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Cycling New Year’s Resolutions

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Knowledge level: Intermediate

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Article posted: 01/01/2014

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Happy New Year from all at British Cycling. Hopefully our Cyclist’s Festive Survival Guide has steered you clear of too much excess, you’ve managed to squeeze in some rides and you’re fit and ready for the New Year. As the clocks strike midnight and the old year consigned to history, vow to make the new one your best cycling year ever. Here are ten cycling New Year’s resolutions that’ll help you reach that goal.

Get on the plan

The best way to develop your cycling skills, fitness and social life is to join your local club.

If you’re not already following the British Cycling Training Plan, it’s not too late to jump onboard and benefit from the same coaching know-how that has made Britain the World’s number one cycling nation. If you’re novice, start the 25-week Beginners plan now and you’ll be ready to tackle a 100 km sportive by the summer. If you’re more experienced but haven’t been following a structured training plan, the Intermediate/Advanced plan will still deliver you to the start of the season in the best form of your life.

Stretch every day

As well as the time we’re on the bike, the amount of time we spend sitting in daily life, such as driving and at our desks, can cause problems. Also, poor lower back and hamstring flexibility can reduce your ability to ride in an aerodynamic position and could be costing you significant chunks of time. You don’t need to go out and enrol in a daily yoga class or spend hours stretching but five to ten minutes daily can significant reduce those annoying aches and niggles. This routine from Phil Burt, Lead Physiotherapist at British Cycling and Consultant Physiotherapist to Team Sky, is ideal. If you can’t fit in the whole routine, go for one stretch every day, something is always better than nothing. It doesn’t have to be straight after a ride either, in front of the TV in the evening is just as effective.

Try something new

It’s all too easy to get stuck in a training rut and this can easily lead to boredom, dwindling motivation levels and diminishing performance gains. Following the British Cycling Sportive Training Plan will ensure that your training sessions are varied and progressive and, with options for cross training and additional bonus rides, there’s plenty of scope to add lots of variety. Aim to try one new thing every month. Some strength work, a fitness class, some off-road riding or a completely new training route will all give your body new stimuli to adapt to and will help prevent training staleness creeping in.

Set a big goal

Having a definite goal that you’re working towards is one of the best ways to motivate yourself to get out and ride on those cold and wet winter days, especially if that goal scares you just a little bit. Whether it’s riding your first metric or imperial ton, a specific sportive or race or moving up into the next racing category, make it real by setting a date or putting in an entry and commit to it. Don’t forget to also set some smaller stepping stone goals along the way too. Plan your cycling year with British Cycling here.

Go on a training camp

A warm weather training camp booked for February or March will be a welcome break from the British winter, give you a really solid block of pre-season training and provide motivation to train in preparation for it. Find out what to look for in a training camp here, overseas insurance advice here and how to safely fly with your bike here.

Be good to your bike

Even if you’ve got a dedicated winter trainer or have winter proofed your bike, wet salty roads can quickly take their toll. Resolve to clean you bike after every ride. With the right kit and technique, it’s only a five minute job as shown in this video and article.

Race in 2014

If you’ve been riding sportives and are looking for a new challenge, have a go at racing. Look here for Racesmart content. It’s not too late to catch some late season cyclocross events to get a taste of competitive cycle sport and, with most races entry on the line and allowing mountain bikes, it’s incredibly accessible. The road racing season kicks off in the spring and, if you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out. Closed circuit races are fun, thrilling and, for 4th Cat riders, only typically last 30-45 minutes. Find out more about making the transition for sportives to racing here.

Ride for fun

With a focus on performance, monitoring intensity with heart rate or power and constantly striving for improvement, it’s easy to forget why you probably started riding a bike in the first place, enjoyment. Vow to occasionally ditch all the electronic training paraphernalia and just get out and ride. Explore new roads, stop at a couple a cafés, chat as you spin your legs and forget about training zones and optimal cadence. Maybe get off the roads and have a wilderness mountain biking adventure or get the family out on their bikes with you.

Join a club

The best way to develop your cycling skills, fitness and social life is to join your local club. Whether you’re a novice building up to their first sportive, looking to start racing or even more experienced but have always ridden alone, joining and riding with a club will take your cycling to the next level. Look here to find a club near you, get in touch and join one of their club runs.

Get your nutrition right

New Year’s food and drink resolutions are normally about trying to undo the festive excesses but we’d like you to try something a bit more cycling specific. Make it your resolution to perfect your pre, during and post-ride nutritional routine during the rest of the winter so, come the sportive and racing season, this crucial factor in your cycling success is 100% dialled in. There’s loads of great advice here, with tips from Nigel Mitchell, British Cycling and Team Sky Nutritionist.

Have a great 2014 and remember to visit the site regularly for all the latest tips and advice, direct from the experts at British Cycling.

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