By Patricia Schwager
We all know that to become better at something we need to practice.
Consistent training is key, in order to make progress in your training. If you like to become better at riding your bike you have to train. By training hard we stress our body physically. During recovery, after hard training, is when the body adapts.
It's important to plan structured, targeted and regular training followed by rest days and rest periods. If your coach is giving you a day off or a rest week then it is for a reason….stick to it and don’t be afraid of taking a day off or heading out for a very easy recovery spin.
If you are following a training plan, then make sure you follow the plan as well as you can. Don’t change up your training days. If you change workouts around, be careful, because all of a sudden you are going hard when you should be resting or you are doing 2 hard sessions in the very same day followed by 3 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. It is better is to ask your coach to adjust your plan. An important rule is: 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/ long rides.
Following a training plan can be tricky. If you are a pro rider then you have the privilege to build your day around your training. However, most of us have to juggle many other things along with getting the training session done. Work, family time, other hobbies, walking your dog, etc. the list goes on.
Below are a few tricks and tips to make it easier to follow a structured plan and bring more consistency in your training!
-Realistic goal settings/ realistic training load!
Before you commit to a plan think about how much time do you really have for training. How many hours per day and per week? Very important is that you are realistic about the time you have available for training. Doing 4 solid/ good quality rides per week is better than planning on 6 rides per week but you almost never get them done because it is just too much to handle next to all the other tasks on your schedule.
-Set a goal!
Why are you training or working out? Working towards a goal is motivating! Having a goal in mind helps you to get your workouts done and will make you wanting to keep with the routine. If it gets hard you know that you need this workout or session done because it will help you to reach your goal. This goal can be something simple, for example: getting more fit. Or it could be a certain group ride and you like to be able to ride with the group instead of getting dropped.
-Sign up for a race or competition!
Signing up for a race or competition is a great goal. But think before you are signing up for a race/ competition. What does it require to complete that race or competition? Do you have enough time for the preparation?
-A training plan that fits the individual needs of every athlete!
If you are working with a good coach then she/ he should come up with an individual plan for you. The workouts have to fit into your personal schedule. The more details and info you can provide, the easier it is for your coach to create a good plan for you. Plans that are coming out of the drawer won’t work and you shouldn’t spend your $$ on it.
Variety helps you to stay motivated and will avoid that you get burned out by riding our bike only.
Also, riding your bike only can create imbalance because 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 MTB, riding a Fatbike, 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!