Jenny's N.Y. Tips for Fitness and Performance
1. Consistency and Realism
Training for an endurance sport such as cycling is all about consistency, and the basis of this is realistic planning. Consider what time you really have for riding your bike each week, and go from there. For most, with work and family commitments, they end up loading the weekend, but in reality you may need the weekend for other things, and all important down time with your family. So perhaps work on a 4 week pattern where you ride for, say, 2hrs the first Sunday, 3hrs the next, 4hrs the next and then have a day off or 1hr ride on the fourth weekend.
2. Working Backwards
Decide what you are aiming for and work back from that event / goal. For anyone with a summer goal, January is just about starting to lay down the foundations towards that goal. That often means splitting out the components of cycling that make up the whole.
3. Think about Strength
The older we get the more this becomes a limiting factor. On bike strength work can have a huge effect on climbing ability. It is also easy to include in, say, a commute. Just be sure to spin an easy gear briskly between efforts.
4. Core is Fun
A good core / gym session once or twice a week is extremely worthwhile. The buzz word is “stability” these days. Gone is the boredom of weights machines, now we have balance boards, swings, Swiss balls and the like to perform our squats on. So find a good S&C coach and see whether they can devise you a plan that feels more like playing than working out.
5. Ditch the Tech - Occasionally
I regularly witness riders completely obsessed with the figures – watts, TSS, CTL, aerobic decoupling etc. These can all be useful for me as a coach, but getting too tied up with figures can also sap the joy from the purity of exercise. We all know when we feel good on a bike and when we don’t, when we are riding easy and when we are riding hard, regardless of a piece of kit confirming that. Work on developing innate faith in RPE (rate of perceived exertion) and use the rest selectively and with caution.
6. Something in The Tank
Always end a session with a little left in the tank – a feeling that you could have done another set, another hour etc. Working to 80% of what you could do allows the body and mind to recover more quickly, allowing greater frequency of sessions, and greater enthusiasm and enjoyment of those sessions. The whole “no pain, no gain” ethos is, IMHO, a load of old tripe.
7. Remember - It's Meant to be FUN!
Try to make sessions as enjoyable and fun as possible. Most of us have enough drudgery in our lives to not need to make gaining fitness another one. In terms of sustainability, I’d rather a client of mine be enjoying their sessions even if that comes at the slight cost of progress.