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!

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3 New Years Resolutions Worth Keeping

December 31, 2015
Happy New Year from BikeParts.com

Happy New Year from BikeParts.com

New Year’s has always been a time for reflecting on the past year, and more importantly, looking forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.  However, for all too many resolutions, failure is virtually assured at the offset because the resolutions are not made with serious intent and deliberation. Basically, they are just wishful thinking.

The first trick to making a resolution stick is to choose the right resolution in the first place!  Make it SMART!  When you make your resolutions SMART  (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound), not only do you boost your chance of  attaining your goals, but you also  become a better cyclist in the process.  Aside from the traditional resolutions to ride more, to loose weight, and to explore new rides, consider taking on some different resolutions.

Resolve to set bigger goals! Set your sights high! Reach for bigger goals in 2016!  Many cyclist resolve to ride more frequently or adventure on longer rides in the coming year; yet without actually quantifying the specific actions required to support these goals, no gains are actually made. The post, Make Proper Goal Setting a Priority for Your Next Cycling Season highlights this fact offering 10 questions to evaluate the past season’s cycling performance and arms you with insights to making better training choices that lead to better performance in 2016.  In addition to goal setting, using cycling accessories – as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors can aid in bio feedback, data, and analysis towards obtaining your goals.  Armed with SMART goals and biofeedback, the only thing you have to do is actually ride!

Resolve to try something new! If you are a roadie, try riding a mountain bike.  If you only ride trails, opt for a gravel grinder event.  Gravel grinder events are great for roadies and mountain bike riders and they are popping up all over the country.  Generally, they are unsanctioned, unsupported endurance bicycle races on primarily gravel and dirt roads, with little or no outside support, course markings, fees or prizes.  That translates to a day of adventure on the bike!  If the endurance route isn’t your thing, consider riding a fat bike.  Fat bikes offer a whole new level of fun and adventure to riding.  Why not try something new? You have nothing to lose and only fun, adventure, and new cycling thrills to gain! 

Resolve to treat your body right!  Sure, as a cyclist you probably think about proper hydration and eating well but there’s more to taking care of your body than that.  Have you thought about yoga? Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of a successful training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins. From power to endurance, athletes at all levels are incorporating yoga to gain an edge over the competition, and prevent injury.  Another way to prevent injury and take care of your body is to get a proper bike fit. Leg strength, endurance, and fitness are at the heart of cycling speed, but without a proper bike fit, you are sabotaging your training efforts and possibly even your 2016 cycling resolutions.  In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit.  A bike fit doesn’t simply consist of setting saddle height and bar reach. It’s more than that and it is even more critical to dial in the fit and confirm you have the right bike parts for optimal performance.  

The New Year is all about out with the old and in with the new.  Maybe last year’s cycling resolutions were to get in shape, build fitness, or get stronger on the bike.  This year, branch out! Create resolutions worth keeping and watch your cycling soar to new heights in the coming year! At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’re wishing you a year that is filled with all the joys, personal rewards, and the grand adventure that cycling brings.  Happy 2016!