Bike training for the beginner
Bike training for the beginner is all about time spent on the bike, although there are many things along the way you should take note of.
Getting Started with your Bike Training
1. Get a Bikefit – Optimizing your position helps you sit comfortably and reduces the risk of injury. A good bikefit can help eliminate problems on the bike and help you to produce more power, more efficiently.
2. Visit the Bike Shop – The local bike shop can help you replace any worn parts, fine-tune your bike and give your bike an overhaul before you start.
3. Kit up – Kitting up requires the right amount of clothing and accessories. Choosing clothes for the right weather conditions and getting the proper shoe sizing is a must. Use expert knowledge when selecting the right clothing for bike training. This gives you comfort and keeps you dry across a range of conditions.
4. Wear a Helmet – We all know helmets help protect us. Your local bike shop can help you pick out the correct helmet suited to you. Make sure the helmet fits correctly and provides enough ventilation for the riding conditions.
4. Get a Coach – Last, of all, a coach can help with starting bike training. A coach can help you plan bike workouts and structure the bike training around your lifestyle.
There are hundreds of products you can purchase like a heart rate monitor. When you are new to cycling, you don’t have to spend a fortune on the latest products. Products such as a power meter are an effective way to train. But the bike training can still make a lot of progress without investing in such a product.
Your first month of Bike training
It’s important when starting biking that you don’t overdo the intensity each week. Focus on volume and add intensity later. Your biking speed should be at a conversation pace, meaning you should be able to hold a full conversation riding. In terms of intensity level, this would be a 3-5 rating of perceived exertion.
Increasing time on your bike is essential to improve as you get fitter. Try to increase the weekly distance from the previous week. If you haven’t been regularly riding, try to start with 30-60 minutes, then try to increase your weekly mileage by 10% each week. Consistency is the key to improving your bike training, and as a result, you will see quicker improvements.
Join a cycling club
As a beginner cyclist, you should try to connect to the local cycling community. Riding with experienced cyclists can help you improve your cycling skills. Find a group of cyclists you are comfortable with and join them on their local Sunday ride. Many cycling clubs organize free group rides during the week at various levels of intensity and some clubs also provide group training focusing on hill climbing or sprinting.
Bike Training Program
Beginners should focus on building a weekly volume by 10%. Include a rest day each week in your bike training plan and add longer rides to the weekend to increase volume. For the beginner, this all helps fit in with their busy working schedule and family. For the experienced rider try adding volume by making each ride longer but this can be difficult with family and a career.
Focusing on volume will only take you so far with a busy lifestyle and most cyclists can only ride a maximum of 6-10 hours per week. Since you can’t increase volume any longer, you must start to increase your intensity, and this is where intervals come in.
Interval training is about increasing the workload through a period of high-intensity training. Interval training can be a mixture of short explosive efforts or long threshold efforts. The harder the interval workout is the less time you will spend at that intensity level.
For most cyclists, 10-20 minutes is the period of intensity they can maintain at lactate threshold. When these intervals become longer, the intensity decreases, and the downward pattern starts to affect aerobic conditioning, changing the goal of the interval.
As you get experienced with bike training, you can use intervals to target the correct energy system through workouts and training blocks.
1. 20 to 60+ minutes – Tempo Riding
2. 10-20 minutes – Lactate Threshold
3. 5-10 minutes – Climbing and Time Trial intervals
4. 1-4 minutes – VO2 Max Intervals
5. 1 minute – Sprint Intervals
Tempo intervals is a moderate aerobic effort and slightly harder than conversational pace. Introducing these intervals produces a higher aerobic workload than endurance riding. These intervals are typically in the range of 15 minutes to 60 minutes. Cyclists would incorporate this type of interval into the middle of a long ride.
Lactate threshold helps target your maximum sustainable power output or power at lactate threshold. Your breathing should be laboured but not out of control. These intervals are between 10-20 minutes and are separated with 5 minutes of easy spinning.
Intervals can be challenging no matter your fitness level. Try to start relaxed and control your breathing. The result of this helps your heart rate lower considerably and allows the body to relax under fatigue.
Sometimes you have limited time to train and training indoors can help you be more productive. Apps like Strave and Zwift offer an online community that can help you engage yourself more when riding inside.
Analyzing your Cycling Training
Apps can help you measure your progress and help you stay accountable to your bike training plan. Apps such as TrainingPeaks can help you analyze your bike data and learn to understand the importance of your effort. Many cycling Coaches worldwide use Trainingpeaks to analyze athletes training, scheduling and setting up of training plans.