Give us Five: Martin Cox’s winter training

Martin’s email VeloUK saying “a little different to the norm but hopefully interesting nonetheless!” You be the judge as we reveal his training for a Lands End to John O’Groats and back again in just 10 days!

A recent return to cycling for Martin has obviously left an impression as he has volunteered to ride from Lands-end to John O’Groats and back again in just 10 days. Setting his stall out for cycling 180 miles per day for 10 days, he has quite a target and he talks with us about his winter – more details can be found at his site

Its not that easy to find training material for building up from a novice to a Grand Tour stage length rider in seven months so for me its been about finding a comfortable pace an sticking to it. Distance is coming in week by week as I add more time to the rides, normally 30 mins to an hour (7 – 15 miles). I don’t own an indoor training solution yet so all my miles are done out on the roads so obviously the winter is tough, especially for the really long rides.  The cold really does seem to be able to invade the extremities and so far I’ve not found suitable solutions to combat that – plenty more time for that though!

Fitting in the training around running a business is tough, but thankfully I am a good boss and can give myself some leeway in this – however as the rides become longer, the work will take a backseat – come April, the cycling will be in the region of 10 hours 5 days a week to build the backside resistance needed so work will definitely be secondary.

VeloUK:  Have you started your winter training and if so, how long did you spend off the bike post season and how many hours a week would you spend now training?
Martin Cox: Heck yeah, training started for me back on sept 24th when my bike got delivered in the mail. I hadn’t ridden for about 17 years so the idea of riding 1800 miles was still very tentative then. First up was making sure that my knees wouldn’t object within the first few miles which thankfully they didn’t. Riding started very gradually with me feeling shattered after 20 or 30 miles, but now its bike time every other day if possible. I’m currently spending 3 hrs in the saddle 3 times a week with Saturday being taken up by an increasingly long ride – somewhere in the region of 7-8 hours now.

When January starts, then the rides real start to crank up. For me its important to pace the ride duration slowly, its really not about maximum speed – rather its about a constant pace for along period of time, ideally 15-17mph for 12 hours is what I am looking for.

VeloUK:  Tell us about your winter training bike — type of bike and is there anything special about it compared to your summer bike — mudguards, lights, etc
Martin Cox: Ha ha, just the one bike at the moment! Currently riding a ‘cross bike, but hoping to be the recipient of something faster and lighter soon! The key for winter to me is lots of lights – you really can’t be too visible!

VeloUK:  What is a typical week day ride for you (how long and what intensity) and what sort of rides do you do on a weekend (how long and what intensity)?
Martin Cox: A weekday ride will generally start at 8pm after an early dinner and the 3 boys are all put to bed. Its about getting in 40-50 miles and I have a few good sized loops in my area where thats possible – as long as I can get that distance done in three hours then I am happy. Sundays are church days for me, so the long rides occur on a Saturday. I normally spend the morning playing with the kids and doing essential household stuff that can’t be put off any longer then off out early afternoon.

For me, Saturday is about time in the saddle and letting my body get used to such long periods on the bike. First couple of hours might be at 18-19mph to get the lungs and heart working but then it goes to a steady 15-16mph. Just steady riding, lots  of focus on legs and knees and a good sound cadence, keeping my heart rate steady and the body ‘feeling good’. As the weeks progress I try to add 5-10 miles on per week, so mid-April I am happy doing 180 miles per ride, looking at it taking 12 hours in the saddle so just building up that endurance.

VeloUK: Do you ride Xmas day or New Years day?
Martin Cox: I wish! I have got a pass for Boxing Day and will probably get out late on New Years day, but family duties do sometimes take precedence!

VeloUK: Finally, what will be your first races for 2012?
Martin Cox: I guess LeJogLe is the closest I will get to a race in 2012. 1,800 miles in 10 days. I will see how my body feels after that before we look at any races!

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