass, some sturdy but comfortable footwear.
  • Ensure that even if you’ve practiced different routes with varied levels of ground, you’ve also done plenty of long distance cycling. You might find that it becomes a while before the next “stopping place” and if the weather isn’t good, you can’t sit still.

As previously stated, training is different for every individual, but we’d suggest choosing some of these methods:

  • Warm up exercises: Before jumping on your bike you should get a good warm up regime sorted that works for you. Start with shoulder rolls, jogging and arm rotations, increasing blood flow and elevating circulation and body temperature for a good ride. After a ride you should wind down with a customised stretch. Even when on the route continue both of these exercises. A “warm down” relieves muscle stiffness and soreness, as well as helping your body regain a natural body temperature and circulation. Remember to contact a medical and / or fitness professional before taking up any exercise that is different to your usual routine.
  • Training: Create a routine of press ups, pull ups, sit ups and leg raises. Take a break from cycling and avoid the cycling machine and use a step machine. Or use both as well as outdoor cycling. Ensure that you get a good frequency of training, rather than a more intense, less often workout. Your body should be well prepared for bursts of exercise and rest.
  • Leg strength: This is the rebellious bit of advice – break the rules and ride your bicycle in a too high a gear – aka “overgearing”. When done for short intervals during a ride you build up leg strength for those difficult climbs ahead…
  • Bicycle maintenance: Keep your ride fit and healthy too! Smooth gear changes, pumped up tyres and a generally well-kept bike will make for an easier journey for you. Consider getting your bicycle serviced a few weeks before the ride – the last thing you need is an bicycle emergency while en route! Although if you’re doing the C2C with us, you do have the added ‘safety net’ of our support vehicle.
  • Gym and indoor exercises: Instructors are trained to give you the best guidance when it comes to any exercise regime – preparing for the C2C is no different. They can guide you towards the best machines, exercise lengths (remember it’s different for everyone and they will be able to advise better than anyone else). Using a gym will improve your warm up and warm down routine, as well as replacing some time you otherwise should have spent on your bike!

For any extra information about the Coast to Coast route check out our other blogs or tweet us at @UKBikeBus.

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