Most new cyclists have huge gains in fitness during the first few months of riding regularly. After this initial introductory period, improvements become much more minimal and may be harder to recognize. Instead of being satisfied with your performance, there are easy ways to identify individual deficiencies that will help continue your progression and ultimately help you to become a faster cyclist.
Here are 10 tips to include in your training plan that will help you get faster, stronger and break free from your everyday training rut.
Improve Your FitnessThe first and easiest way to become a faster cyclist is to improve your fitness. This can be done simply by getting on your bike more often. Just ride! Start by finding a way to commute to work, attend a group exercise class, or squeeze in another ride on the weekend.
Buy New Wheels
A nice set of carbon wheels are typically lighter, more aerodynamic and create less drag than the heavy stock version that came with your road bike. Of all the equipment to buy, you'll get the most bang for your buck with a new wheel set. But that doesn't mean you have to get rid of your old wheels. Use the heavy wheels to train on—it will make the carbon versions seem even faster on race day.
Ride with Stronger CyclistsJump into a group ride with cyclists that are above your level of fitness. This will push you to step outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Set your mind that you can go above and beyond what you've done before and eventually your body will catch up. You may get dropped a few times, but the lessons learned will make you stronger, and the experience of succeeding will be priceless.
Train off the Bike
Cross-train at least once per week and devote a few weeks in the off season to work on muscle groups other than those used to cycle. Try different activities to keep the body balanced physically. Cross-training activities like swimming, running, hiking, yoga, weight lifting and resistance training can help strengthen muscles that commonly go unused on the bike.