4 Ways to Overcome a Performance Plateau

If you are a cyclist, sooner or later, you're going to hit a plateau. This happens when your performance just doesn't improve, no matter how hard you try.

This can occur for a variety of reasons. One of the most common is training without a proper plan. In order to get the most from your workouts, it is important to approach training from a scientific point of view. Knowing what you are trying to accomplish with each day's effort as well as knowing what not to do can greatly improve your performance.

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Hitting a performance plateau can be a very frustrating experience. Follow these four tips to figure out where you've gone wrong.

Keep a Training Journal

A journal provides context for your workouts and helps you understand how your training is progressing. It paints a picture of what you have accomplished over a particular period of time and how you were able to accomplish it. For example, if you set a personal best in a particular event, you can take a look at the weeks leading up to that event to gain perspective on what you did that enabled you to maximize your performance.

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Conversely, by examining your training in the weeks prior to a plateau, you can gain a greater understanding of what's happening, and why you are stuck. To maximize the effectiveness of your journal, keep track of the following information:

  • Date and time of day for each workout
  • Weather (temperature, humidity and wind)
  • Body weight
  • Workout length (in time and distance)
  • Route
  • Intensity level (using heart rate and/or power output)
  • Hours of sleep the previous night, and your general feelings about the ride (on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being poor and 5 being awesome)

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About the Author

Tyrone A. Holmes, Ed.D, CPT, is a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and a Level 2 cycling coach through USA Cycling. He provides Cycle-Max Coaching for cyclists and multisport athletes who want to improve their performance on the bike and Healthy Life Coaching for individuals who want to lose weight and develop healthier lifestyles. His latest book is Developing Training Plans for Cyclists and Triathletes. Visit his website at www.holmesfitness.com and his Fitness Corner blog at www.doctorholmes.wordpress.com.

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