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SAFETY & NUTRITION

Filed under: TRAINING METHODS |

When an athlete steps up his or her training through a coaching program, it is vital to follow fundamental rules for safety and health. For example, in one’s zeal to ride fast or set an new PR during a field test, one must never forget to follow the rules of the road and the laws of the land. One wears a helmet. Always. And to prevent aches, pains, and injuries from occurring, one must begin training with a proper bike fit from a qualified bike shop. If an athlete is new to clip in pedals, practice on the grass is needed before heading to roads with traffic. These are all basic safety guidelines I want all clients to know, and even if you are an experienced cyclist, you will pardon me if I remind you of them.

One of the more pleasant times of my day is post-exercise stretching. Cycling involves repetitive motions in a fairly static position and stretching after every effort should become second nature to a cyclist. Stretching not only works out the kinks that can settle in from a long or hard session, but it promotes muscle recovery for your next workout. Stretching will be prescribed after every workout, and I will provide materials that will guide you in the process.

Studies show that weight lifting is essential to a well-rounded training program for cycling. Moderate weight lifting will strengthen cyclists’ core muscles, which support the muscles we use on the bike. Working with weights will also sufficiently develop muscles we do not heavily use while cycling, so as to prevent our muscle groups from becoming unbalanced. I will encourage all clients to consider including weight lifting into their cross training, and I will point them toward resources for doing this. A serious racer will certainly consider adding a periodized program of weight lifting to his or her early-to-mid-season training. But all cyclists will benefit by even a moderate program of light-weight loads and higher repetitions twice per week in a local gym or at home.

Many other cross training activities will benefit your training program: yoga, swimming, running, walking, nordic skiing, etc. While I won’t be coaching such cross training per se, I will want to take into account your preferences and consider working them into your training volume if they will benefit your cycling goals.

To support all of these physical activities, cycle athletes need to properly fuel and hydrate themselves before, during, and after exercise. Sometimes it can seem like a war in your head between wanting to eat everything in sight and filtering every bite with the question, “Will this help me get up the next hill faster?”  I will help you referee that psychological and physiological battle so that both your health and your performance are maximized.