Training… A word that all cyclists like to dwell on. If a cyclist tells you he is not training, he is hiding something. If he tells you he is training, he is also hiding something – so you just accept all cyclists are training for something… whether they tell the truth of what its for, that’s the real conundrum.
As with all sports, how you train is the basis of everything that you do. what are you training for? What is the end goal?
Cycling, being a time based sport, has its fair share of armchair experts, and also true experts, all trying to tell you how to maximize the time you have, or as the saying is ‘get the most bang for your buck’. A quick Google search and you will have more than enough information to be fully informed on how to spend your crucial time – and more importantly be totally confused!
So what do you do? Spend some money on a coach or a training plan? Being spoon-fed your training regime is perfect if you are disciplined enough and don’t enjoy riding your bike (my theory is that people who get on their bike and follow a prescribed program to improve are not actually enjoying cycling or being cyclists, they are simply fitness enthusiasts using the bike as a tool – fine if that’s what floats your boat, but please… you are not a cyclist!) Alternatively, do you take bits and pieces of information and make it up as you go?
Most people go for the second option and end up improving, even though they feel they should be aiming for a more regimented approach. Just the same, those taking option 1 end up improving too.
As for me, I’ve done both options and here’s what I have found out. Having a plan is great – it gives you building blocks to work on. Not having a plan is also great – it gives you no building blocks, but also no restrictions and you can just ride your bike – which is why I cycle anyway.
So I’ve now ended up with a happy balance; structured sessions from a training plan which i know works for me, but also time to just ride my bike with my buddies – surely the most important cycling you can do!
There are a couple of quotes that you can base your cycling on…
‘Training is like fighting a gorilla, you don’t stop when you want, you stop when the gorilla wants’
‘Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike’
Have a little bit of both of these in your life, and you’ll be just fine.