I can’t believe its already Halloween. 2016 was a year of personal growth — both in my career and in my waistline. I had my first jury trial! And what a success that was! It was a great result for my client and a wonderful adventure for me. But all the time and attention needed to win took away from cycling in a big way. I couldn’t participate in ALC 2016. I stopped riding (and exercising altogether) from July until nearly September. And my cycling skills have diminished.
The question for me — and for you, too, if you’re like most riders — is how do I get myself back into shape? Here are a set of tips I think will help. (Check out my 2013 advice on the same subject.) Try them out and I will, too. If you have successes or failures, please send me a note or comment and I will report on your progress in the blog! And remember, take small, achievable steps and you’ll be cycling with the big boys come June!
First, make sure you’re not undermining your training. Avoid staying out late, avoid drinking too much, avoid playing massive amounts of video games (my guilty pleasure). For me, one of the things that keeps me off the road are when I’m hung over or merely tired from a long night out. Another is spending too much time in front of the computer so that I have to drive to work. So, instead, reprioritize cycling in your daily routine.
Second, make sure you have a group of friends to support, encourage, and cajole you into cycling. If you don’t have a cycling partner — or even if you do — make a personal commitment to join at least two training rides each month. There are rides scheduled all over California and even some around the country. Check the schedule each Monday, RSVP early, then put it in your calendar! Then find a buddy to email, “Hey, I want to ride three bears on Saturday, you in?” That will go a long way toward your goal.
Third, do cycling-related things each day. Ever wondered how those magical gears work? Ever thought, hm, I think my bike should be cleaner. Well, now is the time to learn how to clean your bike and learn how it works! Got that covered? Then read a cycling blog — or better yet, contribute an article to a cycling blog! Thinking about cycling will help to encourage you back into the saddle.
Fourth, get excited! Remember that year you laid down $5K on a shiny new bike? You couldn’t stop riding, right? You can’t afford another expensive bike, but maybe a new kit, new cages, or a tune up from you friendly local bike shop will inspire you. If not, then remember why we ride. We’re doing this to help others. And we’re doing this for fitness. If philanthropy isn’t enough, then maybe libido is. Find what works for you.
Fifth, eat a cycling-friendly diet. With overly-busy schedules often comes fast-food or high-calorie based diets. Prepare healthy food in advance with a balanced mix of nutrients. Please don’t follow a fad diet. Instead, eat healthy and in accord with any medical restrictions. Spend a little time getting to know how many calories are right for your body type, and start reading labels. As you increase your miles, you can increase your calories.
Sixth, get on that damned bike. Even if you can only do one ride a week, don’t let a single week go by with at least some riding. The best way to get cycling-fit is to cycle. Do go to the gym, but don’t rely on weights and spin classes. Time in the saddle is the best way to prepare for the ride.
I hope these tips help. Please let me know how your training is going!