I started out as a runner in my 30s, only turning to cycling at fast approaching 40 when I kept getting injured. Being honest I wasn’t that keen at first, mainly because I felt like a complete novice. Everyone has to start from somewhere though and I wasn’t afraid of hard work. I knew I could improve and get better.
Of course, I’m no pro, I’m just your average 46-year-old mum, juggling full time work with training but I still have that same passion to keep improving and getting faster.
I get asked a lot of questions about my training, so I thought I’d share the key things that have helped me to get faster on the bike.
- Set yourself achievable goals
- For me this is your starting point. If you don’t know what you are aiming for how can you stay on track? What is it you want to improve or which event are you training for? Consider not only the long term goal but also the next 3-6 months.
- Think about where you are now in terms of fitness, where you want to be (the end goal) and then plan what you need to work on to help get you there. Also, think about the key milestones (events or dates) that will keep you on track and motivated.
- Ask yourself if your goals are specific and meaningful but also realistic. You can’t always target everything in one go. For example, if you are just starting out in time trialling then the first year might just be about getting used to the routine, holding a good position and learning how to pace yourself before you even think about times.
- Train smart
- Getting a coach was the best thing I ever did. It means I don’t have to worry about what session I’m doing, just how I’m going to fit it into my day. A coach will give you structure, accountability and feedback. If this isn’t an option for you then you might want to look for an online training plan such as the one available through Giant UK
- Quality over quantity – because I don’t have unlimited time to train, I’m a massive advocate of this. I make sure each session/ride has a purpose, whether that’s intensity, endurance or just enjoyment. If you always go out and ride at a leisurely pace, your body will not learn how to adapt to higher intensity and therefore wont improve.
- Make use of technology – get a bike appropriate for your chosen challenge (my race bike of choice is the Avow), get a bike fit because position is so important (for aerodynamics and comfort) and consider using a power meter (a lot of the newer models have these built in such as my Eviliv). If you are unsure here are the top 12 benefits of using power. Finally, think about the kit you use for the event or race. This is especially important when you want to be faster. It doesn’t always mean spending a fortune but there are huge gains to be made. Body is 80% drag so if you reduce this, you’re going to gain a lot of free speed and gain in power transfer which means you will go faster.
- Mindset is everything
- The best training and best bike in the world won’t help you if you don’t believe in yourself. Tell yourself that you can on a daily basis and surround yourself with others who inspire you and push you. Sometimes its also good to ride with stronger riders who will challenge you and make you work harder than maybe you would on your own.
- Don’t waste time comparing yourself to others. I know this can be hard but focus on you and the things you can do to become better. Things within your control – what you eat, how you train, how you recover and what you say to yourself when you are training hard or racing.
- Never lose sight of the bigger picture – things won’t always go to plan and you might have to adjust your goals but learn from every training session, every race, every event and use it to keep improving.
I hope you’ve found this helpful. Please feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions or feedback.
Happy Peddling 😊