In Marginal Gains for Overall Performance Improvement: How to Identify Dozens of Micro-Improvements in Your Cycling, Coach Fred lays out the concept that was the underpinning of Team Sky’s approach to reaching its lofty goal of putting a British rider in the Tour De France’s yellow jersey in 5 years. (Of course, they did it twice – in half that time.)
“How did Team Sky do it?” Coach Fred asks in his new eArticle. “One major contributor to their success was the concept of ‘Marginal Gains.’ Simply put, it’s the idea that if you can identify dozens of very small improvements, each insignificant by itself, the combination of those miniscule gains would translate into a major overall improvement in performance.
“It’s an idea that has potent consequences for recreational riders,” Coach Fred continues. “If we can pinpoint a few small changes in our bike fits, diets, training plans, event-day organization and many other areas of possible improvement, the resulting performance gains can be large. Look at it this way: a dozen changes, each yielding improvements of less than 1%, can result in total gains of 10% or more.”
Let that sink in for a minute: Instead of slavishly working on one big improvement at a time (the normal m.o. of roadies), we could instead – and without a whole lot of effort – tick off a dozen or so smaller improvements that, taken together, can make a sizable overall impact on our cycling.
I don’t know if there’s ever a “magic bullet” to cycling improvement, but the concept of marginal gains might be as close as you can get.
Across categories including bike fit, training, equipment, rest stops, nutrition, recovery, psychology, stretching, organization on tours and at cycling camps, Coach Fred lays out “specific strategies you can use to identify many small changes you can make to your cycling—and your life—that will make you a much better rider than you are now.”
He finishes with a bonus: 10 mini-marginal gains that require only what he calls “micro adjustments” to your daily routine and training.
The best part of this approach to improvement is that Coach Fred’s ideas can serve merely as a springboard to a universe of possible marginal gains that you can uncover for yourself.
“Not all of [my suggestions] will be useful given your specific situation in life, your cycling goals or the amount of time you want to spend searching for small improvements,” he says in the eArticle. “But even if a technique doesn’t work for you, it may suggest several other things you could do to help your performance.”
Marginal Gains for Overall Performance Improvement: How to Identify Dozens of Micro-Improvements in Your Cycling is on sale now in the RBR eBookstore – for only $4.99; Premium Members pay only $4.24 after their standard 15% discount.
– John Marsh