In this article, we highlight five tips from the pros that you should consider when plotting your course for all the fun of warm-weather pedaling ahead.
Develop a Training Plan
The first step towards readying yourself for the forthcoming cycling season is to create a training plan. After all, spring is several weeks ahead and in all likelihood, your training goals aren’t exactly set only for spring but the entire year.
It’s crucial that your training plan is structured accordingly to climax for the main event.
To achieve this, your training should be specific for your goals as much as possible, and while at it, ensure that you account for your current levels of strengths and weaknesses, and how they’re going to relate to the forthcoming event, plus the available time left.
The key to a successful training plan is consistency. Rather than beating yourself up for a short period, plan progressively, while incorporating periods of rest and lower training loads, and this should help you increase your training capacity gradually.
Beyond consistency, ensure that you iron out your weaknesses. As a general rule, you should train your weaknesses and race to your strengths.
While creating a training plan for the entire year seems convenient, it’s unrealistic and unhelpful. Instead, set a realistic time frame that is easier to follow.
Be Prepared Mentally
Understandably, a majority of the cyclers are always ready to commit to the next cycling season after the winter break.
Physically, unless you over trained or have an injury, it does not take long before you’re ready to go. Here, we’re referring to the mental & motivational side that will need time for recharging.
Sure, while it’s possible to continue with your offseason routine while you’re getting ready for the forthcoming programs, you should always be ready to focus your energies on the road ahead.
Let’s be honest: successful cycling requires dedication, enormous effort and time, and the last thing you would want to complain about is training in February or March.
So, it’s essential that you’re ready to go mentally, motivated and prepared for the long haul.
While at it, remember that we’ve different temperaments, and the time to get back that edge varies considerably. Therefore, there’s no right or wrong amount of time to get prepared mentally.
What is crucial here is that you understand what triggers your commitment to any activity, and whatever it is, be prepared to give 100% of yourself.
Get Yourself Conditioned
Ensuring your body is moving well and that your joints are aligned is crucial for getting your cycling season started
Cycling is repetitive, and this can be rough on joints, especially if they are misaligned.
Therefore, it’s vital that you build a base now by engaging in light exercises that will allow you to be in much better shape come spring.
A good place to start is the indoor spin classes. Indoor spins help in conditioning your body and most importantly working on your cadence. Your body will thank you for developing good and efficient cadence during the actual race.
Plyos, are another remarkable form of exercises, especially for cyclists. This is because engaging in plyometrics will not only bring improvements on the bike but will also add an interesting aspect to your off-bike training.
Plyometric exercises, which consists of competing exercises that exert maximum force on muscles for short periods are vital for improving neuromuscular adaptation and power output without increasing muscular size.
Beyond the two, other workouts that can get your body in shape include exercises that engage your core, rollers, and jumping ropes.
Regardless of the form of exercise you do, ensure that it gets your body in shape.
Choose the Right Bicycle
How many times have you sat on your bicycle and it didn’t feel just right? Too high? Too low? Too wide and unable to reach the ground well? Or it does seem to fit, but you don’t like the balance from side to side?
Well, cycling is all about balance, comforts and feel and there are a plethora of reasons why a bike might feel it’s not meant for you.
The lack of any of the above key components is not only unsettling but also uncomfortable.
On solution may be a hybrid bike. Hybrid bikes are a hybrid of a road bike and a mountain bike.
This generally means a few things:
- Hybrids will often have the “flat” handlebars of a mountain bike, rather than the “drop” bars of a road bike.
- Instead of the extremely skinny tires of a road bike (for speed) and the extremely fat, knobbly tires of a mountain bike (for comfort/traction), a hybrid will have smooth tires (like a road bike) that are wider (like a mountain bike) for a compromise between speed & comfort. The tires usually won’t have little knobs on them, because the assumption is that you’ll mostly be riding on pavement.
- The “frame geometry” is not as leaned-over as it is on a road bike, where you’d ride with your hands in the lower position of the handlebars. It’s more upright, like a mountain bike, in part because you’ll usually have a flat handlebar.
- The frame itself won’t be as sturdy as a mountain bike frame, but that also means it’ll likely be quite a bit lighter – like a road bike – because the assumption is you’re not bouncing down rocky terrain at full speed most of the time.
- If your bike has suspension, it’ll likely be heavier-duty than a road bike, but with less travel/durability than a mountain bike.
I used to ride road bikes when doing triathlons, and mountain bikes on singletrack for fun. Now, I have a hybrid “city bike” which I really like for commuting and casual riding. It’s not as fast as a full road bike, but it’s close enough. It’s a bit more rugged, it’s a bit more comfortable. In the city, it’s everything I need.
Move at Your Own Pace
With the cycling season fast approaching, a majority of cyclers enter in a panic mode, fearing that they have not trained enough and decide to increase their training session suddenly.
In effect, the abrupt increase in training volume and intensity can result in injury and set you back much longer than just being behind on schedule. It’s therefore important that you take the whole preparation thing easy.
And if you cannot reach your goals as you had planned with a slow and steady build, it may be worth moving the goal post a little.
Set yourself a new goal of a similar distance later in the year, but ensure you replace the initial goal with something more challenging.
It’s still not too late; you still have time to get your body in shape for spring cycling.
Get those legs ready, prep your mind and take it easy as you embark on this exciting journey.