Plan ahead and track your progress
The best way to see an improvement in your performance is to keep on top of training and track your progress. By doing this, you will be able to identify your cycling strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly to target the areas that need the most attention (and notice the areas that you excel in)!
We suggest that you create a clear training plan for yourself. Consider any goals that you want to achieve in devising your plan and be realistic with knowing your limits. You cannot expect to cover miles upon miles without having trained for it, so make sure you slowly build up your training before getting ahead of yourself – you don’t want to push yourself too hard on that first ride!
Once you have yourself a solid plan with long and short term goals, motivate yourself more and begin tracking your progress. By doing so, your current fitness and cycling ability will be put into perspective and you can measure where you are in relation to achieving your goals. And if things aren’t working, then you can take a look at your statistics and modify your training plan accordingly.
Take a look at the Garmin Vivoactive smart watch – strap it to your wrist or your handlebars and gaze at the statistics while you’re cycling. This lightweight watch has been designed for those of you with an active lifestyle. With built-in sports apps and notifications from emails to phone calls, the Garmin Vivoactive allows you to balance exercise with other priorities. The watch also has a touch screen which remains visible in daylight so you can see the statistics on screen even on the brightest of days. After each cycle, you can take a look at the overall statistics and record them aside your plan, giving you plenty of data to look at and use to compare your progress over time.
See our selection of GPS Cycling Computers and take your pick from the wide range that we have on offer. Also take a look at our full range of training and performance products – we have a variety of products to suit any cyclists’ needs.
Nutrition is simple to coordinate if you keep on top of and stick to your plan and it can have a massive impact on your cycling performance. As a cyclist, it is important that you fuel your body with the right foods both on and off the bike.
When cycling, energy and hydration are key. You must stay hydrated to reduce muscle cramps by drinking plenty of water (you should aim to drink approx 500ml an hour), especially on particularly warm rides. Energy gels are also highly recommended for an endurance rider to make sure that your body is sustained and can carry you through the miles. Try supplements such as SiS GO Isotonic Gels which effectively delivers an easily digestible and quick supply of carbohydrate for energy whilst cycling. Have a look at all of our energy and nutrition products and choose from a selection of our favourite brands to create your nutritional strategy this year.
Nutrition off the bike is equally as important; you should have a healthy and balanced diet. Do not make the mistake of finishing a long, gruelling cycle or race and ‘treat yourself’ by indulging in bad foods. Be strict with yourself and stick to your healthy diet so that your body can recover and replenish itself with sufficient nutrition. Carb-loading 48 hours before your cycle or race (any event longer than 90 minutes) is a nutritional meal that will delay fatigue in your muscles, enabling you to stay energised for as long as possible.
Make sure that you master your nutritional strategy in training both on and off the bike so that your body becomes accustomed to it and is fully prepared when you hit the race season.
Training off the bike
Training off the bike is just as important as cycling itself. Increase your overall fitness to trim up and make the most of your body so that you can exert more power and strength into your rides. This will then allow you to push bigger boundaries in training so that when it comes to racing it will be a success!
A quick home workout in the evening or a gym session on the days when you can’t fit in a cycle will see you notice a difference in your performance as you become fitter and stronger. As riding a bike has a repetitive nature, particular muscle groups are affected. Your core tends to weaken and there will be tightness in your legs if you don’t stretch them properly, so make sure you work on these areas. Plus, the combination of core and leg strength creates a balance and stability that helps you transfer power from your body through to your legs, pedalling and finally onto the road, enabling you to reach your best performance ability when cycling.
To make a start on strengthening your core, read our blog post for 5 quick and easy exercises – this improvement can also give you a better, stronger cycling position too. For your quads and hamstrings, muscle tightness is very common amongst cyclists as there is a constant bent knee action from pedalling. Make sure you stretch regularly, both before a cycle to warm up and prepare your muscles, and afterwards to release any tension. Ensuring that you stretch your muscles regularly is essential for injury prevention!
New Year, new bike…parts
It’s a new year so why not upgrade your bike? With upgraded bike components, you will be on the road to success. With designs specific to enhancing performance, you are sure to make a purchase that will see you improve on your bike this year.
Once you’ve got your hands on some new components and upgraded your bike, you should learn how to maintain it to keep it in top condition to get the best out of your bike. Get to know your bike and how to look after it yourself. Perhaps you want to challenge yourself to learn how to fix a puncture or how to change your brake pads. If you learn multiple bike maintenance skills this year and get to know your bike inside out, it will give you that extra confidence in riding.
Get started with a multi tool such as this Lezyne CRV 12 Multi Tool – small and compact, you can carry it with you anywhere and always be prepared. View our other bike maintenance products with a vast selection available at PBK that are sure to keep you cycling through the year.
Dress like the best
Once you have everything above in place, you will be on the path to improving your performance in 2016, so why not do it in style? Give yourself some confidence by stocking up on some new cycling clothing – not only will you look suave but there are a variety of items designed specifically to improve performance. From baselayers to cycling jerseys and jackets, here at PBK we have it all!
If you want to cycle like a pro, then dress like a pro – see our full range of cycling clothing here.
Visit our Be Prepared page for unmissable offers on gear that will prepare you well for cycling in 2016.