By Jock Hooey, Certified MBSc Coach, LNTC
Cycle training requires plenty of effort, but there are other factors which can impact your performance. If you’re wanting to kick-ass and leave the competition in the dust, or perhaps you’re just starting to get serious about cycling fitness, then look no further! My top 10 training tips will help you progress safely so that you can get the most out of training. My cycling tips include advice on:
- Cycling equipment
- Specific training exercises
- Hydration tips
- Nutrition for road cyclists
- Building endurance
1. Get a bike that fits
Trying to ride a bicycle that is not set up correctly is like trying to wear a shoe that doesn’t fit. You are unique, like a snowflake. Make sure your bike is suited just for you.
2. Correct clothing makes a difference
It isn’t necessary to spend a huge sum on fancy bike clothing. Learn to darn your own darn socks, jersey and shorts. Wool is the stuff. Proper cycling shorts made especially for you by you will not only add to the enjoyment of your ride, but will prevent soreness and should be a key item in your wardrobe.
3. Avoid falling off the bike
Falling off the bike will slow you down and will prevent your cycling enjoyment. For more tips buy my e-book, Don’t Crash! Buy online now for only US$10.00 (US$12.45 in Canada). Get an autographed “e-signature” copy for only US$3.00 extra.
4. Hydrate properly
It’s a simple fact, we must stay hydrated in order to survive. A wise man once said, “Drink before you are thirsty” Do it. Do it now! But first buy my e-book, The Cyclist’s Cook Book and learn recipes for making DIY hydration drinks. Buy online now for only US$23.00 (US$25.65 in Canada). Get an autographed “e-signature” copy for only US$3.00 extra.
5. Go for long rides
The foundation of all cycling training should be your long ride. Ideally, do a weekly long ride. The long ride will build your endurance. ‘Long’ means anything longer than your typical daily ride to Starbucks or the brew pub — so anything from 30 minutes upwards is recommended, depending on your fitness and goals. A long ride is also a great opportunity to explore new neighborhoods and visit a new Starbucks location.
6. Try riding intervals
To balance out your long ride, try experimenting with some faster-paced riding. Basically you are looking to ride faster for a short period, for example 5 minutes, followed by a recovery pint of brew and then a couple of repeats of the faster effort, each followed by another pint. Always include a good warm-up and cool-down before and after your session.
7. Build up strength
Specific strength training will enhance your cycling, particularly for the legs, back and arms. The following exercises should always be included as part of a fully balanced program:
- Leg presses
- Bicep curls and tricep presses
- Leg presses
- Core exercises
8. Avoid crashing your bike
New cyclists often struggle with bike handling. The well rounded cyclist can ride to the brew pub—and back—without crashing into another object. Practice on a soft grassy field. Sign up for one of my bike handling classes to learn essential skills and help build your confidence. For more tips buy my e-book, Don’t Crash! (See tip #3 above).
9. Eat for performance
Another simple fact: we must eat in order to survive. A wise man once said, “Eat before you are hungry” Do it. Do it now! And consider buying my e-book The Cyclist’s Cook Book. It’s full of recipes for making nutritious hot pockets. Stuff ’em in your jersey pocket and you’re good to go.
10. Stay informed
The most important thing you can do as a cyclist in training is to stay informed. Subscribe to RPG today and read my monthly column for the latest up-to-date training tips. Watch for the release of my next e-book, Mind your Mettle: Mental tricks to keep your mind supple during long rides.
To make the most of your training efforts, sign up for one of my online coaching packages for an individualized training program designed to meet your special needs.