So what’s your deepest darkest secret? Well maybe not that deep or dark, but we all should have some down time from cycling now and again.
It’s very easy to get the head down and focus on one goal and forget that there are a whole host of activities that exist which can be supremely beneficial to our cycling needs. Not only are they good for fitness, but also trying a variety of activities can help us mentally to keep a focus on our goals when it comes to the all important time in the saddle.
The activity that seems to go hand in hand with cycling is running, which is something I have recently taken up to aid my efforts in improving my cycling. For me it was about reducing some of my mass at being 6 foot 3” and 14stone, (before I started running). The reason that I felt the need to tone up was due to taking up riding single speed a couple of years ago, which when coupled with living in the Lake District, makes for a lot of grinding out of the saddle. This in turn in builds up a sizeable pair of thighs. Running has helped greatly to tone up my legs and body and has helped to shed any excess weight, which helps massively on the hills.
Next on my list of to dos, is to start swimming. This is something I did a lot of when I was younger, but as with most things I used to do, I have long since forgotten all about them. The reason for swimming is not only to do with it being on my list of New Year’s resolutions (things I used to enjoy), but also because of something I have been considering for quite a while: to compete in an Iron Man! Not an easy decision to make, which is maybe why it has taken quite some time to finally decide to start training. I have set myself a realistic target of three years.
A lot of cyclists will also supplement extra training with some gym work. Great for building up strength and core stability and it might even build up your upper body in proportion with your legs! Using free weights and the various machines in situ will help to use alternative muscle groups that compliment your bike riding and improve your overall conditioning. Integrate a circuit mentality and it helps keep boredom at bay. Great for winter training, but boy those mirrors are big!
The key to trying new activities is enjoyment! There is little point spending what valuable time we have free doing something, if there is no sense of enjoyment received from it. Whether there is an immediate sense of enjoyment from actually doing the activity or maybe a more general sense of well being from achieving a goal, the key is realistic goal setting.
So I’ll leave it to you to put forward suggestions for other activities (please keep them clean) that you do, or are considering doing that will make a good addition to cycling.