Training tips


Although you don't need to be an athlete you will certainly require a higher standard of fitness to complete an NDCS challenge. It is essential that you follow a reasonably serious course of training in order to get the maximum benefit from the event.

You will be able to access our comprehensive training plans for each event once you register, but in the meantime here are a few tips to start you off.


Before starting your ride it is a good idea to do stretching exercises to loosen up the muscles.

If you have not cycled for some time, begin with a half hour ride every second day. After two weeks increase the length of the ride to about 45 minutes. From one month the length of the ride should be increased to at least one hour. It is preferable to cycle not less than one hour two or three times a week.

It is important to find some stretches of hilly terrain in order to experience the difficulties of cycling uphill and changing gears.

As you get nearer the date of departure plan a number of longer rides - say three or four rides of an hour per week - and at least a three hour ride during the weekend.

By one month before departure please make every effort to find time to cycle two full days i.e. 6 - 7 hours somewhere in the country. If possible take a weekend off and cycle both days for 6 - 7 hours each day. Take regular breaks every two hours or so. This will allow your body to acclimatise to the idea of non stop cycling. It is important to remember that you do not normally use these muscles constantly. Depending on the terrain, you should aim to cycle at least 50 miles a day.

Please ensure that your training programme includes “off road” cycling. The importance of cycling on “off road” paths cannot be over emphasised. Cycling “off road” is very difficult compared with normal riding on a tarmac surface - particularly the use of gears and when cycling downhill where the weight of the body should be on the pedals rather than the seat.

Please ensure that your saddle is at the correct height. This means that when you are sitting your toes barely touch the ground. Your feet should not be used as brakes. If the seat is too low not only will your work rate increase considerably, but you will also tire much faster.

Learn to use your gears properly. You should not be in too low a gear on flat or slightly rising terrain otherwise your pedalling rate is too frequent and you will be expending unnecessary energy.

Change gear while the pedalling is still relatively easy as you go up the hill. It is difficult to change gear when you are pushing up a steep hill because the gears are too taut and the chain may come off.

During your training sessions don’t forget to take water, small medical kit, repair kit and helmet with you at all times. Also pack energy food i.e. nuts, fruit, sandwiches etc.

Although this may sound a bit daunting it is not a race and there are no prizes for the winner. We offer plenty of support and if you feel that you’ve had enough there will be a vehicle that you and your bike can travel in.

Back to top


Start by fast walks 2 to 3 times a week for at least 1 hour each time with the hiking boots you will be using for the trek. Look for trails / paths through woodlands or countryside in order to get used to trekking over stones and uneven ground. Also carry a rucksack weighing approx. 5 kgs in which you should have a water bottle, some food, toilet paper and other personal effects. You may also want to train with a walking stick.

It is essential to find terrain which is hilly and has narrow paths climbing unevenly through the countryside. Many of the treks include trails fairly high along mountain sides. This will help overcome height concerns you may have. None of the walks are dangerous, however some of the paths do involve rock scrambling i.e. sometimes using both hands and feet but not requiring ropes.

Increase walks to 3 evenings a week and during the weekend try fast walks of up to 15 miles. Wherever possible this should take place over two consecutive days.

It is vital to do at least one weekend trek of 7 hours each day across the most difficult terrain you can find within your area. This does not mean climbing Ben Nevis or Snowdon. The objective is to find a rural rocky / hilly / stony terrain so that your muscles can get used to long periods of walking.

For people who are overweight it is important to also use the gym (particularly the step machine) and do regular swimming during this period in order to reduce the waistline. This will make it much easier to walk for 5 consecutive days.

Back to top


It is important to find a training programme to fit your particular running event as your training will vary greatly depending on which event you have chosen to take on but there are a few general points to bear in mind.

This is what the Great North Run organisers have to say Build up training steadily and add variety to your training (eg. hill running, weight training, swimming etc).

Give your body time to adapt to new training loads. Listen to your body. Pushing too hard too soon can lead to injury.

Find a natural starting point by recording your morning pulse rate. Sudden rises in your rate are signs that you are putting your body under too much stress.

Settle into a good stretching routine and stick to it.

Take a break from training if you have an infection or illness - don't be suprised if you find you can't start back at the same level on your first day back after illness.

Break up your training and offer yourself more than constant running - don't let your training programme become stale.

Never run through injuries - it only makes them worse and slows down the natural healing process. If you suffer from repeated minor injuries see a doctor or sports injury specialist. Your running style may be adding to your problems.

Remember - it's not the end of the world if you don't run well during race day. Get the most out of each race you do - learn from the experience and come back in even better shape next time.

Make sure you get yourself a pair of well fitting trainers that suit your running style.

(Source:Great North Run )

Back to top