5 Tips to Achieve your Cycling Goals in 2017
How did your mileage go in 2016? Did you achieve your goal(s)?
Rolling home on my last ride of 2016, which was on New Years Eve, my total hours in saddle account got finalised – 452 hours (equating to 8,500 miles). I also completed a big challenge I’d been planning, climbing Mt Teide in Tenerife.
Looking back to 2008 when I first got back on the bike, that’s the biggest year I’ve ever had however it was also a very structured year having begun working with a coach back in August 2015 in order to maximise the output from the training hours I have available. Outcome being I’m fitter and faster than I’ve ever been. I’m often asked what keeps me going and how I fit it all in and what sort of training I do (as with all advice, consult an expert if in any doubt).
Here’s five tips that I’ve picked up: –
You have to have a motivation to train and that often comes from having something on your horizon which allows you to stay focused. A technique I use is to always have a ‘big dirty goal’ (BDG). Something that you know is going to be a stretch and always be traveling in your direction as time elapses (like climbing Mt. Teide). It gives you the reason to train, to do those intervals or to get out on the road if weather conditions aren’t ideal. Without a motivation, it’s easy to skip a training session or go off the rails.
Vary your Training
The reason why half my time is on a Wattbike is down to intervals, that is building short, sharp bursts of intensity or controlled periods where you can keep a certain tempo linked to a heart rate or power, getting maximum out of a time constrained session. Varying your rides is a good way to do this and to keep interest levels high. If on the road, start with a good warm up of at least 30 minutes, then perhaps find a decent five minute climb and do a few efforts up which raise your heart rate, remembering to recover between each for about the same amount of time. Look to vary the time you spend in heart rate zones.
My life is pretty busy, often involving a lot of travel nationally and internationally whilst also juggling other commitments and a family. Planning is key in achieving a goal and I start each month looking to achieve around 35-40 hours training. This takes diary management and I’ll look to do things like book hotels which have gyms with ergo bikes, or get up very early in the morning and crack out a session before setting out for the day. Weekends I look to fit in five to six hours. All this needs to be thought out in advance rather than left to chance, this is key.
Make your goals public or sign up for a BDG with a training partner. Share your goals with your family so you’ve got the necessary support in place but ultimately find someone to be accountable to. Thankfully I have a coach now who fills that role however a training partner can do just the same thing. It’s surprising what a bit of company will do for you on a wet day, it becomes more of a shared experience if you know someone is turning up come rain or shine. Accountability is about consequences plus reward.
Rest and Recovery
I’m no performance athlete however if you do get a chance to speak to one, they will talk about rest and recovery with the same importance as a hard days training and you should too. Over training can have an impact on your overall performance so its also key to plan in rest and not go too hard. Also to vary your rides and fit in some recovery rides after hard sessions for example. Having rest, staying hydrated, eating and sleeping well will keep your body in the right condition to train.
Phil Jones MBE is Managing Director of Information, Communication and Technology business – Brother UK Ltd and a road cycling enthusiast. He writes a cycling blog at www.race-pace.net and can be found on Twitter @roadphil. Phil has three Beacon bikes, a BF_20 winter bike, BF_45 carbon winter bike and a BF_100 performance road bike.