Over the last few years, Britain’s cycling industry has reached new heights. In 2018, England’s capital city, London, recorded a five per cent growth on cycling journeys, as per a report by The Guardian. So, with more people now opting to cycle, let’s outline some key factors to ensure effective progression in relation to personal performance.
The Importance of Gradual Progression
Given that cycling has become increasingly popular in the last couple of years, those who are new to the sport must establish a progressive training regime that focuses on sustained, gradual improvements. Unlike other activities, the consistency and quality of cycling practice can be vulnerable to a wide array of different factors, most noticeably climate and terrain, meaning that exercise routines can, depending on the variables, become disjointed and uninspiring.
Because of this, it’s vital to target gradual performance improvements that span across several weeks or months. Fundamentally, the first week of any newly-implemented cycling program should focus on building confidence and comfort on suitable terrain, according to Red Bull. Crucially, this is likely to include numerous short-distance cycles, amounting to approximately ten minutes per ride. While this will suffice for the initial weeks of training, progression at a gradual level should then be targeted, with marginal increases in distance occurring over time.
Crucially, the reason that measured alterations are made throughout the initial few weeks of any routine within the sport concerns avoiding burnout and fatigue. By following a structured regime, Healthline states that improvements to leg strength will occur without overstressing them, helping to ensure heightened performance. Moreover, it’s a common misconception that seeking to push harder in a shorter space of time will maximize ability and endurance. Instead, this can cause burnout, which may result in decreased progression and enhance the prospect of fatigue.
While there can be no doubts that accepting slow and steady progress is one of the best ways for beginners to develop as cyclists, it’s also pivotal to manage personal expectations. Even though those who are new to the sport may have aspirations to quickly reach the levels of professional cyclists, such as Simon Yates, who is 25/1 to win the Tour de France in 2020 with cycling betting as of May 27th, reaching such levels of fitness won’t happen overnight.
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The key to a successful training routine, especially in cycling, given that many view it as the toughest sport, is to find a regime that is both achievable and enjoyable. That said, it’s also central to personal progression that a clear understanding of the end goal remains consistent, as having a target while exercising is motivational. Fundamentally, however, objectives will vary from one cyclist to another, as each participant won’t be the same body type, live in the same area, or have identical equipment.
As such, in addition to not setting professional standards, it’s also central, when starting out, to avoid comparisons to other cyclists. Not only could this have an adverse effect on progression due to being potentially demoralizing, but it also doesn’t factor in any of the variables listed above, which can have a significant impact on development.
Avoid Burnout and Take it Steady
Ultimately, given the many variables that are involved with cycling, any aspiring riders must ease themselves into the sport with a well-balanced training routine. As is the case with all competitive activities, significant progress won’t happen overnight, but enjoying the journey while out in the fresh air taking in the surrounding nature is a reason to stick at cycling.
Top Photo – Unsplash