If you ride bikes long enough you’ll make plans to do a ride or event that scares you a little bit. Like the Haute Route or a Gran Fondo. 100 miles? Let’s go. 8,000 feet of climbing? Sure, no prob. The exhilaration from accomplishing such a physical feet is what makes cycling awesome. Sometimes we make these decisions spontaneously with friends at the moment of departure from the coffee shop. Sometimes it’s New Year’s Resolution or a challenge you us to motivate yourself. Whatever the reason chances are you’ll want to improve your cycling. And if you want to improve your cycling read on.
Eight ways to improve your cycling:
#1 Consistency: Ride and train consistently even if you are short on time. It’s the tortoise and the hare analogy and the tortoise who trains a little bit every day beat the hare every time. Make getting on your bike a daily priority even if its only for 30 minutes.
#2 Zwift: speaking of getting on the bike to ride consistently, use Zwift to train indoors. It’s super time efficient and you won’t have to battle weather and daylight. Indoor Cycling has come a long, long much improved way since a few years ago. Zwift is fun, productive, and has an enormous amount of training rides to choose from. You can ride with friends from all over the world virtually on real former Olympic and World Championship courses, and up Mountains. Time actually passes by rather quickly when you are riding zwift and having fun.
#3 Group Rides: What’s better than the Saturday 10AM group ride? I rest my case. Make group rides a regular part of your weekly routine (consistency) to make your cycling social, productive and guess what? FUN! You’ll get out the door with more motivation and push yourself harder than you would alone. Group rides can be hard as heck, leaving shattered afterwards but Fun with a capital F.
#4 CTL: Pay attention to how much training you are doing consistently over time. A great way to measure this is with the power based metric (nerd alert!) Chronic Training Load or CTL. CTL measures how much you have been training cumulatively over time. Its that consistency thing again! You can use training software like TrainingPeaks to upload your ride data to track your CTL along with a plethora of other pocket protector sports science metrics.
#5 Nutrition. You are a Ferrari and you want to put super high grade octane in your Ferrari. Like kale and salmon. Rice and quinoa – all the “Go Fast Foods”. Win in the kitchen by planning a nutritious meal and actually shopping for the ingredients and cooking them. The act of doing so sets an intention for your health and performance. Avoid added sugar at all costs and stay away from foods that come in a bag or a box.
#6 Yoga Yoga trains your brain to be mentally tough which will come in handy during your challenging event. Side effects include a stronger core, more flexibility and better power production. I think the pigeon pose will put 10 years back on your body. Goto a class and if that’s not possible, try YogaGlo (they even have a cycling class series).
#7 Strength and Conditioning: Successful Cyclists ‘lift’. Not year round but in the off season. They lift in a cycling specific way such as this 10 week weight program. If it’s not the off season for you try these band exercises to activate your glutes from my friends at REVO PhysioTherapy. Plus, for a healthy pain free back, do this 12 minute Foundations Routine ‘everyday for no back pain ever’
#8 Sleep. And last but certainly not least: Sleep – the best recovery aid. Eight hours per night is recommended, 8.5 is better. Less than 7 is not good at all. If you want to really ‘get into’ your sleep use a sleep app to measure the amount of sleep you achieve each night. Hint: it’s less than you think but now that you are measuring sleep you can manage it better. Successful Cyclists goto bed earlier!
Finally consider hiring a coach. Coaching is so much more than a training calendar and power files. Its a relationship with an expert invested in your goals ready to share their experience to help you. Granted a well thought out scientifically designed training calendar and power based training are fundamental but the 8 items I described above are next level. Its like the home depot commercial, “You can do it, we can help” . It takes time and it will be hard but ho. lee. moo. lee. when you tackle that climb and crush your ride it is worth every ounce of work. And the podiums are nice too!
Copyright 2018, FasCat Coaching.
Frank is the founder and owner of FasCat Coaching in Boulder, CO. Frank and the FasCat Coaches have been talking the talk and walking the walk [FasCat Core Value #7] for over 15 years. To talk about transforming your cycling and having your best season, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org , call 720.406.7444, or fill out a New Athlete Questionnaire to schedule a Coaching Consultation.