Hello and welcome to the ADAM COPLEY: PERSONAL TRAINING blog. Here you will find weekly updates designed to educate you on strength and conditioning for cycling. Over the coming weeks I will be covering all aspects of conditioning your body for cycling and how it can benefit you in terms of comfort, speed, and improving your riding. So, without further delay. Let’s get right into this week’s entry!
This week I want to talk to you all about getting back out on the bike after a long winter off. Yes, you may have ridden off road, used your turbo trainer or attended spin classes, but you haven’t been on the road bike for a while. Your body will need to adapt to the riding position, constant movement and difference in the air you are breathing. This blog is all about helping you get back on your bike with ease. And not over doing it so you think: “I actually used to enjoy this?” If you have been riding through the winter, wow, you are better than me as it has been a winter of mountain biking for me and running.
Anyway, let’s get into it!
1: Don’t go all out on your first ride:
It’s easy to get back on the bike with enthusiasm and plan out a huge route with more climbing than most mountains but hold off. If you haven’t covered any serious outdoor miles for a while ease into it. Get a 30-miler done, then a couple of 50’s, then step it up and hit the big numbers. Going too hard too soon can ruin our riding experience as your body isn’t used to that position. So, you will end up hurting your lower back, hamstrings and occasionally your knees due to being clipped in. Remember you are just getting back out after a long winter and ease your body into it. Secondly, if you have been cycling indoors you aren’t used to breathing in the air, pollution, pollen and various other factors all effect your breathing in the open so take this into account. It’s the same when you run on a treadmill and then go outdoors. It’s a lot harder.
Start off small, increase it gradually.
2: Plan your route:
This ties nicely into tip number one. Plan your route according to the fitness you have gained or lost over the winter. If you feel like you have lost leg strength and stamina, then maybe a route that is full of big hills is good for your mind or your body. If you have been riding a lot over winter (even off road) then hills and regular road riding will be easier to get back into. Plan your route according to your fitness that you have gained or lost over the winter and you will be able to enjoy your first ride.
If you have been working on strength over the winter, plan something flat so you can see if you have become more efficient, or faster on the flatter, less cadence-based roads. If you have been working on climbing, then get out and climb.
You could also use your first ride back as a test to see what you need to work on moving forwards, planning a route that has testing climbs, long flats and descents. You can use this as a test to see what you need to work on over time, leading on to tip number 3:
3: Always remember you are progressing:
Progression is king, we love it as cyclists. So why not use your first ride to progress your riding and build a plan on how you are going to make this year your fittest yet.
One example of this: This year is my second on the road and I want to push my mileage in one ride to the magic 100 miles. I haven’t ridden on the road yet but have spent loads of time losing weight, and riding off road getting miles in. I think I’ve got 40 miles in me for my first ride, I will then up this to 50, 60, and then 70. Then I will go for the 100-mile target.
Remember too, because our bodies are conditioned to the winter regime, we set our muscle memory will engage and we will feel fit in no time on the bike.
So, use your first rode as a test if you like, plan out what you are going to do to hit your goals this year.
And there we go. I hope you have enjoyed the last couple of articles that have given you a break from the gym. Next week we are getting back into it and I am going to show you how to plan out your training week.
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About The Author: Adam Copley
Adam is a self-employed coach based in Sheffield, UK. Alongside this he is an avid cyclist and competes in cross country mountain biking across the UK. He has raced Cyclocross during the winter and is also a huge lover of road cycling. While he's not working on his business, he is usually out on two wheels getting fitter, and enjoying the fresh air and many climbs in the peak district.