To get the most out of your training there is more to do than simply just turning up to ride. Planning some simple things into your cycling training can ensure that you gain the optimum from each session. Having a specific strategy that addresses what you are aiming to get out of a day on the bike will go along way to achieving success.
Discipline is the one thing all serious athletes require in order to reach their goals. It is the common element that can be found resident within all those that we look up to in the sporting arena and aspire to be like. For me the simple action of getting out of that warm bed early in the morning is the hardest step of all! Discipline demands that you make decisions ahead of time. There will be no saying no if it is too cold or too hot. There will be no question as you lay your head on the pillow of whether you will be rising with dawn or not. Discipline is often the difference between the great and the good.
Serious cyclists always need benchmarks and the extra incentive to spur them on to the top of the mountain peak they are aiming for. This is why I advise a training group. They will have significant benefits for all. I recommend a group of at least 4 and no ore than 6. Exceeding this and you won’t be missed if you skip a day which can eventually lead to you dropping off. This number will allow everyone to feel a part of the group and bring accountability. A feeling that you letting the others down is not a bad one and can push just when you may need that little nudge.
There are many benefits in being part of a smallish cycling training group. The healthy competition factor can be an incredible booster and helps us push the front wheel over the line of comfort and consequently make us better and stronger riders. As a group setting some times occasionally to reach a particular destinations, or setting a time for a section of the ride, adds variety and keeps the competition edge alive and well. Be honest with each other and set goals and offer advice to aid each others development as a cyclist.
Catering for the variance in abilities in the group can be managed so all feel they are getting maximum benefit. Use the younger and fitter guys as lead wheel according to the difficulty of the route you have selected and train in a time trial formation - and go hard! Allow those who need recovery to stay at the back for longer stints. Steep climb sections may require a few really top members of the team to reach the top, turn round and head down to rejoin the group and head to the summit again. Thus all working to their potential. Discuss these little things before heading out.
Assess the groups weaknesses and strengths. Some are sprinters, some climbers, some real all rounders. The group factor can really come into play to help each other overcome their area of cycling weakness. Help those that hate the hills and steadily speed up the non sprinters. Changing your route will assist this. Also having a short loop circuit when hill training can be fun so the better riders can surge ahead and catch the group so in essence you are still training together. Finishing off the session with a group handicapped sprint can be great enjoyment and leave you feeling like you have really pushed yourself.
Keep the session fun and allow the relationships within the group to strengthen by planning some other events apart from cycling training. If you have partners or kids, take them on a cycle track adventure altogether. Find a social event to dine together. These times can also be used to discuss ways in which training can be kept enjoyable and an event to look forward to. Closeness will bring accountability and understanding. It is human trait that a sense of a strong bond between team athletes significantly enhances performance. Some of the best personal times are run, swam or cycled in a relay or team event! If you are competing in individual events at a particular competition, having these training buddies around will assist your performance as well. You watch!
Set yourself up to succeed by ensuring that you have all the physical requirements and advantages before, during and after training. Assess individually what your body requirements are by experimenting with differing quantities of food and liquid intake. Amino Sports Fuel drinks will ensure maximum output of energy as well as replacing vital ingredients such as electrolytes that the body has sucked from you under physical exertion. Use these before and definitely during competition and training. I also cannot stress highly enough the need for a protein shake after cycling. Preferably within 30 minutes after exercise. Whey protein shakes will significantly assist your muscle to recovery, growth and repair. Don’t waste your training!
Keep safety as a priority. Before a single pedal has turned, quickly discuss the safety issues of the route - transition points, equipment, high traffic areas, weather conditions, clear signals that all the group can understand and react to. Be aware of when others and yourself are fatigued. Let each other know. This is when accidents invariably occur when cycling; apart from inconsiderate drivers, when riders reactions and senses are marred due to physical stress and exhaustion. That’s why it’s good to finish with a predetermined safe stretch home.
Colin Johnson has been an elite sports coach, drug educator and father of five children all in one lifetime! He lives with his family on the shores of beautiful Lake Macquarie. Colin strongly recommends Sports Amino Fuel for energy and stamina for the endurance athlete and whey protein shakes for muscle recovery and development. These sports nutrition supplements can be purchased conveniently and cheaply online at http://www.protein4health.com and Colin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org to answer any health supplement related questions.