physical training

Hi people.

Tomorrow I’ll start a six month physical preparation for the next Dusseldorf Marathon, and I’d like to know how some of you prepare for long distance riding, if you do it…

Bye bye from rainy São Paulo, Brasil!!!

It sounds really stupid, but practice riding long distance.

There is no substitute for saddle time.

I don’t know how far the Dusseldorf is, so YMMV, but my longest ride so far has been a bit under 25 miles, and I managed it purely by building up to it… Doing 5 miles everyday, to alternating daily between 5 and 10-mile rides, to upping that to 10 and 15…

I have lots of time on my hands and so can afford the ‘daily’ part, but I’d assume the idea works for ‘other-daily’ :stuck_out_tongue:

This is mostly just added on top of Killian’s answer, which was a good one!

When I was preparing for the 42-mile Five Boro Bike Tour in New York City, I found this training guide helpful. You can adjust the mileage to fit your ultimate goal.

I would be surprised if the Dusseldorf Marathon is anything but 42km / 26 miles.

Work up to it, do some “wind sprints”, go for some long (80km+) rides, get plenty of saddle time and don’t forget to cross train to keep things balanced.

crap, now I should probably follow my own advice.

See you there! this will be my first race since RTL!

For sure unicycling is a big part of the plan!!! But nowadays professional athletes, specially runners, are decreasing there milage and increasing intensity. It means they are not running more then 5 km a week!!! Marathon athletes!!! They run like 400 meters uphill and make push ups, then a 200 meters sprint at maximum speed for more abdominal exercises. By doing that, they are reducing a lot their injuries!

And the most important is that long distance unicycling is a unique sport, because it combines two “uncombinable” features: balance and physical resistance. No other sport in the world is like that.

So here’s the training plan, thought by my personal trainer, and quite reduced by me to fit here: 2 days a week on the gym for general strength, one or two days a week on the unicycle, with low milage and extreme intensity. Surfing and/or skateboarding when possible and one day brake.

That’s the general plan, of course. It’s based on different intensity charts designed to fit the goals that she thought. And she explained to me that some disciplines are concurrent, for example, if you need to gain muscle strength, then you shouldn’t practice aerobical stuff, like long distance riding.

Anyway, I’m not an expert. I’m a juggler, unicyclist and clown that wants to become an athlete without getting hurt on the process.

Hope to see some of you in Dusseldorf and in Montreal!!! 2 marathons confirmed in 2014!!!


Unlike runners part of what you need to build up is saddle endurance. The shorter intense rides won’t help with that.

Like you say, in my case I’ve found that muni (shorter, intense rides) helps me with the cardio and endurance aspects but it doesn’t help me with saddle endurance. No cure for that but to practice riding the long distances.

A month or so ago I was looking for a few specific bits of advice related to distance riding on the forums. Rather than try to paraphrase people, here’s the thread:

thanks a lot!!!

this will be my 5th marathon, so I know that the crotch suffers… But I’m worried about physical endurance as well. Last april in Dusseldorf was my first race with the 36", and it was extremely hard. My legs couldn’t take the small uphills from the course. I did the entire race without crashes or dismounts, cause I was afraid I couldn’t hop on again.

I bought a different set of cranks, 110 mm instead of 125, and I think it will help to negotiate the uphills.

and I definitely train the saddle endurance on stage, performing once a week at least. It helps a lot!!!

What I have found useful in riding long distance at relatively high speed is to practice not only long distance, but also sprints on the same unicycle. That way, your maximum rpm goes up, and with that, also spinning at slightly lower speeds costs less energy.

I’ve participated in the Düsseldorf marathon five times in a row (I think) and am registered for 2014 as well. I don’t cross-train (other than riding various unicycles), perhaps I should? Anyway, see you there!

Skillewis offered what sounds like a good formula over in that other thread. I think for a marathon unicycle race, you will need a mix of cross training and actual uni training.

42 km is not a huge distance, but then again the worst crotch pain I’ve had in many, many years was when I did the Unicon XIV Marathon non-stop in 2008. The Dusseldorf Marathon is very fast, which means your goal should be to do it non-stop.

Also you will want to know what your body is going to feel like, and how it’s going to perform, under race-like conditions. Being familiar with this will tell you whether to be afraid of what’s happening, or to know what to expect and not let it bother you mentally.

If I were training for Dusseldorf I would definitely want to do at least two full-length training rides to help my body prepare. These don’t need to happen until the weeks leading up to the event though, or you might lose the crotch-training part. This summer my wife and I rode in 4 metric century rides. It definitely pays to work up to the high mileage. When your body is used to the idea, it’s much more pleasant and allows you to concentrate on improving your performance.

I consider MUni to count as cross-training, and find it very useful as a fitness tool. Nothing gets my heart rate going like riding on some difficult trails. A short, intense MUni ride can take the place of several hours of road training.

For the non-uni cross-training I don’t have any useful background so I’ll just say listen to your trainer. The purpose of cross-training is mostly to prevent/reduce injury but while also enhancing your physical capabilities. I should do more of it.

Not cross-training either, but practicing intervals should also help for Dusseldorf. My understanding of the course is that’s dead flat or nearly so, which means you can go short on the cranks. I used 102s for that 2008 Marathon, in part because I knew the course had minimal hills (also because I couldn’t get my hands on any 110s for my borrowed 36"). I think 102s would be my perfect size for a flat marathon and ungeared 36".

Intervals is where you do a series of short but sustained sprints, interspersed with recovery periods in between. You will want to improve your spin, your top speed, and your ability to change speeds quickly.

In regular training rides, work on gradually increasing your average speed. In Ride The Lobster, I was working toward a goal of being able to ride 15 mph (24 kph) indefinitely (ungeared 36" with 125mm cranks). This was to ride segments that would mostly be 10 km or so. I didn’t get there, but I did get to a place where riding 13 mph (21 kph) was automatic, and I probably could have held that pace for hours on flat ground.

Then I ended up riding a geared 29" for much of the race, with almost zero prior experience. On that note, remember not to make any equipment changes in the last few days. Stick with the setup you have trained on, don’t wear brand new shoes or clothes, etc.

John, in view of that crotch pain you look remarkably happy here (on that very same day, at the award ceremony for the marathon that you won in your age class).

Great to see the differences of approach towards training!

I’m really focused on the cross training, which includes many miles with the uni. My final goal is to improve my best time in Dusseldorf, 2:19:00. I’d love to do this marathon below 2 hours, let’s see!!!

Last Tuesday was my first day of gym with this goal, and all I can says is that I’m absolutely sored. Today I’ll skip training to perform two shows in a lovely school located at one of the poorest parts os São Paulo. Being an artist/ athlete isn’t easy!

Best regards!!!