Ten New Year’s Resolutions to Help You Become a Faster Cyclist
New Year’s resolutions can be a mixed bag. Too often they’re unsustainable, and lead to burnout and disappointment. But setting smart, measurable, and realistic goals early in the season can facilitate meaningful and productive improvements in the months to come. Reach your best in 2021 with our top ten New Year’s Training Resolutions.
10. Keep it Fun
Let’s start with a simple resolution that should always guide your training and racing, no matter who you are: have fun. It’s why we do this in the first place, and keeping fun front-and-center in your mind can you stay productive and positive throughout the coming year.
True, not every minute of training will be enjoyable or easy. But next time you get on your bike, take a second to appreciate how amazing your body’s capabilities are, and how fun it is to simply ride and push yourself. Motivating your training with appreciation and positivity will keep you excited, humble, and healthy, no matter how tough your training gets. It’s a winning formula for getting faster.
9. Try Something New
Specialization leads to success. That’s why TrainerRoad training plans are discipline-specific, honing your fitness for your target event. But there’s real value in stepping outside of your comfort zone, so this year, commit to challenging yourself with something new.
Trying new things might mean experimenting with an entirely new discipline of racing, or it might be as simple as training at a different time of day, or even trying a racing strategy you normally avoid. Whatever it is, be specific and hold yourself accountable for following through. Routines are great, but switching things up can pay off in unexpected ways.
8. Get a Bike Fit
Here’s a low-hanging fruit that too many of us ignore: bike fit. According to our interview with expert Dr. Andy Pruitt, every cyclist should review their fit on a yearly basis, if not more often, because we are dynamic and changing organisms. We take it for granted that our fitness changes with training, but as our abilities change so to do our bodies. Many cyclists simply ignore this fact, leading to unhealthy, uneconomical, and unsustainable positions that hold them back and risk injury.
This year, get a bike fit with a reputable fitter. It doesn’t take long, it costs less than a new kit, and it will make your training healthier and more productive.
7. Prioritize Recovery
Every cyclist knows how empowering it feels to push beyond limits, and to finish tough workouts even when your body wants to give up. But this can sometimes lead to an overemphasis on the work itself, and a neglect of the part that really matters: recovery. The fact is that while your workouts force your body to improve, it’s during rest and recovery that you actually get faster.
In 2021, prioritize recovery. Go to bed earlier, take it easy on your days off, and resist the urge to overdo it and wear yourself down. For many athletes, this simple change is the single biggest way to improve.
6. Train at a Lower Volume
Resolving to train less might seem counterintuitive, but for many busy athletes, high-volume training plans are unsustainable. Low and Mid-Volume plans are easier to fit into your schedule, offer more opportunities for rest, and allow for more flexibility. In addition, since they address energy systems in a focused and intentional way, they still prepare you effectively for long events. Many of our Successful Athletes stand as proof that this approach works.
So this year, try low or mid-volume training first. It’s easy to add extra workouts if you like, but you may find that the lighter training load is actually more effective at helping you reach your goals.
5. Nourish Yourself
Our bodies are powerful machines, and incredibly adaptable ones at that. But machines need fuel and maintenance, and too often we fail to give them what they need. So this year, focus on nourishing your body.
Nourishment means more than simple fueling. It also means removing guilt from the food equation, and acknowledging that eating is one of the greatest pleasures in life. By staying conscious of how foods make you feel both on and off the bike, you can naturally gravitate towards healthier, more wholesome energy sources without depriving yourself of the enjoyment food can offer.
4. Track and Celebrate Your Improvements
There’s no motivator more powerful than watching yourself get faster. But too often, athletes use race results, Strava segments, and group rides as the only markers of progress, and miss more meaningful indicators. This year, commit to identifying and celebrating more subtle improvements that don’t rely on external factors.
TrainerRoad’s performance analytics tools are a great place to start. SeasonMatch is particularly effective, allowing you to compare power PRs year-to-year by relative time within the training season. Each time you see progress, acknowledge it and let it motivate you forward towards continued success.
3. Incorporate Strength and Mobility Training
It’s ironic how easy it is to train for hours each week, but still neglect spending just a few minutes to get physically stronger. In 2021, commit to incorporating some simple strength and mobility work into your routine.
Strength training for cyclists isn’t about building big muscles. It can help you be a more efficient, more powerful rider, and benefit your stability when climbing and sprinting. It can help prevent injury, and can even improve your endurance. It’s also easy to incorporate into your training schedule. Give it a try and watch it work for you.
2. Focus on Things You Can Control
Winning races is great, but it relies heavily on external factors. The weather, the actions of other riders, and surprise mechanical issues can all intervene, no matter how fit you are. It’s easy to let these disappointments get you down, but this year try a new approach. Measure success in things you can control.
Instead of dwelling on a disappointing race result, check your power data for PRs. Identify smart tactical decisions you made, climbs you got over with the race leaders, and corners you took with good technique. By judging success on the things you can control and improve on, you can more clearly identify what you do right, and purposefully improve the things you do wrong.
1. Follow a Long-Term Structured Training Plan
Finally, there’s one resolution that can pay dividends all year long, and it’s an easy one to incorporate, too. It’s the one change to your training that will truly reveal what you’re capable of, and build a foundation for lasting success. Make 2021 the year you follow a Structured Training Plan over the long-term.
Plan Builder makes it simple to create a season-long training plan around your events and schedule. And don’t worry, everyone misses a workout now and then, but Outside Workouts and Group Workouts make it fun and easy to complete as many of your scheduled workouts as you can. By following a structured plan through base, build, and specialty phases, you’ll develop durable, long-term fitness and unleash your full potential. Make this your year.