Cycling for Beginners
Road cycling for beginners can be very challenging and down right frightful (especially in big cities with traffic). Always take precessions and ride with someone who has experience and as always seek medical clearance for any program. Now, as for you beginners…I want to help. Here are few basic guidelines that will make life livable and fun on the bike. So, prior to training or riding consider these items: it has literally taken me years to figure this out and it is something I give to my university cyclists prior to every race season.
Get a professional bike fit!
Bike fits are a priority not to be taken lightly. I cannot tell you how many times I see athletes spend thousands on bikes and wheels and then squawk about $300.00 bike fit. I say save the money on the bike and get the fit. That really cool bike will be useless if you cannot ride it. Beginners usually do not think they need a fit, however, if you are concerned with avoiding poor cycling habits and injury GET A FIT! You will end up paying more in the long run. I have a bias to Retul as I am a bike fitter. I will say however, there are really good fitters out there. Do not go cheap here. There are various levels of fits. Pay, get a true professional fit!
Get into a routine and stick to it.
A set work schedule is key to setting up a good training schedule. Many beginner cyclists find balancing work and training to be the toughest challenge. If your work schedule is flexible, you’ll be able to maintain consistency with your workouts. If work schedule is rigid or unpredictable, make it a priority to get your cycling done in the morning before work. Not only do you benefit physiologically from morning workouts, but it’s simply easier to motivate yourself to train before work than after a long day on the job. Plus, training in the morning gives you the option of splitting your workout into two segments, AM and PM.
Surround yourself with a good support crew.
Cycling is hard. You need to surround yourself with supportive people who will be there for you physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually. Get them excited about your new dedication to cycling and the goals you set. Showcase your efforts for them. You will ride better knowing you have family and friends cheering you on and alongside you for the journey.
Be prepared for every day of training.
Make sure your equipment is ready to go. Know the weather forecast and dress (and/or pack) accordingly. It is very important to schedule time for a warm-up before your workout or race. The same goes for a cool down after. Know your day-to-day training load and plan your nutrition and hydration accordingly.
NAME YOUR BIKE!
This may be the most important thing to do. Funny, I know. I do not train an athlete unless he or she can identify with their equipment. Come up with a name that ‘fits.’ For example I have a carbon Time bike that handles with snake like precision on descents. So, I name it ‘Side-winder.’ It fits! One of my California Time Trial Champions uses a black carbon Specialized. He named it ‘Vader’ because when he competes he and his back present an unbeatable force…I know this is funny, but it’s a must.
Overall, have patience!! It may take time to get really good. Understand that the body needs plenty of time to develop. I promise if you keep at it, keep it fun, and enjoy the privileges of being an athlete you will reach your potential regardless of age.
Questions: Hit me up at Paul.Drake@Heartzones.com