Be Fit For Life

with Ellen Cohen-Kaplan

VICTORY! Thoughtful training- the key to success!

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the Wellfleet rest stop

the Wellfleet rest stop


you never know who you'll meet on this ride!

you never know who you’ll meet on this ride!

fellow friends and riders Chip and Samantha Greer.

fellow friends and riders Chip and Samantha Greer.
Jeff, Josh, Ellen and Jordan

Jeff, Josh, Ellen and Jordan



What a spectacular weekend in so many ways!  The perfect riding weather, the energy and spirit of the crowds and of the cause, and the way I felt cycling from Wellesley to Provincetown just couldn’t be beat. Suffice to say, I came through with flying colors with Jeff, and because of the events of the previous week, felt even more elated than I usually do after I complete a PMC weekend. For details about the ride, go to this link  to read my thank-you letter to all those who donated to my ride.

There was one major factor that contributed to the ease of the ride for me, (aside  from all the good wishes and prayers you sent my way), and that is TRAINING.

As many of you know, most PMC cyclists don’t just hop on the bike the weekend of the event and start pedaling the 160+ miles to their destination. It takes thoughtful and deliberate training to reach a goal, so it’s done  in a way that doesn’t leave you injured, or totally exhausted.

We begin our training as soon as weather permits, typically in March or April, so for those of you who consider me a fitness maniac, I’ve got news. There are some cyclists who go the whole year through outside, even in the snow!  We don’t ride outside unless the temperature is above 45, and preferably over 50 degrees. We increase our speed and duration of rides slowly so our joints, tendons, muscles, and cardiovascular capacity can build at a consistent rate that doesn’t put an inordinate amount of pressure on any one structure.  After 4 months of incremental increases in speed, resistance and duration, we do a training ride that usually consists of one or two weekends of back-to-back 50 mile rides.   At their completion, we feel ready to roll. Last weekend I missed out on my major training weekend.  Luckily, the Oregon and Vancouver trip that had us doing 40 miles/day for nearly a week over some substantial hills prepared us well.

If you set a goal, whether it’s  a 5 or 10 K, a half or full marathon, or walking more miles or at a quicker speed, it’s essential to have a training plan.  Each individual’s training plan will differ according to one’s starting fitness level, the time until the event or goal completion, and one’s overall health.

Here are a few basic rules to keep in mind when preparing for an event:

Start early whenever possible to allow for extenuating circumstances!

Be realistic about your time commitment- for us, cycling 4 times a week was reasonable.

Choose a goal or an event that’s meaningful to you so that you’ll stick with it.

Do it with someone to increase accountability and make it more fun.

Choose activities that you like inherently, or if there’s a part of it that you’re fearful of,

challenge yourself, and enjoy the sense of accomplishment after mastering it.

For more technical information about preparing for a 5 or 10 K race, check out these articles at

Once again, thanks for all the support in so many ways, and enjoy these gorgeous days of summer!

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