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The holidays are gone and the crazy year 2020 with them, thankfully! It’s time to look ahead and plan for the next season. Here are a few tips to help you kickstart your lifestyle and training habits so that you reach your racing form as soon as possible in the new year.

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Get on your bike every day

The most important thing you need is to reconnect with the habit of riding regularly. Challenge yourself to at least 7 consecutive days of riding your bike if you’re a beginner or 14 days if you’re a seasoned cyclist. The goal is not to get to a certain number of kilometres or intensity hours. You’re only in it to get used to spending time on your bike and form a strong habit of cycling in 2021. You can do some long rides, some intense short ones or even just getting on your bike to go to a nearby store. As long as you spend at least 20 minutes in the saddle every day, you’re good.

Cycling in the Mist
Cycling past the old Mangotsfield Junction Station on a misty morning on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path. © Profimedia

Connect with your cycling community

The only thing better than cycling is cycling with friends. Don’t underestimate the importance of being a part of your cycling community. Whether it’s your friends, family, cycling club or virtual training platform groups, make sure to start participating. Make sure to join a group ride, e-race or an indoor class within the next week. It doesn’t matter if you’re in shape or not. The important thing is to stay in touch and share the fun of cycling with people important to you. These people are going to be your support system for the rest of the year. Your community will get you back on the bike when struggling and it will join in to celebrate your successes.

Reset your sleep

Sleep is not only important for recovery and getting better as a cyclist. Good sleep also allows you to enjoy riding a lot more and have the energy and enthusiasm to go for a ride even if the conditions aren’t perfect. Make sure to spend at least 8 hours in bed. Set a bedtime alarm if you have to. Also make sure to keep your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool for optimal sleep quality. Check out our series on sleep if you are looking for more tips on how to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep after that.

Cycling in the mist
Get on the bike every day! (Clifton Suspension Bridge on a misty morning) © Profimedia

Commit to cooking

Food is another important part of cycling. If you do it right, it can provide you with plenty of energy, quick recovery, and a lean body. Unfortunately, there are many ways to eat right and wrong and a lot of it comes down to individual needs and preferences. One thing is sure to help almost any cyclist – cooking! If you dedicate some time to cooking at least some of your meals, you are sure to improve your diet. Home-cooked meals are less processed and contain more fibre and essential nutrients. It will be a time investment but if you make it a part of your routine, it will pay off many times over!

Add strength training to cycling in 2021

The last piece of the puzzle that will help you kickstart your cycling in 2021 is strength training. The winter off-season is ideal for improving your base strength. Try to do 2-3 strength sessions a week and focus on full-body movements. Squats, lunges, glute bridges, push-ups, planks, and pullups should be your go-to exercises for home exercising. You can progress to adding weights but give your body some time to get used to moving under load.

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