Get a Bike Fit
If you fall in love cycling as much as I have, you are bound to spend countless hours in the saddle. Being comfortable should be a number one priority as you can certainly dread popping on the bike if its giving your back pain, knee pain or a saddle sore! Not only can a bad bike fit mess with your comfort but it can also mess with your performance. The right bike fit can ensure you are getting the optimum pedal power, conservation of energy and aerodynamic performance. Find someone who is reputable in bike fitting who can use video analysis and possibly even someone who is offering computerized fitting. If you want to scrimp around and not pay for this service, enjoy the pains and don’t come cribbing to me. It is definitely worth it.
Improve road handling skills
Not only does improving your handling skills do wonders for your confidence but it also gives you an edge over your competitors. If you are a master at handing corners, gearing and are confident pushing through that corner, you are ten steps ahead of the majority of athletes. Too many times do athletes ride an out and back bike course in a training session with minimal cornering and at a pace. Come race day you have at least a couple of very sharp corners to take at a pace and the majority of athletes have not prepared for this, working on speed and technique and not on tactics. Take the time to practice cornering, braking and gearing starting slowly and gradually getting quick as you become more confident. Races can be won and lost with these skill sets.
Rest is important as your body heals and rests and actually makes you fitter and strong providing you are following the direction of a good coach. But there always seems to be the issue with cyclists and triathletes alike pushing through and continue training without breaks for fear they may loose some of their fitness. It’s always a constant challenge for coaches to convince their strong minded athletes that rest is an incredibly important part of the training and is just as important as a training session itself.
Find a good coach
Many coaches and clubs offer cycle coaching which can vary. Not only do coaches offer advice and coaching but they can also see what particular areas you need coaching in. I have had some athletes come to a cycling session and I can immediately see where they need improvement. For example, someone might be bouncing in their seat from a cadence which is just a little too high. This is wasting valuable energy and is normally a quick fix however it was a gradual progression for the athlete to learn this bad habit and it makes the athlete feel as though this is completely normal and would not know of this slight error unless a coach has picked it, called it and rectified it.
There are many issues that might arise simply from a bad habit arising or from starting out in cycling. It simply comes down too if someone isn’t looking at you that knows what they are doing, you can’t see it either to correct it.
I see it a lot still and this always grips my gears. Riders not wearing a helmet. From my experience of a few near misses and a couple of cycle crashes you can never be too careful.
- Wear protective equipment. A HELMET is a must.
- Be seen, wear a fluorescent cycling top/jacket.
- Concentrate of what you are doing and aware of your surroundings. That means no IPODS, listening to music with your thumb up your backside. Ditch it
You are not going to accomplish much in a coffin. Being visible on the road is a number one tool you can use to keep yourself safe. “be reactive” You need to think if that a car hasn’t seen you’ and try and read the driver. Always looking over your shoulder and listening to where the traffic is.
Find your motivation
Dragging your butt up early in the morning for a training session can be a massive struggle. Train with a partner. Knowing you could potentially let your training partner down by staying under the blankets and ignoring the 5.30am alarm clock are valid reasons to get up and get some miles in.
We can all come up with excuses but finding your ‘non excuse’ This can be cycling with your team mates, ticking the boxes off your training diary, a weight loss goal, riding a one new road every session, completing an overall km goal target and mixing up sessions, trying to beat your km per hour average. There are many different ways of motivating yourself.
I highly recommend having a training diary to record your sessions. It makes those sessions just a little more real and validated when you write, track and record your sessions. They are also a great motivation tool. If you are having an off day, go back and have a look at when you first started and see how far you have come.
Train Safe, Coach Goldie