Cycling can be an outstanding form of exercise, having numerous health benefits that include improving heart health and endurance, building muscle, reducing stress, losing weight, and boosting your immune system. It makes sense then that many people have been jumping onto the electric bike trend in recent years. Part of using cycling as a great form of exercise, however, is crafting a cycling training program to keep you disciplined.
This is the approach that all bikers should take when wanting to improve both health and performance. Whether your plan is for road bike training or beginner cycling training, there is certainly a plan that fits your needs. In this helpful guide, we will walk through all aspects of building your cycling training plan, regardless of whether you are an experienced rider or if you just need a beginner cycling plan. The steps include conducting an initial assessment, setting goals, crafting your cycling training plan, and then ultimately monitoring your training to ensure you are progressing according to plan.
Before putting together your cycling training plan, especially if you are new to biking and you want to establish a beginner cycling training plan, you will first need to conduct an initial assessment. This is the step in the process where you evaluate your own situation before formulating a cycling training plan according to your own strengths, weaknesses, and goals.
Some of the factors you should take into consideration are physiological characteristics, such as weight, height, heart rate, and current endurance level. Other environmental and social factors, such as diet, work and family life, sleep quality, and your medical history, will also be part of your initial assessment. Lastly, you will need to determine what type of cycling training plan you want to pursue. Do you need a road bike training plan? A beginner cycling plan? A trail-riding cycling training plan? Whichever option you choose, keep that type of cycling in mind when formulating your own plan.
Set a Goal
Once you have conducted your initial assessment, it is time to set a goal for your cycling training program. Without a goal, it can be difficult to maintain motivation and evaluate metrics for improvement. Goals ultimately serve two purposes: they allow you to track metrics so that it is easier to visualize how much improvement you are making, and they also provide an achievable end game.
When setting your goals, make sure that you are using S.M.A.R.T. goals. SMART goals are simple, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Using SMART goals will ensure that whatever goal you want to achieve is actually going to help improve your cycling training and performance. For example, setting a vague goal such as “becoming a better cyclist within the next three months” will make it nearly impossible to achieve. What determines your cycling skill? A SMART version of this goal might be “Improve my mile time by thirty seconds by the end of the year.” This goal is specific, it can be measured by comparing future mile times to your current mile time (which would be determined during your initial assessment), it is achievable and relevant, and it has a timeline to completion.
Make Your Training Plan
Now that you conducted your initial assessment and formulated some SMART goals, it is time to craft your road bike training plan, beginner cycling training plan, or any other cycling training plan. The premise of a cycling training plan is simple: this is the roadmap that you will use (sometimes literally) to achieve the SMART goals that you have established to make yourself a better cyclist.
A reasonable training plan should be formulated into some type of consistent time increments. Some cyclists will choose to make their training regimen a daily routine, while others may choose to make it a weekly activity. The important thing is that regardless of your cycling training plan, it is formulated to help you reach your previously established goals. When first starting out, remember not to put too much pressure on yourself. Daily training might not be necessary. Rather, you may be able to build up your cycling training routine over time to reach your goals, gradually increasing the difficulty.
When trying to determine the training plan for yourself, it may be helpful to look into some practical cycling apps.
Monitoring Your Training
Simply setting goals and then formulating a cycling training program is not sufficient to actually ensure you achieve your goals. You also need to take one of the most critical steps: monitoring your training overtime to ensure that you are actively making progress. Without an objective process for analyzing your progress, there is no sure way to know that you are improving or that improvement will be coming in the future.
Monitoring your cycling training can be done in a few different ways. First, you should always track your Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, so that you have quality data at the ready. These can be things like distance biked or time spent biking. It can also be physiological, such as your heart rate being above a certain threshold for a fixed duration. These KPIs should point toward what you are improving upon with your training. Once you have the KPIs tracked, the second step is to regularly evaluate them to ensure you are making the expected progress, comparing the KPIs to your end goal.
At the end of the day, no one is going to be able to make you a better cyclist. That is something you will have to do yourself by being disciplined and following the steps that we have laid out above. If you can conduct an initial assessment to see where your current abilities lie, use that assessment to formulate SMART cycling training goals, make a training plan, and then ultimately monitor your training plan to ensure you are making the progress expected, you will be well on your way to becoming a better cyclist. Whether you need road bike training, beginner cycling training, or any other type of cycling training plan, these steps will help you get to the next level on your biking journey.