Summer is in full swing and the motivation to look and feel good seems more heightened. Your holiday is approaching and the sense of having more time over weekends due to more light is now apparent, so how can we make the most of our time to exercise, have fun and spend quality time with our families?
The thing that gets you about cycling is the amount of ground you can cover, all the sights you can see in just one workout can be so beautiful that longer times in the saddle can just fly by.
The summer months make it a lot easier to self motivate a workout in the great outdoors, getting to the gym or an exercise class can be more appealing in the winter months, so try getting out of the city into the hills and steady inclines of more country terrain, it not only gives you more fresh air but builds a great endurance fitness.
Whether you're cycling down a tow path with your child in a seat on the back of your bike, or grinding up great hills on a light weight road bike, you will be reaping great benefits from cycling, planning your training so it is balanced can involve the rest of the family and also allow room for more intense sessions on your own or with a cycling club.
The same three core components always apply.
The volume of training that you do will have a direct link to your training gains; increase mileage slowly. Think about your training over a month period, the first three weeks consisting of rides designed to put mileage on the legs and make you stronger and faster, then drop the distance down for an active recovery on week four. Keep the heart rate to a low level i.e., 220bpm - your age.
Once you are fitter you can add some short faster rides to this week to keep leg speed but keep them easier than in weeks 1-3, active recovery periods will give the body a chance to rest, minimise the chances of over training and injury and allow the muscles to grow and repair ready for the next phase.
Within the volume of your training, we then have the different training intensities to consider. This will vary from person to person so please consider your own fitness levels when reading the examples below. To get the best from your training these should include hill intervals, speed work, threshold sessions (e.g. top end heart rate, race pace or time trials), longer fat burning endurance rides and active recovery rides on week four.
If you're going to compete in some races, then use October-March solely as a base building phase. Longer, slower, more frequent rides at low heart rates will insure a good race endurance, help keep body fat low and give you a chance to work on your technique.