October 12, 2016

It's the end of the year and you might be left thinking, "Is that it? My year is over, already? I didn't get any better! Wait...I want to get better on my bike before the year is over! Wait...!"

Too late, mate. This year has come and gone.

You want to get better on your bike, eh? You want to get fitter? You want to ride to the cottage faster than ever before? You want to hang with that group and not get dropped? You want that extra 10 min off your triathlon bike split?

Consider the following:

-if you don't want to end up in the same spot next fall as you are in now, don't train the same way for these next 12 months as you did for the previous 12 months. Simple and obvious, but true.

-if you want to improve, something has to change. And we're resistant to change. Change is difficult. It requires thought, effort, commitment. It's hard.

-you won't improve if you don't change something. But don't despair, the change needed doesn't have to be drastic in order to yield results.

-adhering to a small change over the next 12 months is capable of resulting in a significant improvement in next year's riding.

-don't feel like you have to make several, large (and therefore unrealistic) changes in order to improve. It just won't happen.

-examples of small, realistic changes which will lead to improvement include:

a) ride one more time per week than you averaged last winter. If you rode 0 times a week last winter, try once a week riding this winter. If you rode 3 times per week last year, try 4 times a week this year.

b) if you took 3 months off the bike last fall/winter before getting going again, try taking only 1 or 2 months off. Or, during your 3 months away from the bike, remain active with other aerobic activities and strength work.

c) if you rode consistently last year but with no structure or guidance, there's no need to increase your riding time this year. Instead, perform structured workouts. Follow a plan this year. (Ride with WattsUp.)

d) if you didn't do any strength work, drop one or two bikes a week and add one or two strength sessions. Keep the strength sessions cycling-specific. Don't increase your overall training load/volume...simply reduce the bike a bit to make room for the strength. The strength need not be long or frequent.

e) if you're consistent in your riding and you don't take an annual break and you don't have time to add more cycling to your schedule...you're doing just fine. You're likely a few percentage points stronger now than 12 months ago. And you'll use that increased fitness through this coming winter and spring, which'll make you that much stronger for next summer. We see this at WattsUp, where athletes who only have time, for example, for 2 weekly rides. They continue to improve each year because their individual power-based training zones are increasing a bit each year. So each passing winter of training they're using higher and higher power zones (i.e., increased load), and their muscles have no choice but to respond and adapt.

So: change one thing. Keep it consistent. And improvement will be yours.

Don't know what or how to change? Come to WattsUp, and we'll take care of that for you.