How to Create an Effective Cycling Training Plan
There’s nothing quite like seeing the world from the seat of a bicycle.
You notice things that you’d never see with a car, and you get a good workout at the same time.
If you want to go on a cycling tour, you need to train ahead of time. You cannot just jump on the saddle and go.
To truly enjoy a cycling tour, you need to be in shape. And that’s why you need a cycling training plan. You will be able to enjoy your ride even more if you’re in shape and prepared for a fun day in the saddle.
The right cycling plan will prepare you for any distance of a tour you want to tackle, and you’ll end up enjoying your tour to its fullest.
Why Use a Cycling Training Plan?
You may wonder, why should I even use a training plan?
After all, you know how to ride a bicycle. You’ve been doing it since you were five. Even grandmas ride bicycles.
How hard can this be?
Cycling does take some amount of effort, though. When you take the time to train for a cycling tour, you will put yourself in great shape.
A good cycling training plan will gradually strengthen all of your muscles, including your heart. It will prepare your mind and body for a fun cycling tour.
To build your own cycling training plan, begin small. Cycle five days a week, and lift weights twice a week. Then build your distances weekly.
Your training plan should have three different levels of training.
At the base level, you develop a base level of strength and endurance. This way you can ride without your muscles tiring out over long stretches of time.
Focus on aerobic training here, where you cycle for long steady periods at a pace where you can talk. You should never feel breathless at this level.
At the base level, you burn the most fat, and you begin to eventually see your blood pressure and resting heart rate go down.
Focus on spinning at a cadence of 70 to 90 revolutions per minute. Use the easy gears on your bike.
Do not focus on hill climbing here. Just spin.
Once you have trained at the base level for a few weeks, shift to building riding strength.
At this level, you add resistance to your workouts. Make one of your rides a ride with mostly hills. You can also begin to ride at a harder gear but maintain the same rpm you had with your base level.
At the strength level, you’re putting stress on your circulatory and respiratory systems. You should be breathless at this stage as you increase your speed, strength, and endurance.
Do not shift from base level to strength level all at once. Gradually incorporate a strength day into your training. Start with once a week and then add in an additional day or two after a couple of weeks.
At the strength level of training, add in some basic strength training.
Focus on strengthening your core, hamstrings, quads, and shoulders in particular. Your hamstrings and quads power your bicycle, but your core and shoulders will hold you together for long rides.
If you do not have a lot of time, focus on doing squats, deadlifts, crunches, planks, and pushups every other day. Develop your own simple strength routine.
Once you’ve established your base and begun to build strength, you need to build endurance. If you’re taking a tour, you will be on the saddle for hours and days on end. Prepare for this by riding 40 to 50 miles a day, twice a week.
At this point, you’re training your body and your saddle region. You want to toughen up your sit bones.
Add in the endurance level last. Do not just hop your bike and pedal 50 miles.
Think Weekly, Not Daily
Look at the distance on a weekly basis and not on a daily basis. How many miles are you putting in each week? Then increase your weekly mileage by no more than ten percent each week to avoid overtraining.
Some weeks you will feel great. Other weeks will challenge you.
If you truly feel awful, do not press through a workout. Instead, take a day off.
Focus on hydrating, stretching and resting. Your body will thank you.
Plan for the Unexpected
Consistently doing a daily cycling training plan takes commitment. As the days and weeks wane on, you will want to just skip the workout.
In those days, think ahead as to why you’ve committed to this plan. Focus on the unexpected that you will see on your tour. Look at pictures of the things you can only see by bike, and then keep training.
You always have the chance that your tour will not take place on perfect weather days. So as you train, think about the unexpected things that can happen along the way.
For example, if you can train in bad but not dangerous weather, do it. Do not let wind or chilly temperatures stop you. Just dress appropriately.
Also, teach yourself how to change a flat tire. Recruit some cycling friends, and have a tire-changing clinic at your home so you can learn with friends.
Work on Mentality
A cycling tour will allow you to see the beauty of a location from the up-close level of a bicycle. You need to prepare your mind for days upon days of seeing beautiful sites from a bicycle.
Incorporate rest days to improve mental toughness. Your cycling training plan should have at least one rest day a week, where you do no cycling or strength training.
On this day, spend at least an hour meditating, thinking in silence.
If you can concentrate for an hour alone, you’ll be fine on a bike for hours on end. You need to practice being comfortable with your discomfort and still continuing on.
Cycle Happy, Cycle Free
At the end of the day, a cycling training plan will lead to a happy cyclist, ready to tackle whatever endurance challenge lies ahead. If you move through the base, strength, and endurance phases purposefully, you will be ready.
For amazing opportunities to see the world from the seat of a bicycle, contact us.