Pedal with a Plan: Your Cycling Training Strategy.
Becoming a stronger, fitter, and more efficient cyclist is all about having a game plan - a solid, achievable cycling training plan that's tailored for you and your cycling goals; be that to just get out and about more, to focus on a specific part of your ride, such as endurance, or maybe as part of an upcoming challenge or competition.
Here’s our 5-step guide to creating the perfect training plan!
1. Evaluate Your Fitness Level [honestly!]
First things first, to create a training plan, you need to know where you are right now in terms of fitness. You don't need to subject yourself to rigorous tests but a simple self-evaluation test, like timing how long it takes for you to ride a set distance or monitoring your recovery rate after a strenuous ride, can provide a ballpark estimate of your fitness level.
2. Set The Goals
Now that you know your starting point, it's time to figure out where you want to go. Are you planning to ride a century or aiming to improve your weekend group ride performance? Or perhaps you're gunning for a specificchallenge?
Define your goals clearly. Make sure they're achievable and realistic, yet still present a bit of a challenge. After all, nothing worthwhile comes easy! Write down your goals and display them where you can see them daily for extra motivation!
3. Create Your Plan
Here's where the magic happens. A balanced cycling training plan usually consists of a mix of long, steady rides, high-intensity interval workouts, and rest days. Let's dive into each component.
The bread and butter of your training plan are your base miles. These are steady, relatively low-intensity rides that help improve your endurance and teach your body to burn fat for fuel, efficiently. For beginners, this might mean going on 30-minute to an hour-long ride a few times a week. More advanced riders might aim for 2-4 hours on the saddle for their base rides. Remember, the key is consistency. Gradually increase your mileage and duration over time to build a solid foundation.
Intervals are the spicy salsa that adds a kick to your training plan. These high-intensity, short-duration bursts of effort improve your cycling power and speed.
For example, after a good warm-up, pedal as hard as you can for one minute, then rest for two minutes. Repeat this five times. As you get fitter, you can increase the number and length of intervals and decrease your recovery time.
Strength and Cross-Training
Strength and cross-training exercises are the secret sauce that makes everything better. They not only boost your cycling performance but also help prevent injuries.
Incorporate core strengthening workouts and flexibility exercises like yoga into your training regime. A strong core stabilizes your body while cycling, and yoga helps maintain flexibility, ensuring you avoid stiffness and discomfort.
4. Listen To Your Body
Training is important, but so is rest. So make sure you include rest days in your training schedule to allow your body to recover and adapt. If you're feeling tired or notice a decrease in performance, you might need extra recovery. Remember, training makes you stronger, but overtraining can set you back.
5. Keep Track of Progress
Finally, remember to track your progress. Keeping a training diary or using a fitness app can help you to see how far you've come. And take note, not only of your speed and distance, but also of how you feel during your workouts. Are hills feeling a bit easier? Can you recover quicker after those sprints? These are all signs of improvement too … and that a pat on the back is well deserved!
Monitoring your progress not only keeps you motivated but also helps you make adjustments to your training plan as needed. Remember that progress isn't always linear, and some days will be better than others. The key is to stay consistent and enjoy the journey!
As you progress on your cycling journey, your training plan can evolve to match your ever-improving abilities and changing goals. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced rider, a thoughtfully designed training plan can take you to new heights in your cycling adventure. Happy pedalling and remember - every ride is a good ride when you pedal with a plan!