Just wanting to stay fit is a major reason why many take up cycling. Cycling is a simple, yet effective activity to stay fit. You have a cycle and you have time in hand. Now, how do you achieve your fitness goals?
This question sounds simple but is hard to answer for several reasons. A simple solution is to have a training plan and completely commit to it.
Spoke herd brings to you a simple checklist to keep in mind while building a training plan for your cycling.
Most cyclists, especially beginners tend to overtrain regularly. The joy of cycling daily for fitness beats the sense of sustainable training. Pushing your physical limits regularly is detrimental to your fitness journey.
Think long-term while building your training plan. For the first few weeks, focus on achieving cadence on every ride. And plan on building your working capacity. This can be done by riding for 5 minutes more than yesterday.
This kind of small progress will set you up well for your fitness journey.
You don’t have to cycle at high tempos regularly to get fit. Whilst high tempo cycling is effective, it also exhausts you quickly. Also, cycling at a higher tempo makes you more vulnerable to injuries.
In an ideal training plan, different intensities should be factored in. Short bursts of high tempo can be a great way of starting a week.
Moving on, you must include long rides with low tempo to build endurance.
Remember that there is no single intensity level that will boost your fitness. Therefore, your training plan must involve stints of diverse intensities.
When we get a new cycle, all we want to do is cycle daily for long periods. The adrenaline rush of owning a new cycle can rarely be contained. However, it is important to regulate your cycling frequency for ultimate fitness.
Riding daily for long periods is not sustainable. Likewise, riding once a week does not have any significant impact on your fitness.
Finding a middle ground is critical while building a training plan. Also, consider your other workloads outside cycling. If you are lifting weights or into calisthenics, your cycling frequency must reduce.
If not, you shall be burning out often and negatively impacting your health.
For that 8-year-old with his/her new cycle, recovery is non-existent. But, you should know the importance of recovery while training.
Recovery is where your muscles and joints relax and recoup to their normal strength levels. Taking a day or two off in a week is essential to give sufficient time for your body to recover.
Frequency, intensity, volume are all elements that are directly impacted by recovery. An unhealthy or insubstantial recovery means more risk of injury and exhaustion.
A training plan must have well-defined rest days. This allows you to stay fit over the long term.
Even the best training plan can yield zero results if there are no consistent efforts. Sticking to the plan for three weeks is not how fitness is achieved. Sudden bursts of efforts are always outperformed by regular habits.
Most beginners fail to understand the concept of sustained efforts. They follow a training plan with high intensity or high volume. After a week or two, their body is exhausted and cannot reach the demands of the plan. And often, riders stop here and never come back to cycling.
Therefore, design a plan which does not take a lot of effort. Later, as you feel comfortable, you can increase the difficulty levels in multiple ways. An extra mile, the same distance with a higher tempo, a different terrain are all ways to progress.
This checklist will help you build the best training plan for yourself. Stick to the plan for a minimum of 12-14 weeks and then gauge your fitness progress. With tiny changes, your fitness levels will see newer heights.