By Arnie Baker
The only way to get finished is to get started.
Keep in mind these tips during the course of your cycling, whether you are a beginning or seasoned cyclist, or you are training indoors or out. Come back to this list for a quick reference occasionally as a way of initiating a review of your overall program. The tips will help keep you on the right track.
- Get a plan, set goals, and figure out what you need to get there.
- Keep a training log.
- Keep track of feet climbed with your bike computer.
- Periodize your week, training differently during different sessions.
- Learn to work harder on hard days, easier on recovery days. Plan for recovery.
- Work on different aspects of fitness in different workouts.
- Climb, climb, and climb. Learn to love climbing.
- Work on aerobics, endurance, and strength.
- Work on strength with heavy gears and one-legged riding.
- Train strength by riding hills or into the wind in big gears at about 50 rpm.
- Pull and push with the same-side hand and leg when climbing.
- Establish a breathing rhythm when working hard, especially when climbing.
- Ride with riders both stronger and weaker than you are.
- Play intensity games with friends.
- Improve your riding technique and skills though practice and from coaches.
- Generally ride with relaxed, bent arms. Time trial starts and sprints are different.
- Ride with knees up-and-down or knees in. Avoid knees-out riding. If you ride with knees out, you may need to raise your saddle or increase the distance between your feet using longer-axle pedals or pedal spacers.
- Train in different riding positions.
- Use a heart-rate monitor.
- Use a power meter.
- Wear a helmet and gloves. Keep your equipment safe and in good working order.
- Check your position on the bicycle, especially your seat height.
- Rely on food, not pills or supplements, for your nutrition.
- Maintain hydration; drink before you are thirsty.
- Keep carbohydrate solution in your water bottle.
- Optimize your weight.
- Redirect the stresses of your life.
- Have patience in your program.
- Do not try new equipment or foods for the first time on event day.
- When your group is warming up, or cooling down, ride in a smaller gear than just about everyone else to learn to spin better.
- Learn to work hard on a stationary bicycle trainer. Use online apps like Zwift or TrainerRoad if necessary to keep motivated.
- Practice skills such as pacelines, regularly.
- Watch good riders and how they flow without doing any more work than necessary. Try to learn from them.
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