How to Stick with Your 2017 Training Plan 

January 26, 2017

Out with the old – in with the new.  That’s pretty much the motto of the New Year. Many cyclists, both competitive and recreational, commit to New Year cycling resolutions; but, it’s right about now, late January, when those resolutions begin to fade.  Whether is is general fatigue, lack of time, seasonal illness or just plain boredom, many find the resolutions of the New Year in the rear view mirror.  Is there a way to make resolution stick?  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we think so! Following are the 4 components to making your resolutions stick.

#1 ENJOYABLE: Plain and simple.  If you enjoy what you are doing, you’ll do more of it.  So, make winter riding more fun.  Get the right clothing, winterize your bike, and get going!  Check out the post,  21 Ways to Have More Fun on Your Bike, for more fun ideas including singing, testing new bike parts, experimenting with new cycling apps, and opt for new cycling accessories

#2 CONSISTENT: Consistency in training helps you physical body prepare for the physical stresses of  the upcoming season.  According to the post, Nine Golden Rules for Training, consistency is key. That means consistently training but also, consistently racing builds fitness too.  Consistency in racing builds all kinds of fitness: mental, physical, and psychological fitness.  The post, 4 Habits to Increase Your Consistency, offers more suggestions on increasing consistency, such as, being purposeful, following your plan as best as possible, and getting in shorter rides when you have less time to train.

#3 CONVENIENT: The winter months make riding outdoors less desirable. So, riding outside may not be the most convenient option.  Instead, schedule your workouts inside on the trainer.  Before you groan, read our posts  Don’t Be a Hater! Overcoming Trainer Woes for great suggestions on making trainer workouts work for you.  Additionally, shared in the post, 3 Indoor Cycling Workouts Under 1 Hour, are effective workouts to pair technology with your over/ under intervals, power intervals, and speed intervals.  Without the distractions of outdoor scenery, using these tools aids in motivation by setting time goals or power goals to engage your brain.  Another motivation technique includes using the technology tools as valuable feedback for precise and strategic cycling in specific zones which adds to up to greater gains later in your cycling season.

#4 REWARD: There is true satisfaction to be gained by following your fitness routine.  Whether that is increased fitness, a sense of well being, or making progress towards your 2017 cycling goals.  But rewarding yourself can take on other pleasures as well.  Consider purchasing new bike parts or new cycling apparel as a reward for your hard efforts. Treating yourself to these pleasures invites more motivation to stick with your training plan through the cold, winter months.  

It’s easy to keep your resolutions when you focus on having fun.  When you love what you are doing, you’ll keep doing it.  Here’s to your best year yet!

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Motivation and Planning – The Key to Making Cycling Resolutions Stick 

January 7, 2016

Make it Happen in 2016It’s tough being a bike rider from January through late March. The holidays are over, the winter weather is in full swing and the idea of keeping up the motivation to exercise on a cold winter day instead of curling up under a warm blanket on the sofa can be difficult. Sometimes lack of motivation rears its ugly head during these challenging times despite our best efforts to press on.  Yet many cyclists, both competitive and recreational, have committed to New Year resolutions but are battling regular demons whether that is general fatigue, lack of time, seasonal illness or just plain boredom.  What can a cyclist do?

Granted, the amount of downtime you can afford to take in winter depends on your goals for the coming year. If you have a century ride, a bike trip, or a hard race scheduled for June or July, you can probably get away with a layoff.  On the other hand, if an athlete wants to maintain fitness over the winter it it’s important to you get your motivation in gear now to make these gains and keep your cycling training on track.  Here’s how.

Define your goals.  What do you want to accomplish in 2016?  When? How do you know you’ve reached your goals?  Making SMART  (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) goals not only boosts your chances of attaining your goals, but you also become a better cyclist in the process.  The trick is to really dial those goals in. As in, a goal to consistently hitting heart rate zones or power zones for specific workout.  Use cycling accessories that are available to you – as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors to provide objective feedback.  Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. You may also want to check out our post, Heart Rate Training – What You Need to Know for our staff picks at Peak Cycles Bike Shop. Based on your goals, you can then get an action plan together by defining your training objectives.

Define your training objectives.  Now that you have your sights set for some events in 2016, it’s time to take inventory of your abilities to meet your goals for these events. What are your strengths?  What are your weaknesses?  For every area of improvement, decide what activity is needed to improve that.  If you have poor bike handling skills, then schedule time each week for bike drills.  If your core is week, schedule time for yoga or strength training. And, if you are like most cyclist, you could use a little stretching. Make time for stretching to improve your flexibility.

Define your approach.  Get a game plan together of how you plan to train and race.  Again, taking stock of last year’s performances, where can you improve?  Some cyclist focus exclusively on race day performance and evaluate results on a single day. However, take a look at how the days leading up to your event impacted the result.  How was you bike nutrition? How was your sleep? Did you have a race strategy in place? Were you familiar with the logistics of the event, as well as, the course profile itself?  All of these factors impact day of results.  Take time now to review and plan ahead.  Experiment with new ideas, products, and approaches. As in, maybe try a new on bike nutrition product. Experiment with different bike parts and bike components.  Consider designing and refining a pre-event routine, like a race day ritual.  This thoughtful process brings a fresh approach to 2016 and keeps you motivated through the winter months.

Ultimately, motivation for keeping your resolutions is not something that can be given to you. Rather, motivation must ultimately come from within.  Just like the passion you have for cycling.  Dig deep, find what inspires you, connect with that and pedal your way to a successful 2016 cycling season.  Happy New Year friends!


Are You a Left Brained or Right Brained Cyclist? 

September 18, 2014

left or right brained cyclistMotivation is the foundation all athletic effort and accomplishment. Without your desire and determination to improve your sports performance, all of the other mental factors, confidence, intensity, focus, and emotions, are meaningless.

To become the best athlete you can be, you must be motivated to do what it takes to maximize your ability and achieve your goals.  The key question here is what keeps you motivated month after month? Through each season?  And, year after year?

The post, MotivationUsing the left or right brain, offers some insights as to how brain function plays a critical role in cycling motivation.  As a brief reminder, most people have tendencies which lean toward exhibiting more “left brain” or “right brain” characteristics. You’ve undoubtedly heard of the differences between the two.

Left brain characteristics:
– linear
– logical
– analytical
– serious
– organized

Right brain characteristics:
– holistic
– intuitive
– creative
– fun-loving
– socially adept

One isn’t necessarily better or worse than the other; they both have their functions.  But, as this relates to cycling, training, and fitness, it plays a different role. So if you think you are left brained, what are ways to motivate yourself for riding?  If data and analytical conversations get you excited , then you need to motivate yourself by the potential numbers to be worked and gained within a workout. This also means to focus on potential elevation gain, distance to be covered, or how many complete intervals you think you can achieve.  Focusing on analytical data as in, learning the right way to train or making proper goal setting a priority can help dial in motivation.  Another way to use your logical mind for motivation is to research bike parts, bike geometry and test ride cycling accessories to see how it impacts your ride.

On the flip side, if you are a right brained cyclist, consider a holistic approach to your experience.  As in, focus on the journey and what you may experience on each ride. Consider multiple options for routes that will allow you to experience the views of the season, then which route best suits the workout. On any day, think about what the feel of the workout will bring, with breathing, the rhythms, and how enjoyable that is. Grasp this and use it to your advantage, because visualization and feel is your main motivation.  Visualization can take place off the bike too. Yoga for cyclist and year round strength training and visualizations of a stronger and fitter body can aid in the motivation experience.

Ultimately, what it boils down to is that whether you approach your motivation for cycling from a left or right brained perspective, what matters is that you are having fun and engaged.  Motivation is easy to maintain when you are experiencing the rewards of your cycling and training experiences.