Consistent training makes you faster and can even prevent training setbacks. Here’s how you can keep your training consistent and adjust your plan to reinforce your long term goals.
Why Consistency Makes You Faster
Every athlete looking to turn their goals into a reality knows the importance of hard work. But sometimes, progressing fitness doesn’t require more hard work. It involves something a bit more challenging—patience and consistency.
Taking the long road, and focusing on steady progression can be difficult. As athletes, it’s normal to want to see our hard work pay off regularly and linearly. In turn, this can lead us to ramp our training up too quickly or train at high volumes intermittently instead of at lower volumes sustainably. Which leads to erratic training at best. In other words, consistent training delivers the correct amount of stimulus, without overwhelming you, which drives adaptations.
Consistency is the key to getting faster because it allows you to build and promote adaptation sustainably. It also helps deliver a progressive load over time that will result in a higher aerobic fitness. In addition to this, it can help you prevent setbacks in your power development, mental burnout, and fitness plateaus.
How to Make Your Training Consistent
The struggle for consistency is real. Aside from life getting in the way, training is hard work. Fatigue, time constraints, and lack of motivation are all typical issues that can hinder the consistency of your training load.
When you’re struggling with consistency, and you return from a streak of unproductive training, it can be tempting to jump back into your routine with everything you’ve got. On paper, this might seem like a good idea, but in practice ramping up your training with more volume than you can handle does more harm than good. Increasing your training load too fast can feel good at first but can quickly become discouraging. It can lead to mental and physical burnout, and in some cases, it can lead to a fitness plateau.
Training consistently doesn’t mean reconstructing your life around cycling. The key is finding the training volume and training strategies that allow you to maintain a plan that fits your lifestyle and time availability. If you’re struggling with consistency, you may want to turn your attention to your training volume, nutrition, sleep, training habits, and mindset around your progress. All of these things play a vital role in successfully progressing your fitness.
Adjust Your Training Volume
If you’re struggling to maintain a consistent training regiment, it might be that the workload is too high for your current situation. The best training plan is the one you can steadily maintain. Being able to train consistently might even mean reducing training volume so that it’s slightly lower than the amount of time you have, or what you know that you can handle.
If you’re getting started with structured training and you’re in between training volumes, choose the lower volume. It’s better to train at a lower volume, consistently, nail all your workouts, and finish the plan in its entirety than to train at a higher volume and skip workouts. If you’re successful with a lower volume plan and you build good habits, you may be able to jump up to mid-volume at a later date without any issues.
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Nutrition and Sleep
It’s hard to regularly get on the bike when your general sense of well being fluctuates frequently. Your habits around nutrition and rest play a massive role in your body’s ability to train and adapt. Making sleep, nutrition, and hydration a priority of your daily routine can make getting onto the trainer or leaving for a ride much more manageable. If you struggle with maintaining a high-quality sleep schedule, or proper nutrition, focus your attention on these aspects of your training regiment. Better sleep and nutrition can boost your motivation and overall health.
Create a Routine
Make your training plan a part of your routine. Routines help reinforce good habits and reduce cognitive load. If possible, try to schedule your training at the same time every day. Depending on your profession, riding at the same time every day may not be possible. Doing this reduces the cognitive load of decision making and helps prioritize your time. Now, you just have to think about getting motivated for your workout.
Set Designated Off Days
When you build your custom training plan, Plan Builder will prompt you to choose the days that you’d like to train. While we don’t necessarily recommend rearranging the order of the workouts, you can shift the workouts to the days you think it’s most feasible to complete them. You can also select rest days that work for you. If you’re doing a mid-volume training plan and you know that your Thursdays and Fridays are particularly hectic, then make those days your off days.
Start Don’t Skip
It’s always better to start a workout, and only make it through a small portion then to skip a workout. That is unless you’re really tired and what you need is a day off. When your motivation is low and you don’t want to get on the bike try to just start the workout and get through the first fifteen minutes. Motivation usually follows action, and more often than not you’ll feel better once you start training. You might even complete the whole workout. But regardless of whether or not you make it through the whole workout, the habit you’re building is getting on the bike. If you were to skip the workout, the habit you would be reinforcing is skipping the workout.
Progress Isn’t Always Linear
Even when you maintain a consistent training program, your progress isn’t always going to be linear. Focus on the process and achieve your daily goals and progressions. This will set you up for success in the long term. Be patient and believe in the process even when the progress isn’t always apparent.
For more cycling training knowledge, listen to Ask a Cycling Coach — the only podcast dedicated to making you a faster cyclist. New episodes are released weekly.
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