article by Anthony Walsh
When I started out cycling, I basically engaged in a really long and drawn out game of ‘trial and error’. As an absolute newbie, I had no source of good advice and had no idea about what kit to wear, what to eat while out training, or what sort of training to do.
The early days threw up some pretty bizarre experiments. One noteworthy experiment on nutrition resulted in a friend and I riding through the Dublin Mountains in a four hour ride. In our wisdom, we decided if we rode without food or water we’d be supercharged with energy when we got into the race at the weekend. To cut a long story short, this proved to be very wrong – but we learned from the experiment!
I don’t like to see cyclists making the same basic mistakes that I made when I started out because of lack of information.
This was one of my big motivations to get involved in coaching.
From my personal experience, and from what we have learned working with the many clients who have come to A1 Coaching for help, I can identify 5 top mistakes that riders make – I hope you will avoid them.
1. Not training in zones
Some guys have Heart Rate Monitors and Power Meters but don’t know how use them properly. Others have prioritized other cycling-related purchases before adopting this technology.
Having this kit and, and learning how to use it effectively, is the single most effective investment you’ll make in your cycling development.
2. Training in tempo zone
There is a range of training zones and each has an associated physiological adaption. We need to spend the right amount of time in each zone to develop as a rider.
This may mean slowing down at times to facilitate going faster later in the week.
3. Training without event-specific requirements
Sitting down and developing your goals for the season is an essential exercise. Once you have these goals, begin to look at the demands of your target event.
We need to train with the demands of the event in mind. For example, if we are an A4 rider we know most races finish in a bunch sprint.
Therefore, it’s essential we develop our sprint ability all through the off-season.
4. No Focus on technique
There are many areas where we can get ‘free speed’.
For example, we can incorporate pedalling drills that teach us how to apply force more effectively through the full 360 degrees around the pedal stroke.
We can also learn to position better within the bunch or corner with greater fluidity.
5. Not having a plan
Today’s training session should make tomorrow’s success more likely.
We won’t stumble upon success; we need to plan for it and every session should have a purpose which is part of the broader plan.
For the time-crunched athlete, we need to make sure that every minute of every session is bringing us one step closer to our ultimate season goal.
Stop wasting your own time if you are training without a plan aimed at clear goals, and start now on that plan for 2016.
Embrace the intensity revolution.
If you like this article and want to know more about building a perfect winter base program, click here for free access to A1 Coaching‘s Winter Training Video Series.
Anthony Walsh is the founder and Director of A1 Coaching. If you like this article and want to know more about building a perfect winter base program, click here for free access to A1 Coaching‘s Winter Training Video Series.
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