It may feel a little monotonous riding the same route over and over again, but training often involves repetition, in fact it’s a vital component on the path to improvement. By repeating your route you will learn when and where to increase your speed, anticipate corners and know when to expect traffic. Again this may seem minor, but coming back to your route is a great way to see your improvements as long as you log your times. Aim to beat your previous record each time, and after a few months you will be able to see just how much you have improved.
A part of any athlete’s weekly plan that to newcomers may seem counterintuitive. Resting is essential. In order for your muscles and tissues to remain operational under the stress a bike ride puts on them (especially longer ones), they also need time to rest and repair themselves. Riding around four times a week will be well enough for you to start seeing a big change in your capabilities but don’t fall into the trap of over exerting yourself. If you don’t rest, injuries occur and this will set you back much further than a day out would.
Coming hand in hand with relaxing your muscles is refueling. Make sure you are refilling your energy levels by keeping up your intake of carbohydrates. Protein may well be the go to for anyone wanting to become physically fit, and as much as it is an important building block in other sports, cyclists need more endurance and endurance means energy. You can find several meal guides online, designed to optimise your intake for your weight, ride frequency and intensity of your cycling.
In between maximizing your abilities on your regular route, you will also find your abilities increase when you switch over to something new. As your abilities increase you will learn to know how to best reserve your energy, pushing yourself when needed and holding back when others would burn themselves out. These skills come naturally as you learn to become more attuned to how your body reacts on your rides. In order to better yourself and to fine-tune these talents, try taking varied routes that will have you stepping outside your comfort zone a little. Embark on bigger and steeper hills to test your strength, race over long flats to increase your stamina, and try winding lanes at a moderate pace to keep your balance core strength in check.
As much as we would all like to be able to take on any track or road and go flat out for the entire journey, we aren’t machines, and even professional riders don’t go 100% all the way. Pacing is an important part of competition and training, and you can use it to gauge your capabilities early on. Instead of simply making it from A to B by whatever means necessary, try taking shorter rides and sustaining a pace throughout. Alternatively you can build up your sprinting capabilities by momentarily moving as fast as possible for 60 seconds then returning to your steady pace. Tracking these surges of energy with your apps will allow you to improve on both your long and short distance riding skills.