Challenge: spring into your training

Personal trainer Rachael Rickard shares her tips on preparing for the Longbeach Coastal Challenge, where her main aim is not to get run down by her children in the 5km event.

The iconic Longbeach Coastal Challenge is a huge fundraiser for Longbeach School.
Photo Joseph Johnson

Panic slowly … it’s seven weeks till race day!

Spring has well and truly arrived with the clocks sprung forward, sunny days and longer evenings. It makes it easier to get outdoors and be active. The first sunny weekend in spring for me is generally a reminder that sadly, again, I’ve gone through winter eating like a hibernating animal and there’s only single digit weeks until race day, so it is high time to do more moving, more often!

There are now seven weeks until the Ruralco Longbeach Coastal Challenge so if you haven’t started training, then now is the perfect time to sit down with your calendar and schedule in your training time. Fitting workouts or training sessions in will ensure you arrive on race day more confident and you’re more likely to enjoy your race.

While there are mountain bike and running events all year around now, for many recreational athletes late September heeds the start of event season. Many people pick a few build-up events to help support the milestones required to achieve a bigger or longer race and the Ruralco Longbeach Coastal Challenge is a great race to enter on your way to your main event – it’s a fundraising event where the entry fees won’t break the bank.

The Ruralco Longbeach Coastal Challenge has events for the whole family, from a 5km walk or fun run to the hotly contested 35km mountain bike race. The website (  has training programmes for you to use to help your build up to the event. The 35km mountain bike, 12km run and 21km run events guides have been kindly written by Richard from Team CP.

Week Seven: Training Summary

35km Mountain Bike – This week you are looking to complete four sessions made up of 1 x 50 min cycle or a Spin/RPM Class; 1 x 75 min hard ride, 1 x 90 min moderate ride, 1 x 75 min steady ride.

12km run – This week you are looking to complete four sessions made up of 1 x 40 min steady run, 1 x strength or circuit session, 1 x 60 min group run or do an interval or HITT session, 1 x 50 min steady run.

21k run – This week you are looking to complete five sessions made up of 2 x 40 min steady runs, 1 x strength or circuit session, 1 x 60 min group run or an interval/HITT session, 1 x 70 min steady run.

All other days are rest days. It is advised that you finish with five minutes of stretching, going through your main muscle groups, or use a foam roller to roll your muscles out. This will help your recovery.

If you are just starting out and are picking up the programme at week seven then aim to do half the sessions this week, then three-quarters next week, and 100 per cent in week five. Working at a steady pace to get the time under your belt rather than the intensity. If you find yourself struggling to get in all sessions, don’t throw in the towel in just do what you can, get a good night’s sleep and start over tomorrow.

Happy training: see you out there, RR.

Rachael Rickard is the marketing and publicity co-ordinator for the 2019 Ruralco Longbeach Coastal Challenge. She is a certified LES MILLS group fit instructor and has over a decade experience as Personal and Team trainer and gym owner.