The easiest and most effective way to stay on track with your training is to get involved with competitive cycling. If you don’t have a training partner or any type of completion to keep you motivated it is easy to get in the habit of skipping a day or not pushing yourself as hard as you should.
When you know there is a race in your near future you are more likely to train your hardest for long-term results. I will warn you though that training for competitive cycling can be exhausting at times. However, when a race results in a metal, trophy, or some other type of prize you will agree that every second of hard work was worth it.
Competitive Cycling Training
“Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” This quote by Thomas A. Edison can definitely be applied to this type of cycling. Being a champion is not going to come easy. You will need to be dedicated to your training. Cycling will no longer be a fun activity you do when you want a little fresh air. It will become a priority in your life.
Training for Stamina
Stamina is something you will need a lot of if you are going to get involved with competitive cycling. Endurance training tends to pose the biggest challenge to cyclists. You may think you are in optimal shape, but start training and find your cardiovascular performance is not even close to where it needs to be. A lot of this training is mental, too. These stamina training techniques will help get you to where you need to be for competitive cycling.
- It doesn’t matter if you are leading the pack or hanging in the back for the majority of the race; there will come a time when you are going to need to sprint. This may be to pass the next rider or escape one gaining on you. Interval training will ensure you are able to sprint when you need to.
- To interval train you need to include high-intensity sprints in your low-intensity cycling.
- To do this you will cycle at about 50 percent of your maximum amount of time or 3 to 5 minutes and then add in a sprint for 30 seconds. Continue with this rotation for 10 to 20 repetitions.
- With time you should be able to decrease “rest time” while increasing sprint time.
- Long distance riding needs to be done once per week.
- Even if you are training for a 1,200-meter race you should do marathon rides. These rides will increase your overall speed on shorter races because they will feel so much easier than the long rides you have become used to.
- Don’t focus on intensity during your marathon rides. Distance should be the primary concentration. Strive to increase your distance 5 percent with each new marathon ride.
Training for Strength
To gain the maximum amount of explosive power as possible, weight lifting will need to be included in your competitive cycling training. Sprints are great, but you need to build muscle. Don’t worry, this does not mean you need to blow up like a weight lifter. You simply need to tone and strengthen the muscles you have.
Challenge Your Muscles
To strengthen your muscles they will need to constantly be challenged. Hitting 15 repetitions at a specific weight today may be hard, but two weeks from now you will breeze through them. At this point your progress stalls. Increase weight or repetitions or both. Make sure you challenge yourself.
Focus on Form
Don’t get too obsessed over numbers. You may not ever be able to train with the weight of the guy next to you, and this is okay. Maintaining proper form needs to be your focus while competitive cycling training. This will target the muscle fibers correctly for maximum results, while also helping to prevent injury.
Sample Workout 1
- Squats – 20 repetitions X 3 sets
- Dumbbell Lunges – 20 repetitions X 3 sets
- Calf Raises – 30 repetitions X 3 sets
Sample Workout 2
- Squats – 6 repetitions X 3 sets
- Deadlifts – 6 repetitions X 3 sets
- Leg Press – 8 repetitions X 5 sets
If you ever have a question regarding form, ask a trainer at the gym. Don’t just do what someone else does, because their form could be incorrect.
Recommended Equipment for Biking Competitively
Following a thoughtful training routine will have you ready for competitive cycling faster than you think. However, if you really want to supercharge progress and maximize results, consider buying these three essential pieces of biking equipment.
Having the power to track your progress will ensure maximum results. A power meter makes this possible. You can visibly see your performance results and use this information to set and track new goals.
Stationary Bike Trainer
Nothing can replace the training you get in the great outdoors. However, if you are training for competitive cycling then you cannot afford to skip days just because there is a blizzard or dangerous storm outside. A An indoor bike trainer will allow you to stay on track. Magnetic and fluid trainers are recommended for the most realistic experience.
Bicycle Repair Kit
It does not matter if you are participating in a cross country cycling race or a short circuit; you never know when a part will malfunction. Bicycle repair tools should always be carried with you whether you are training or racing.
If you plan on participating in competitions, you need to invest in a high-quality bicycle, apparel, and safety gear. Cycling clothes, bike helmets, and other bicycle accessories, such as shin guards and arm sleeves will help ensure maximum performance.
Get Your Mind Right
You need to have the right mindset to be successful with competitive cycling. You need to know you can do this. You can win! You just need to be dedicated to the training to help you reach your goals. If you let your mind shift to doubt you won’t succeed.