It’s the start of a new year, and for many cyclists their new year’s resolution will involve the word “more”. “This year I am going to ride my bike more”. “I’m definitely going to train more.” But if you are currently riding 5 or 6 days a week, "more" may not be the most effective way to improve. So here are 5 new year’s resolutions that can make you faster without riding more.
Mix it up
Don’t fall into the same old, same old trap. Mix up the intensity and duration of your rides throughout the week. Include a couple of hours easy, a cryin’ for your mama trainer session and some steady state FTP work. Variation is good for your riding because it stresses different energy systems. It also helps to keep you motivated and prevent boredom.
Make your easy, easy
Too many riders go too hard when they should be recovering. Placing easy, recovery days between hard rides allows your body to recover and be in good shape for your key sessions. Without proper recovery you risk being constantly fatigued and never fresh enough to put in the hard efforts that really generate improvement. If you can’t whistle on a recovery ride, you’re going too fast!
You may be fit, but how’s your your bone density, core strength and posture? The daily reality for many cyclists is they sit on a bike, sit at a desk and sit behind the wheel of a car. If that sounds like you, then you should be spending time in the gym. A good resistance program can help you deliver power better on the bike, pull your shoulders back, strengthen your core and have you walking taller.
Work on a weakness
Can’t sprint? Well how much time did you spend practising your sprint last year? How many 10 or 15 second maximum efforts did you do? Set aside one session or part of a ride each week to work on a weakness. You may never beat Marcel Kittel, but you may be surprised how much you can improve if you work at it.
Intervals are used by elite athletes the world over for one simple reason, they work.They can vary from short, sharp tabata efforts on the trainer to 20 plus minutes at FTP. When it comes to intervals, I only have one piece of advice, do them!