We all know that to become better at something we need to practice. It seems obvious but to become better a better cyclist, you have to put in the training miles. And to progress in your training, you need to be consistent.
During training, you stress your body. After training, during recovery is when the body adapts and becomes stronger. It’s important to plan structured, targeted and regular training followed by rest days and rest periods. It may seem simple but it’s a science, really, and if you are following a training plan, make sure you follow the plan as well as you can.
The two basic rules are:
Don’t change up your training days.
If you change workouts around, be careful, because all of a sudden you might be going hard when you should be resting or you are doing two hard sessions back-to-back followed by three days of no training at all. This means the plan you were following doesn’t make sense anymore and the consistency and structure is gone.
If you missed a workout or ride- then you missed it.
Don’t try to make up for missed training sessions by doing double sessions or extra hard and long rides.
Following a training plan can be tricky. Professional riders have the privilege to build their day around their training. Most of us, however, do not have that privilege and have to juggle work, family time, hobbies, etc along with getting the training session done.
How to follow a structured plan and bring more consistency in your training:
Set a goal
Why are you training or working out? Working towards a goal is motivating. It will help you to get your workouts done and stick to a routine. This goal can range from ‘getting more fit’ to a certain event. Learn more about effective goal setting from Alison Powers, here.
Set a realistic training load
Before you commit to a plan, think about how much timeyou really have for training. How many hours per day and per week? It’s very important is that you are realistic about the time you have available for training. Doing four quality rides per week is better than planning on six rides per week and not getting them done.
If you lead a busy life, go talk to a coach. Your workouts have to fit into your personal schedule. The more details and info you can provide, the easier it is for a coach to create a plan that’s right for you. One-size-fits-all plans won’t work and you shouldn’t spend your money on them.
Consistency doesn’t have to be boring. Variety in your training helps you to stay motivated and prevent you from getting burned out by riding.
Also, riding your bike only can create imbalances in your body as you are using the very same muscles over and over again. Especially during the off season/winter time, your plan should include other activities like riding a MTB, working out in the gym, hiking, snowshoeing, running, yoga, cross country skiing, swimming, etc.
Ride with friends
Riding with a buddy or a bunch of friends makes it easier! Good company makes the time go by faster and before you know the session is already in the books!
ALP Cycles Coaching is a Boulder-based coaching company with three female coaches at the helm: Alison Powers, Jennifer Sharp and Patricia Schwager.
Each coach brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. Roading racing, track, endurance mountain biking, time trialling, making the leap to living and racing in Europe – they’ve got you covered. Find out more about Alison Powers and her Alp Cycles coaching company at here.