How to Jump-Start Your Training Routine!
Days are getting longer, weather’s getting warmer and the snow is getting patchy in most of the country right now. Maybe you’re thinking about putting away your skis and snowshoes for the season and swapping them out for your long-neglected wheels. If you haven’t been on the bike in a couple months, you should be careful about how you begin your training. Here are some handy tips to jump-start your springtime cycling!
1 – Don’t overdo it!
Set realistic goals for your first few weeks of riding. Don’t try to go out and crush a century ride off the couch – that’s a path straight to injury! Instead, try a 20-miler at first. Even if it feels easy, it’ll ease your body back into the motions of cycling. As you get stronger, you’ll be able to increase your mileage without putting yourself in danger of developing an injury.
PS: All of our bike tour guests get a suggested training schedule to accomplish the mileage on their chosen tour. Completing the training can make your time on tour so much more fun! You’ll have more energy at the end of each day, and you’ll avoid soreness from multi-day riding.
2- Be flexible with your schedule
If it’s sleeting and snowing outside, don’t feel like you absolutely have to ride. Switch up your training routine to suit the conditions. You could throw on a rain jacket and go for a hike, or stay in and do a yoga routine. If you feel like you absolutely have to ride, hit up your local gym for a spin class!
As you start a training program early in the year, it’s important to remember that you’ve got lots of time ahead. Don’t jeopardize your summer plans by slipping on the ice!
3- Add some resistance
Being outside on your bike is definitely the most enjoyable way to be a cyclist! But going to the gym can be hugely beneficial. Lifting weights keeps your muscles strong so you can spend even more time on the bike.
Lifting light weights can build your muscular endurance. Muscular endurance is critical for cycling. It’s what gives your muscles the stamina they need to keep trekking through the miles, and you can also bolster yourself against overuse injuries.
Since cycling is a series of repetitive pedal strokes, building your muscular endurance can protect you from a repetitive use injury. This is most important in the areas of the body that work the most when you’re cycling – the hips, calves, and core. Along with lifting weights, you can work out your hips and core using resistance bands. A little time in the gym will help you get stronger, faster and more comfortable on the bike!
4- Make sure you recover
When you don’t give yourself enough time to rest and repair, you are putting yourself at risk of illness, injury, and overtraining, on top of slowing your progress. After all the riding and working out, you have to make time to rest. Eating right, stretching and taking days off is key to repair tired muscles.
Taking in the proper nutrients after a ride of any length or intensity can help you recover and get ready for your next ride. Make sure you eat a balanced diet with carbs, protein and nutrient dense foods that make your body happy!
And you know that you’re supposed to stretch. But sometimes you’re late for work, the dog needs a walk, or you feel too tired at the end of the day to stretch out. But skipping this step in your training can hurt more than just your flexibility. This activity is vital for many aspects of training, such as recovering post-ride or decreasing your risk of injury. (Read about some handy Best Yoga Stretches for Cyclists!)
Finally, rest days or recovery rides are terrific tools to re-set your legs after a long week of training. An easy recovery ride can flush out your legs. During this easy ride, the increased blood flow will enhance and speed up your recovery. But if you’re really beat, try your best to do nothing! Need to move? Go for a walk or play fetch with the dog! Your body will thank you.
5 – Keep your bike in good shape too!
It’s a good idea to clean up your bike in preparation for springtime riding. Throughout the spring, you should continue to keep your chain clean and lubed, your tires at the right pressure and all your gear safely locked away somewhere dry. A shiny bike is a happy bike!
Hopefully a few of these tips help you get back on the bike and into your training routine! Once you take that first ride, we’re sure you’ll be hooked by the sense of freedom and adventure on the bike!
PS: If you need anything to start up your spring riding, check out our online gear shop!