No regrets! If I don’t have the legs now, I never will

Allan Muir, left, and Rob Atkins in training for their Tommy Godwin 205-mile charity cycling challenge. Picture: Allan Hutchings (060419-085)
Allan Muir, left, and Rob Atkins in training for their Tommy Godwin 205-mile charity cycling challenge. Picture: Allan Hutchings (060419-085)
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Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be.

Doris Day first uttered those words in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1956.

More than 50 years on and the song is a terrace favourite among football fans dreaming of a trip to the home of football.

Now I have adopted it as the theme tune for the countdown to my 205-mile charity cycle challenge.

I might have eight days left until I climb onto my bike for a circumnavigation of the South Downs but there is no time for last-minute cramming.

It’s hardly a school exam. I can’t pull an all-nighter to catch up or quickly scribble notes under my shirt sleeves to give me pointers.

If I don’t have it in my legs now, I won’t have it on Sunday, June 8.

There are few benefits to pushing my body to the limit on training rides now, it simply doesn’t have enough time to adapt.

So all that’s left is to taper down.

Result! That means I can kick back, relax and catch up on my box sets, right? Not a chance.

While tapering means dialling back my training demands to ensure I am fresh for the main event, I still have to turn the pedals.

Applied exercise physiologist Simon Clark put me through a lactate assessment when I first signed up to this epic challenge, during which I hope to raise awareness for the Droxford-based Association for Glycogen Storage Disease.

He used the result – my threshold of 3.61w/kg -–to recommend a weekly training plan which would maximise my preparation for the event.

This included a two or three-hour endurance session and a separate threshold ride of five or six hours in duration.

Up to 40-per-cent of the latter is spent working in my lactate threshold zone (224-261w or 159-177bpm) which represents a gruelling test. But the times they are a changing.

Clark said: ‘The last two or three weeks should have a reduction in training volume, yet maintain intensity as part of your taper.

‘So reduce the length of your main ride but keep the proportions.

‘Then a significant reduction in both intensity and volume for the last week would be ideal.’

It is important to keep the wheels turning, though. After all, you don’t want the body to get out of the habit.

I’ve been glued to the Giro d’Italia for the past three weeks and, while the racing has been thrilling, I’ve also been fascinated by what the riders get up to out of the saddle.

These guys race for an average of 100 miles on each of 21 daily stages with just three rest days. So what do they do on those rest days, when their bodies are crippled by fatigue?

Yep, they get on their bikes and cycle some more. Columbian star Rigoberto Uran even went out to ride some climbs!

Madness right? But it is crucial they keep their bodies moving. Active recovery is apparently better than complete rest.

But as for improving my ability to cope with anywhere between 15 and 19 hours in the saddle, forget it. It’s too late.

My longest training ride topped 125 miles. I wanted to clock 150 last Monday but the grim weather got the better of me and I sought shelter in a Worthing coffee shop before throwing the towel in after just 43.

Pretty poor, eh? But I have been comforted by the words of University of Portsmouth sport psychologist Chris Wagstaff which have been ringing in my ears for the past few days.

He said: ‘Whatever happens, the training you have done will be enough. It has to be!’

Blunt, amusing but unquestionably true. I can’t turn back time, so there are no regrets.

There’s no point worrying about whether I have done enough miles, worked hard enough or often enough.

In the words of Doris Day, whatever will be, will be!