If you’re a regular reader of our magazine, you’ll know that you can often find tips here on how to improve on two wheels. For example, we’ve talked about how to become a better climber and to become a faster cyclist.
Today, the focus is on the ways we sabotage our own performance: how we make ourselves worse. If you want to improve your performance, these are the things you want to avoid.
Forgetting the base
Fitness is like a tall building and base training is your foundation. A solid base is the key to long-term improvement. Aerobic adaptation is essential to achieve improvement at all aspects of sport. If you forget about that, not only do you lose your options for improvement, but it could even decrease other performance metrics, such as VO2Max.
Not having a plan
If you want to throw away all your effort by just mindlessly training, forget about creating an individualized plan with workouts tailored to you. There are enough reasons to respect the need for planning. And that means taking it seriously, training hard (really) when you need to and going soft (really) when necessary.
If you want to taste success, set process and outcome goals, both short and long term, and evaluate along the way.
Not paying attention to your equipment and environment
Let’s face it, sometimes gear can make the difference. If it didn’t, most pros wouldn’t spend so much money on it. And though not everyone can spend tons of money on gear, at least you can take care of what you have. The maintenance of your bike, cleats, shoes, wheels and other equipment is essential. You need to familiarize yourself with all your gear, and know when to put your gear in the hands of technical professionals for maintenance and repair.
Training at pro level intensity and volume
Some amateur athletes lose perspective and try to emulate their idols in unhealthy ways. If you have a normal job, family and obligations at home, training as if you were a professional won’t help your performance. Chances are good you’ll push your body beyond its limits and end up overtraining.
Always training hard
It may sound contradictory, but if you want to be a fast cyclist, you must train soft. Hard and demanding workouts are necessary, but allowing the body to recover and adapt is what fosters better performance.
Not eating enough (and eating poorly)
“It doesn’t matter if you have a Ferrari if it doesn’t have fuel in the tank,” goes one phrase. It’s the same with cycling. Your body needs carbohydrates, the major source of energy for your muscles. Cut back on your diet or eat inadequately and you’ll see yourself slow down.
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