Cycling - Knowledge

An Ideal Cycling Training Plan for Beginners to Follow

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Cycling, undoubtedly, is an exciting activity that helps keep a person fit and healthy. When you do decide to include cycling into your workout routine, it is crucial that you follow an appropriate plan. Training and exercising for cycling can radically improve your performance and give you an edge over for when you plan to go for marathons and races. Plan your cycling training plan today!

There are a lot of aspects associated with training and you need to consider all of them for a successful experience.

Mentioned in this article are the different phases of training, the correct methods, and all the other related things.

Let’s have a look at them.

Getting Started

Once you have decided to include cycling in your workout routine, you need to have a fair idea of the steps required that would help you in building your fitness, knowledge and confidence. Mentioned below are a few steps which by following, you would be able to become operational on the road. Also, remember that there might be some trial and error involved with beginner cycling training and so you would have to remain patient.

Prepare yourself for cycling
Prepare yourself for cycling

The very first step would be to look for the best beginner bikes and if you already own one, get it checked. A proper fit of your beginner road bike is essential when it comes to enjoying a comfortable ride.

Now, once you have your bike, the next step for your cycling training program for intermediates or beginners would be to get a professional fit for the bike. In this process, the expert would measure the flexibility as well as the proportions so as to make adjustments to the bike.

Also, get a narrower and a firm model of the saddle that is most commonly found in sports bikes.

Check Ideal Saddle Height is Never Same for Two People: Find yours!

Power Up

Once you get on the bike, you would require a consistent nutritional upkeep to keep the pedals going. Primarily, foods that are rich in high-carbohydrates must be consumed.

While you are on the bike, easily chewable items, gels, and bars are convenient options. Also, an added bonus is the fact that they consist of electrolytes. Nutritional bars can also be a useful option however, you must consider checking the ingredients and the size of the servings. Bars that are hard-to-digest, have high proteins or fat must be avoided.

Check Pro Cyclists Diet: What Should an Ideal Diet Plan consist of?

Build Fitness

The below-mentioned steps must be followed so as to build the lungs and legs of the cyclists.

  • Begin easy: Do not try to stress yourself way too much. You must start with a goal that’s low-mileage. Something between five to eight miles would work absolutely fine. As you progress, keep on adding a bit each week.

  • Train on a Regular Basis: When you are following your cycling training plan, it is essential that you train on a regular basis. This would help you get accustomed to the bike. Riding a minimum of three times a week is a sensible aim and would help you to get fit for cycling. Also, this way you wouldn’t get too exhausted.

  • Train Moderately: Your training or rather workouts must be finished like you could actually do more.

  • Pay attention to Recovery: As important as riding several times a week is, recovery is equally essential. Rest is crucial for the body and would help you become a strong cyclist because whether you realize it or not, your body requires a certain amount of time to build energy after each ride.

  • The Routes must be Chosen Wisely: For the first few weeks when you have started following the cycling training plan, it is best to avoid big hills and routes that have a lot of obstacles.

  • Understand your Body: There would be good days and similarly there would be bad days. Understand what your body wants to say and if you aren’t feeling great while halfway through a ride, cut it short, go back home and rest.

  • Involve Other People: When you have someone joining you for the ride, it becomes an even more interesting affair. Find a friend or a family member who’s also new to riding like you. You could also consider joining a cycling club.

  • Maintain a Record: Whether you are more comfortable with an app, a journal or a calendar, it is crucial for you to track your performance and following training plans for cyclists.

Cross Training

When you are following an advanced cycling training plan and cycling three to four days in a week, you must at least indulge in forty-minutes of cross training. This is optional but it is essential to do a few other kinds of exercises. This would keep you interested and help you with physical balance.

Check out: Pilates for Cyclists: 8 Exercises for Core Strength and Trunk Flexibility

Remain Upright

Bike Cadence
Enjoy a great ride!

When you first begin cycling, the traffic, road hazards, shifting and everything else can seem pretty difficult to deal with.

Follow the below-mentioned basics to enjoy a great ride.

  • Shifting on the Road and Cadence: Seventy to ninety pedal revolutions in each minute (rpm) is what you would ride most efficiently at. In order to avoid getting stuck, it is advisable to shift to a much easier gear when there are chances of you slowing down. This is most likely in scenarios when there are stop signs ahead or where there are climbs.

  • Cycling Etiquettes: There are certain etiquettes that need to be followed when you are cycling. Hand signals are the most efficient and convenient way to communicate with fellow riders.

  • Riding while Descending: While you are riding, consider riding with your hands in drops so as to get closer to the brakes as well as optimize steering and traction. Your eyes must be on the road at all times and you must consider the condition of the road from afar. Whenever you are about to turn at a corner, always consider braking to either slow down or stop.

  • Climbing: While you are on the hills, remain seated, keep your arms completely relaxed and your cadence high. Stand occasionally for longer climbs.

Pedalling Technique

When you are cycling, you must at all times be pedaling by placing the ball of the foot directly on the pedal while your knees point forward. When you tend to pedal by using your foot’s arch and your knees facing sideways, it can eventually lead to painful knee problems.

More on Cycling Gear: All about Bike Pedals (A Quick Guide for Cyclists)

Progressive Climbing

Cycling on hills
Know the correct climbing technique

Opting for progressive climbing can improve your lactate clearance and the lactate threshold power while also building underlying efficiency and endurance. When you surge over a series of quick short rises, again and again, this would work to improve a lot of your endurance. While riding, stress on holding a strong base.

Check out Cycling Basics: All About Cycling on Hills Effortlessly

Long Rides are Better

Long rides are said to improve the blood flow in the muscles, overall fitness as well as fuel efficiency. By following a similar route every week, it would also help to improve your judgment of pace and thereby motivate you to maintain a steady effort every week.

Cadence Work

Low and high cadence blocks aid in improving the efficiency by enhancing the ability of the body to produce high torques without putting excessive strain on the body. Also, by working on a variety of cadences, your body would be able to handle the terrain changes in a better way. This is because you are less likely to halt suddenly as you are in too big of a gear or run out of momentum as you are spinning out.

Check all about Bike Cadence: Techniques to Improve Cycle Efficiency

Steady Effort

While you are cycling, the effort must be kept as steady as possible. Try to avoid freewheeling and surges as much as you possibly can. A steady work would also increase your sustainable power output and thereby help in improving your endurance and fitness.

Phase 1 of Cycling Training Plan

This is the very first phase of your cycling training plan and would focus on making your muscles and lungs stronger up to the point where you could comfortably be able to continuously cycle for an hour. To achieve a gentle intensity, try riding on a considerably flat terrain. Explore your area and you might find the best spot for it.

Phase 1 of Cycling Training Plan
Phase 1 of Cycling Training Plan

Now, the way in which you would do Phase 1 completely depends on your physical fitness.

Take for instance that you are absolutely unfit when starting out. In such a situation, you would be spending the training sessions cycling as much as you possibly can or rather what your body feels comfortable with. It could be five or ten minutes.

As you practice, you would keep getting better and better and then increase the time period to fifteen, twenty or thirty minutes.

Once you feel that you can ride comfortably and continuously for an hour, you can move on to Phase 2.

Phase 2 of Cycling Training Plan

For the Phase 2 of cycling for beginners training plan, you would be required to include interval training in your routine.

That would lead to an increase in burning calories, fighting stress and also getting faster. Now, interval training basically refers to rather short intervals of enhanced efforts. There needs to be a systematic pattern when you alternate between the periods of less effort and increased effort. This doesn’t mean cycling as fast as you can.

As discussed above, cycle three times a week where one of the rides would simply be a steady-paced ride. The other two-rides would focus primarily on interval training.

Essential Exercises for Cyclists

Whether you are looking forward to improving your speed or to prevent injury, there are a few exercises that you need to include in your weekly training regimen. Let’s get started.

Front Plank

Lie down on your stomach and begin by placing your elbows under the shoulders with your hands and forearms on the floor. Lift your hips off the floor and keep your abs tight and the back straight. Rest on your toes now for approximately 50 seconds. Perform two sets.

Front Plank
Front Plank

Lunges with Bicep Curl

Stand straight with either a resistance band or a dumbbell in each of your hands and step forward with your left leg. Your back must be straight while the knee must be bent forward at an angle of 90 degrees. The right leg must be kept straight. While you are in the lunging position, attempt to perform a bicep curl with both your hands.

Get back to the original position and repeat it with the other leg. Perform two sets consisting of ten repetitions for each of the legs.

Lunges with Bicep Curl
Lunges with Bicep Curl

Step-Ups

Take a box 12 or 20 inches tall and stand facing it. Leading with your right leg, step up on the box and by keeping the right leg absolutely straight, lift the left hip and knee at an angle of 90 degrees. Step off the box and get back to the original position. Repeat approximately ten to twenty repetitions before you perform similar movements with your other leg leading.

Step ups
Step Ups

Other than these exercises, the single leg reach, boat pose, kneeling pull-downs and hamstring curls would also help. Pilates is also beneficial for your physical fitness and were all the rage for the right reasons.

Routine for Interval Training

TIME

ACTIVITY

The first fifteen minutes

Ride at a slow pace so as to warm up

Next Five minutes

Increase your pace to a stage where you sweat kind-of heavily and wouldn’t prefer to speak

Next ten minutes

Ride at a slow pace where you are still a bit sweaty but the pace is comfortable

Next five minutes

Increase your pace again

Next ten minutes

Ride at a slow pace

Next five minutes

Increase your pace again

The last fifteen minutes

Ride at a slow pace

While you are riding, keep track of your heart rate. Heart rate zone 4 is basically where you can talk if you had to but would much rather prefer not to and you tend to sweat a lot. Heart rate zone 2 is where you feel a bit sweaty but can talk comfortably.

Check out Know about Heart Rate Zones while Cycling and Myths Around Maximum Heart Rate!

As is with everything else, do not stress yourself out too much to the point that you cannot continue anymore or get bored of it.

When starting out with your cycling training plan for racing, it might seem like a challenging task. But with practice and continuous steady effort, you would be able to notice the results.

Happy Cycling!

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