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7 Bits of Advice to Stop Overthinking Your Cycling Training

By Jiri Kaloc

Are you constantly testing the latest bicycle components, tracking every possible metric, and experimenting with new supplements without seeing notable improvements in your cycling? You might just be overthinking things! Let’s go over 7 basic truths about cycling training that can help you see where the real gains are.

Most of us cycling enthusiasts are guilty of forgetting about fundamentals in favour of chasing those cool new gadgets, tricks, and strategies. That’s why it’s good to hear them repeated to us over and over again. Here you go.

Cycling training
The smallest unit of every training plan is a single workout. ©  redsnapper / Alamy / Alamy / Profimedia

No single workout is more important than working out consistently

It’s natural to constantly try to find the perfect training ride, the one that finally pushes you to the next level. The reality is that even if all your training sessions don’t exactly go according to plan, you’re still going to improve as long as you’re consistent. And at the same time, nailing a perfect workout simply won’t do much if you don’t follow it up.

Your fitness matters more than your bodyweight

If you’re obese or extremely lean – yes, changing your body composition could be a top priority. But for most of us that are somewhere in the middle, improving fitness is going to produce much more effect at a much lower cost than trying to change weight.

The best time to train is when it fits your schedule

There’s a lot of research and advice for when to train. Is it early morning to enjoy the benefits of fasted exercise? Is it 2 hours after your last meal for optimal glycogen levels? The reality is that the best time is always going to be exactly when a ride fits into your schedule. We all have busy lives filled with many other things apart from cycling. So, focus on maintaining that consistency in training and it will pay off much more than nailing the best time.

Eating enough is more important than what you eat

No, you can’t exactly perform well long-term only eating cake and drinking beer. There are limits to what this headline says. But considering most athletes, the biggest risk lies in not eating enough to meet the energy requirements of your training. If you consistently undereat, your performance will eventually drop and there are serious health issues to consider as well. So, before you start worrying about carbs, protein, vitamins, and minerals, make sure you’re eating enough.

No matter how good or bad you feel, it won’t last long

There are times when training feels like a chore and results in races make you feel like everything is wrong. And then there are times when your legs feel invincible, your training sessions are going perfectly, and you’re exceeding expectations in your races. The good thing is, neither of these extremes lasts very long. So, if you’re in a low, try to problem solve and find what’s wrong but keep in mind that every slump will come to an end. And if things are going great, enjoy it! But keep up your consistency.

There are no shortcuts, adaptation takes time

It might sound like a broken record but that’s kind of the point here. Consistency is what works. There are so many tips and tricks out there and influencers promising to have the secret. And yes, you can improve short-term performance with stimulants, improved hydration, and so on. And some of those things can improve the quality of your session but the training adaptations still take time. There’s no going around that. So, don’t be impatient and don’t make too many changes too often. Stick with your training schedule, stay consistent and real results will come.

If you want to be a better cyclist, ride your bike

Cross-training is great, more cyclists should do strength training and yoga to be healthier and more robust athletes. But there is no escaping the fact that riding your bike is the best way to get faster and more comfortable on your bike. Don’t forget about that when planning your weekly activities.