“Cycling never gets easier, you just get faster” – Greg LeMond
Whether you’re road cycling, mountain biking or just streamlining your ride to work there are lots of ways to forgo easy and find a faster you.
- Goal Setting
First, why not set a goal you are confident in achieving. Do you want to compete in 100-mile sportive, conquer Mont Ventoux, or just knock five minutes off your commute? A specific target is much easier to hit, so set a definite, measurable medium-term goal and work back from there.
- Enter an event
This will give you a clearly defined date to work towards. Proudly tell everyone you’re doing it so it’s harder to back out. There are hundreds of on- and off- road rides you can enter, including Halfords’ sponsored Breeze rides specifically for women.
- Get the right bike
Why opt for something that just “does the job”. Buy a bike to live up to, one that’s better than you need, and then aim to outperform it. Above all, ensure you get measured so your bike fits correctly and matches your riding goals.
- Get out of the saddle
Build in some off-bike training: stretching, strength work and core exercises will help you maintain a good riding position and keep your upper body still. Slouching on the saddle leads to back and shoulder pain, so focus on posture and find time for those simple stretches mid-ride, plus full body ones at home. Many cyclists are also doing yoga and Pilates which are great ways to strengthen your core.
- Get an app
There are dozens of apps promising to turn your phone into a personal trainer. The most popular – with good reason – is Strava, which tracks your rides and lets you race specific route segments against other riders, or just keep whittling away at your own PB. Whatever you choose though, try not to fixate on screens and stats too much –take a moment to sit back and enjoy the views.
- Eat Smart
More miles means more fuel. It’s great knowing every brownie’s been earned, but you’ll perform better if you eat well and keep your heart happy. For long rides you’ll need extra carbs for energy, and protein for muscle recovery. Take time to refuel your body post ride and make sure to get some well-earned rest
- Be social
Riding with others is more fun, helps with motivation and can help you push yourself more, especially if you ride with someone that little bit faster than you. Recruit a riding buddy, try a cycling club or join instagram and twitter. Post your best training pictures @halfords_uk for the chance to be included on our instagram wall of fame.
- Make time to ride:
Sounds simple, but it’s often the biggest challenge when upping your mileage. The best way to build training into your timetable without sacrificing other plans is to make the most of your commute. Take control of your diary and plan your rides for the week ahead.