Train without ‘training’, ex GB national & Olympic coach Dave Smith shares tips on how to improve fitness whilst still enjoying the ride.
So let’s say you ride to work or a country pub at the weekends, you’d rather not ‘train’, but you’d like to do it a bit faster – because if you can get from A to B a bit faster it means more time at home before leaving for work, or more time in the pub. How can you tweak things without hiring a wind tunnel or sports scientist?
I’ll put the science bits at the end so it doesn’t ruin your quiet read on the train. You can even tear the bottom off the screen so you don’t need to see silly terms and words like 2-3diphoshoglycerate*.
Tip 1: Change into an easier gear and pedal faster, maintaining your speed. This helps to develop more efficient pedalling and also makes the exercise use more aerobic gubbins and helping to get you there without wrenching your kneecap out of your jeans.
Tip 2: Think how fast you’d like to be in future and as ride that fast until you’re knackered, then have a short rest and try it again. We tend to get too comfortable and also fail to realise that we’re probably much faster than we think. In time, if you ride a bit quickly then have a little rest, you’ll find that what used to be a bit quick is now your default speed. But if you remain a dawdler, you’ll be really good at riding slowly.
Tip 3: Take the long route to the pub over that big nasty hill you’re scared off. Ride your normal happy routes in reverse. You’ll see new things, experience old hills in new ways, and create a new stress for your legs to adapt to.
Tip 4: Lose a bit of weight. Before you eat something say out loud, “I was thinking of eating this because…” – that normally helps. And leave bread, potatoes and pasta well alone. And if you drive, buy your fuel where you can pay at the pump, and you’ll eat less chocolate.
Enjoy the ride, but try doing it a little bit faster now and then with more hills. The destination will be worth it.
As for New Year Resolutions… New Year Resolutions my arse. By now you must have noticed that they rarely work, and they rarely work for so many reasons that I’d rather just focus on how to make positive changes stick.
Firstly, get off the fence. Stop making vague resolutions that have no finish line. Such as..
I want to lose weight…
I want to exercise more…
How much weight? By when?
Walking 10 meters extra each week would be exercising more. Is that what you were aiming for?
So, state a goal that has an end point both in terms of the crossing of the line and the target time.
I will lose 6kg by April 1st.
I will ride 120 miles every week this year.
A great way to achieve goals is to use the ‘if and then’ method.
You create a series of scenarios in which you control the response to that scenario.
If it is Monday at 6 pm, then I will go for a 4 mile run.
If someone offers me a biscuit, then I will say ‘no thanks’.
If I feel hungry, then I will drink a glass of water.
If I see an escalator, then I will take the stairs.
If someone asks me what my New Years resolutions were, then I will laugh and say to enjoy the ride and destination – at speed and in good health.
Onwards and upwards.
*nothing to see here