Cycling can be a very rewarding experience when you know what targets to strive for. Building a training plan and regime can go a long way towards seeing a physical improvement that makes cycling an ultimately much more enjoyable experience. With set goals, there is always an area for improvement to fight on and get more out of your cycling.
The first time you hop on your bike you will not be at Tour de France level. That is a fact and the quicker you realise that - the better! Start your cycling regime with a moderate goal that doesn’t drain you of all your energy and commitment to the cause and slowly build from there if you find your goals too easy. It’s imperative you don’t push yourself too much too soon otherwise you’ll struggle to stay interested and excited about cycling if you’re finding it too strenuous or challenging!
If you feel yourself struggling with a specific goal, try stepping down a level until you work your confidence up enough to push forward again and try new targets. There is no shame in sticking to a particular distance or time, it’s more about your comfort levels and enjoyment than it is pushing yourself to the max! The more you push without gain, the less enjoyment you’re going to get out of it, so start slow and enjoy your cycling!
Watch your fatigue levels
Cycling can be one of the most exhausting forms of exercise if you’re not prepared! Not only is draining your energy down to the bottom unproductive and tiring, it can also be dangerous if you’re not careful. Picture this - it’s late at night, you’ve cycled yourself to exhaustion but you’ve got to head home so you start to cycle and slowly lose concentration - next thing you know you’ve swerved off track and into oncoming traffic! Sounds dramatic but you’d be surprised how easily fatigue can affect your levels of focus to the extent that you’re endangering yourself.
As well as this, if you feel as though you are commonly becoming tired easily on your journeys, then bring some snacks and drinks along with you to refuel and top up your energy levels on the go. The likes of energy drinks, fruit and nuts all contain a variety of excellent nutrients that work in your favour to store energy, burn fat and keep yourself going on your exercise so it’s always worth packing a few snacks in reserve!
Don’t give up
I know, it’s easier said than done - but whatever you do, don’t throw in the towel. Remember why you got into cycling in the first place, and the joys it brings along with the fantastic exercise benefits too before you start to give up. Keep in mind that cycling is exercise, and by definition exercise is not always meant to be easy! However, cycling can be one of the most fun and efficient ways of exercising that allows you to work out the whole body as well as getting in touch with the great outdoors.
Like I mentioned earlier, if you ever do find yourself wanting to give up or that you’re struggling with a particular distance or time, bring yourself down a level and get some enjoyment with targets you previously set and beat. Work your confidence up and learn to enjoy your cycling again.
The harsh reality is that you’re not Mark Cavendish (sorry!), so there’s no need to compare yourself to him or absolutely anybody else; the important area to focus on is your own performance. Don’t expect your times to be a world record shattering or undefeatable time because that’s not the point of exercising - if you were looking for a competition try joining a specialist club or group so you can race against each other and attempt to beat each other’s times. So if you are just a casual cyclist who is looking to bring a bit of exercise to their life, don’t worry too much about achieving great times on the first few occasions.
Instead of worrying about times or setting the bar high, focus on your techniques and your enjoyment. Use this time as a relaxing time to listen to some music or a podcast or just get away from the stress of everyday life while getting fit at the same time! There’s no need to expect greatness from the go!
Stick to a schedule
One of the best ways to stay committed to cycling is by creating a schedule that works for you and sticking to it. Actively keeping yourself to a routine helps with your physical and mental attitude towards cycling by instilling a mindset that allows you to set consistent targets to reach, as well as letting your body get into a pattern that allows you to assess your results on a regular basis.
One of the best targets you can set is a routine that you can work to maintain consistently. If you actively seek to commit to a schedule, you will see your general performance and fitness improve steadily week-on-week. Even if it’s not on set days throughout the week, if you look to cycle for a certain amount of hours and stick to that number, you can’t go wrong!
Setting targets is one of the best ways to achieve what you’re looking to get out of cycling. Keeping on top of your energy levels and distance, cycling schedule and setting realistic goals are all great ways to maintain that all important consistency that will help you see the results of your hard work. Slowly moving up in targets and goals will also help strengthen your techniques and experience too, so make sure you’re consistently reaching your targets before moving up, and even if you struggle with the next stage, don’t be afraid to move back down to avoid any frustrations because at the end of the day, cycling should be fun!