If you’re like me, when you think of ‘training’, as it relates to sports, or cycling, you immediately conjure images of athletes training for sporting events such as the Tour de France, Ironman Kona, or the Olympics. Isn’t that what training is all about? Getting the skills, experience, and conditioning in so that you can compete, or perform, at a higher level? Yes, but I think the word ‘training’ can apply to more than just professional cyclists and athletes.

Photo credit: Team Traveller

I’m not just talking about my fellow cyclists who are riding centuries every other week, climbing 8000 feet a weekend, or racing at the amateur level. I’m talking about people out there, like me, who have weight to lose. It takes a lot of effort and commitment in order to lose that weight. Or to get into better shape. Or to finish that century in under six hours. I’m not saying we’re going to compete in the 2011 Quiznos Pro Challenge but can we take a page from the pros and adopt their mentality and work ethic? I say yes.

Being In Training Means A 24/7 Commitment

Too many of us, myself included, think of our cycling as a 1-2 hour per day commitment and we can get what we need out of it. We spin our miles before work, at lunch, or in the evening. We catch a group ride on the weekend to get a few more miles in. But are we actually pushing ourselves to do our best by only devoting a fraction of the day to our training? Hardly.

There are some of you out there who don’t need that 24/7 training commitment. You’re at the weight you need to be, you’ve accomplished what you set out to do, and you’re continuing to ride because you love it. I get that. I’m talking to the people out there who have huge goals to meet and think they can get by with only putting in the miles. People like me.

In order to meet the goals we need to accomplish it’s going to take more than simply cycling for 8 hours a week. What about the other 160 hours? For that matter, those 8 hours on the bike, are we really utilizing them the way we should be in order to meet our goals? Think about that.

Women Cycling

Photo Credit: Let Ideas Complete

Training On The Bike

For most of us, cycling is the easy part. We make time to get our rides in and that’s it. We work up a sweat, put in the miles, and call it done until the next ride. If we’re trying to meet a goal that won’t be enough. We need to ride with a purpose. Each ride needs to serve a purpose whether it’s hill repeats, intervals, or tempo riding. We need to have a training plan for our time on the bike.

Training Off The Bike

When we’re off the bike, we still need a training plan. Just because we aren’t riding doesn’t mean we aren’t still in training. Right? Remember those other 160 hours in the week? How are you utilizing them as training to reach your goals? How can those other 160 hours be used?

  • 8 hours of sleep a night.
  • Making sure you’re hydrating properly post-ride, during the day, and pre-ride.
  • Eating right. So easily said but so hard to do.
  • Tracking your progress.
  • Getting some form of exercise besides cycling.
  • Core exercises.
  • Stretching.

So, what am I really talking about here?

We all come to a point where we need to decide that what we want is really what we want. And be willing to make the sacrifices in order to get what we want. Whether it’s moving up from Cat 5 to Cat 4, losing 20, 50, or even a 100 pounds. Whatever our goal is, we need to be committed to it and training for it. 24/7.

Thumbnail Photo Credit: Tomas Fano