Summer training is tricky as many cyclists aren’t sure how to approach it and end up frustrated. Let’s take a look at a few tricks that will get you out of the summer slump and boost your fitness, no matter how successful your season was so far.
Avoid the grey zone
Winter training is easier in a sense because you have the constraints of a shorter day and unpleasant weather. That makes you efficient, you carefully choose long easy rides, and make the most out of your intense ones. Summer is the opposite. It seems like there’s endless time and good weather and you end up doing most of your training in the grey zone – not hard enough to cause positive training adaptation, and not easy enough to enhance recovery. This type of training is ok sometimes, but too much of it will lead to stagnation. Make sure that you have plenty of easy recovery rides where you don’t push on the hills and let people pass you without a fight. And push that much harder on your intervals.
The same reason that keeps many cyclists in the grey during summer leads them to not take enough rest days too. Especially in the summer with the added heat and a lot of unexpected “cross training” in a form of swimming or hiking on holidays, it’s essential to give your body the necessary rest. Unless you’re very experienced and know exactly what you’re doing, it’s best to stick to 1 rest day per 7 days. If you have a race or a big ride coming up, take a rest day two days before and an easy day one day before. You’ll be surprised what you can do with fresh legs in summer.
Sign up for a race
A common summer problem is aimlessness. With holiday season in progress and a wave of summer activities trying to steal your attention it can be hard to find the motivation for structured training. One thing that makes things simple and clear is a race. If you find yourself drifting, unsure how to approach summer training, sign up for an event. Paying for your registration will give you a financial incentive and marking a date in your calendar a timeline. All that’s left is to plan out your training sessions based on your fitness are the time left.
Challenge yourself in a new way
It’s not always physical fitness that’s the issue in summer training. It might be a psychological thing. Maybe you had some setbacks and training is not going as planned. Or maybe you just don’t feel inspired by the events you signed up for and you’re burnt out on repetitive training. That’s when it’s essential to bring back the fun and excitement of training for something new. Finding an event that challenges you in a different way is key. Maybe it’s signing up for a race that’s longer than anything you’ve done before. Maybe it’s a new style of competition like a time-trial, or a new surface like gravel. The right challenge will make you want to get in the saddle and start training right away.