However seriously you take your cycling – whether you’re a veteran looking to push yourself toward that next enormous charity cycle ride or a hobbyist who just wants to keep fit while having fun – you’ll want to know how you can tweak your cycling routine in order to keep things engaging, and keep those gains coming.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you might make those small adjustments.Combine a few of them and you’ve scope for an enormous number of different workouts – and so you’re sure to be able to stave off that boredom and work towards those cycling challenges.
Vary the Intensity
Interval training is a great way to stress your body into growth.It’s the favoured technique of everyone who’s serious about getting results on their bike.The principle of runs thusly:intersperse periods of high-intensity activity with periods of lower-intensity, ‘recovery’ time.So, you might pedal to 80% or more of your maximum heart rate for a few minutes, before returning to a leisurely pace for a few minutes more.These intervals can be anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.
Vary the Duration
Generally speaking, it’s better to get more done in a shorter space of time in your training.That’s why interval training is so effective – it allows us to avoid spending huge amounts of time pedalling.But there is still something to be said from occasionally going for a long, consistent ride, focusing your attention on keeping your gait smooth and your body compact.
By keeping things as smooth as possible, you’ll be able to last longer – and you’ll be able to have a more accurate impression of your progress, too.Over time, your performance in hour-long time trials should gradually increase.Ideally, it should increase at a rate which will see you meet all of the checkpoints on the way to your long-term goal.
Train with a Partner
In order to give yourself the best chance of success, you’ll want to train alongside a friend.This will give you the impetus to train every week, and guard against the temptation to skip a session.After all, you won’t want the embarrassment of trying to get out of your training every week!
If you’re training alongside someone of a similar ability, then you’ll be able to compare your progress.Friendly competition – provided that it doesn’t stray into unfriendly competition – can be a great means of spurring yourself on to your next objective.
Aside from these benefits, training with a partner is a great deal more fun than training alone – and for that reason it’s recommended!
Vary the Frequency
In between training sessions, your muscles will need to be given time to recover.This is the point at which you make your actual gains – those tiny tears in the muscles of your leg and core will need to repair themselves, forming a stronger and more powerful new version of the muscle.
By cramming many high-intensity sessions into a short space of time, you run the risk of overtraining – putting your body under more strain than it can handle.Most amateur cyclists will not come close to this particular red line – but they might still benefit from occasionally taking a break.
By leaving a day or more to recover, you’ll be able to make the training sessions you do go to count.So, if you’re doing five half-hour sessions a week, then you might consider varying the stimulus so that you’re doing just three two-hour sessions – or better yet, cramming more intensity into a few super-intense sessions.
Vary the Stimulus
In order to avoid the threat of boredom, it’s essential that cyclists vary their routine occasionally.Not only will this make you happier and more interested in the activity, it’ll also make you more physically able to cope with the unexpected challenges you might encounter during a long bike ride.
If you’re forever cycling on the road, then you might try a trip through a local forested area.If you’re always out in the world, then you might try your performance on a stationary exercise bike (which can be tailored to provide just the stimulus you need to progress).
Of course, you might also benefit from varying the stimulus still further and engaging in some cross-training.Go for a long hike at the weekends, or a jog, alongside your usual cycling routine.You’re sure to experience gains that you wouldn’t from simply going on the same cycling routine over and over again.