I turned 30 last month, so I now think of myself as an experienced cycling coach (before 8th of November I was just talented…) I would like to share 5 techniques with you that can make a difference for your cycling career.
These techniques are not concrete training advice, but more about how you should act and think as a serious cyclist. If you implement these principles in your training routine, I’m sure you will improve your performance rapidly.
1.Every ride should have a purpose
I have always asked my riders to have a purpose with every single training session. Itâ€™s obvious that interval training sessions should be targeted specifically for the physiological skills you want to improve.
Thatâ€™s not as easy as it might sound, but most serious riders have (at least) an idea of why they do interval training every week.
I recommend my riders to have a purpose with all their rides, not only interval days and races, because I want to make them stronger and better cyclists every day. If itâ€™s a recovery day, itâ€™s a great chance to practise some technical skills which do not require physical power. Improve your cornering and recovery in the same ride.
The most talented rider Iâ€™ve trained has used this method for years now and one of his best skills is actually the technical part of cycling. Heâ€™s a mountain biker, so he enjoys these training days and they certainly make him a better rider.
2.Eliminate everything that does not make you stronger
If you perform training that doesnâ€™t make you a stronger rider (e.g. junk miles), try to eliminate this from your training and do more of the training that takes you closer to your goal.
Junk miles steal focus and donâ€™t significantly improve your fitness.
When you reduce training time, you increase your attention to the workout you perform. Doing shorter workouts make it easier to complete the training program as youâ€™ve planned it or maybe spend additional time on the training that helps you reach your goal.
3.Be proactive â€“ not reactive
It’s tempting to blame other people when things donâ€™t work out the way you like. You are being reactive and that is a negative attitude that will not help you closer to your goal.
Being proactive is about taking responsibility â€“ taking action. It is common knowledge, and it certainly makes sense.
When you take responsibility, you will achieve a lot more success because taking action yourself has several positive side effects.
For example, itâ€™s much better to try to make your group rides attractive instead of just complaining about why so few people join them. Does that make sense?
4.Hire a professional cycling coach
Professional coaches can develop better training plans and help athletes reach their physiological potential. I know many of you enjoy investigating exercise physiology, training tips and training programs (thatâ€™s why you are reading training4cyclists.com…)
But there is a huge difference between knowledge about exercise physiology and coaching yourself. When you have a cycling coach there is a positive pressure that helps you perform every single training session as scheduled.
If you coach yourself, itâ€™s easier to skip a session because your â€œcoachâ€ is more likely to accept your excuses. Athletes at all levels can benefit from having a coach or mentor for sparring.
5.Read articles and books about cycling training
The best way to continue your progress is to gain inspiration from other riders and coaches. There are many different strategies on how to reach your peak performance and most riders make up their own.
I use my knowledge from my education as a medical doctor (currently working with clinical physiology) and keep updated about exercise physiology and training principles. I read evidence-based scientific articles and books.
When you read less scientific material, you quickly realize that there are many opinions on how to train. It might sound counter-intuitive, but less scientific material is often more convinced about its theories than heavy scientific studies.
This is important to remember:
We donâ€™t know everything about cycling training and we never will. There is no perfect formula that fits all.
Here is what I do when I read non-scientific articles about cycling training. I listen to the arguments that sound reasonable, modify the best ideas and integrate them into my evidence-based training programs.
I hope you will use a similar approach to achieve the knowledge and results you are looking for.