How to Tuesdays: 5 Ways To Improve Your Cycling Year

Continuing on our theme from yesterday (Motivational Monday: I feel good today, how to feel good for the rest of the year?) this post will help you to specify and physically track your goals which will keep you attentive and excited to improve.

So many of us start the year with the greatest of intentions to improve our cycling whether it be overall fitness, technical ability or goals to recover better. As we settle into the New Year we gradually become too focussed on work and family that we tend to forget what we set out to achieve.

There is nothing like seeing an upcoming race/goal in a few weeks to get you training so we recommend that you start by going out and buying a wall mounted calendar or any calendar that you are able to view all the weeks of the year without having to flip any pages. It should preferably be a plastic one that you can write on with coloured markers. Stick it up in your office, study, garage or bike room to ensure that you see it every day which will keep motivated to get closer to achieving your goal.

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Then, apply these 5 steps to improve your 2014 cycling year by keeping you focussed

1.)    Set your goal for the year:

Be realistic when choosing a goal for the year; if you are the type of person who needs constant motivation set one major year-end goal and two smaller ones leading up to it to help keep you on track. The smaller goals could be completing the red route at Northern Farm without resting or without pushing over any technical sections or cycling up that one hill just that little bit faster. Your year-end goal could be to complete the 94.7 or even to finish the 94.7 is less than 3hrs (or whatever time limit you so wish to set for yourself). Write this at the top of your calendar and circle your deadline dates in red.

2.)    Plan your racing season:

Start by underlining all the important dates of the year in red; birthdays, anniversaries and holidays to ensure you have no setbacks or last minute cancellations especially when travelling is involved. Make a list of all the races you plan on competing in in the year, pick four or five of your favourites and make sure that there are at least 6-8 weeks of recovery in between each of these races so that you always go into an event well rested. Make these your high priority events and circle them in blue on your calendar (fill in as much information as possible, distance, location, time and so on). In between these high priority events you can have training events where you can test your fitness, make diet adjustments on the bike and generally experiment with ways to improve your race strategy.

3.)    Plan your recovery weeks:

Recovery is one of the most important segments of your training, rest weeks should be scheduled roughly every four weeks where you reduce your weekly riding or gym sessions by 50% to allow for recovery before heading into races or back into your training. Many cyclists find it difficult to tap off the training so, keep yourself busy by doing routine bike maintenance, plan to see your friends this week or use it as your cheat week. Highlight or write your recovery days in yellow to remind yourself to keep it light.

4.)    Apply a diet:

Aim to make some diet changes, no matter what your goal is some small changes will make a world of difference. Some easy adjustments to make are: allowing yourself alcoholic or soft drinks only on weekends, reducing your salt and sugar intake, eating lean meat or adding veggies to every meal.

5.)    Track your progress:

Keep a record of your of your current figures that relate to your goal. If your goal is to lose weight record you BMI or if your goal is to ride faster record your lap times and heart rate at your favourite local trail and so on.  Then, record your improvements on a monthly or a weekly basis. It is also important to note your training and diet program so if improvements start to slide backwards you can pinpoint where the issue lie and get back on track. All of this can be done on the back of your calendar so no loose papers disappear.

We will be expanding on each of these tips in due course but hope that for now these five easy steps help to keep you focussed and motivated for the cycling year ahead.

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