If you don’t rest, you won’t ever get stronger
-Most athletes do not rest properly nor enough. Many times, cyclists just don’t give themselves enough rest and when they do rest, they are not really resting. Get a good book, read it. Stretch lightly, eat healthy foods and take naps. If you can take a nap each day, then do it. You’ll be a better cyclist and get fitter faster. When you train hard, recovery is just as important as the training. It’s in the rest period that you actually improve! Yes, when you train, you break down muscles and get tired and sore. When you rest, your body rebuilds, repairs and gets stronger. If you don’t rest, you won’t ever get stronger.
NOT Training Hard Enough
-Many cyclists do not train hard enough when they are supposed to. So many times when I start coaching an athlete, they thought they were training hard. They had no clue! Most cyclists do not train hard enough to really create the proper training stress needed for training adaptation. One hard training ride a week is not going to make you the best you can be. Try three hard days a week, then recover for two days. What about trying four days in a row? Push yourself and push it hard. Then rest. It’s amazing how much you can push yourself and if do not push those limits you’ll never know how far you can go…
NOT staying HYDRATED
-Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! The #1 reason why cycling races are lost is because of improper hydration. #1. Second place is always not as hydrated as first place. So, hydrate plenty. Hydrate before your event, during your event and after your event!!! If you don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, then you are not hydrated enough! Bring a two-liter container of water to work each day and finish it off during the day. Have a cup of water beside your bed and when you wake up in the middle of the night, drink some. For every 20-30 miles you ride, you should drink a full water bottle.
Training while you are sick
-When you are 98% healthy, then you can train again. Most cyclists don’t wait long enough after a sickness before training again. When you get sick, have a fever, or cough, then you need to WAIT until you can honestly say that you are 98% healthy again before going out and training. So many athletes will go out and train again while they are 80% healthy and then just drag out the illness for another two weeks. Whereas, had they waited just two more days before riding again, they would have become 98-100% healthy and be back in full training. Here’s the rule: When you think you are healthy enough to ride again, WAIT one more day and then go riding. Give yourself an extra day, or two if you think you’ll be even better on the third day. It’s always better than training for the next two weeks and remain kind of sick.
-Stretching- We cyclist are a funny lot. Nowhere else in your life, do you hunch over and bring your legs up to your chest, never straighten out your legs and then keep your arms stretched out in front of you. Take a yoga class once a week. Stretch out those hamstrings, touch your toes easily, and open up that chest. You don’t want to be a hunched over person when you are in your sixties do you? It’s essential that you stretch each day, even just fifteen to twenty minutes. Your back, shoulders, legs and hips will thank you.
Forgetting what we learned as a kids
-Mimic your elders- If you are riding with an experienced rider, do exactly what they do. When they drink, you drink. When they rest, you rest. When they attack, you attack. Experienced and successful riders have gotten there because they have learned all the little things that make cycling easier. Some of the best cyclists that I have coached have learned by mimicking exactly what the best have done before them. Kids learn by watching their parents and doing what they do. Why forget that important lesson when we are on the bike?
All changes are big changes
-Give yourself transition time when changing bikes, shoes, cleats, pedals, etc. When you change something on your bike that changes your position in some way, as small as getting new shoes, then take it easy. Transition slowly over a couple of weeks. Ride some easier rides for a while and if you feel any pain, stop. Even on a ride, have someone come and pick you up. I can’t tell you how many cyclist entire season has been ruined because they bought a new seat and then went out and rode 20 hours that week, only to end up getting some kind of overuse injury in the following week. It takes time for your body to adapt to a new movement pattern, and especially for cyclists, as we repeat our patterns over and over hundreds of thousands of times each ride.