What to do when riding isn’t an option.
by Alison Powers, ALP Cycles Coaching
Good fitness requires consistency. Good bike riding fitness requires consistent bike riding. However, for some of us, it can be tough to find time to fit in 3 bike rides a week. And for others, due to travel, work, family, and other constraints, being able to ride once a week is a good week. So, the question becomes, “how do I stay fit, when I can’t be on my bike?”
If consistent bike riding cannot be achieved, then the goal becomes consistent exercise. Being able to exercise 3-4 days a week goes a long way in gaining and maintaining physical fitness.
Options for off the bike training include:
-Strength training and plyometrics. Squats, lunges, box jumps, plank, push-ups, pull-ups, jump rope, and hip bridging are all great examples of strength exercises that can be done anywhere and with little to no weights needed. Aim for full body, multi-joint exercises, 2-3 times per week.
-Cardio cross training. The goal of cross training is to maintain or increase your cardiovascular fitness (the ability of the heart, blood cells and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to the working muscle tissues and the ability of the muscles to use oxygen to produce energy for movement) which is what cycling requires. So, the better your cardiovascular fitness is, the better your bike riding fitness can be.
Examples of Cardio cross training are- running, hiking, Nordic skiing, stair master, brisk walking, etc. The goal is to get the heart rate elevated and have it stay there for a certain amount of time. If you are short on time, aim to do more intense intervals.
-Make the most of your bike riding time. The time that you spend on the bike is valuable- especially if you can ride only 1-2 times per week. This means every pedal stroke matters, every minute matters, and time should not be wasted. Quality rides limit the amount of coasting and/or soft pedaling. Also, when you are on your bike, ride hard and come home tired. When you are on your bike, you are getting the best training for bike fitness, so don’t waste it.
When I have athletes that travel and will be off their bike for several days, I plan their training to accommodate that. This usually means that prior to the travel, they have a hard training block. The goal is to recover from the hard training prior to travel and then rest and recover and be ready to train and ride hard once they return back home. Their ‘travel training’ is usually a hotel gym strength and plyometric workout followed by foam rolling and stretching.
If you can’t spend consistent time on your bike, aim for consistent exercise. Make sure to have quality training/exercise and balance it with 1-2 days off a week-more if you had a big bike riding block. Make the most of the time that you have on your bike. The goal is always quality over quantity of bike riding.
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ABOUT ALISON POWERS
Alison Powers only recently retired from cycling, finishing her final season on the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team. Her career has spanned a wide array of wins, including the 2013 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship where she won in memorable fashion by soloing after an early breakaway that obliterated the pro women’s peloton. Other standout results during the 33-year-old’s 2013 season include the win at Redlands Bicycle Classic, second at the Tour of Elk Grove, third at the US National Road Championship and the US National Time Trial Championship, and stage wins at Cascade Classic, Tulsa Tough, Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic. Hailing from Fraser, Colorado, Powers has been racing bikes professionally for eight years and is a true athlete with her career beginning as a teenager in mountain bike racing. In her mid 20s, she added in alpine ski racing before switching over to the road. In addition to being the current Criterium National Champion, Powers has two other national championships (Time Trial, Team Pursuit) and 2 NRC titles (2009, 2013).
About ALP Cycles Coaching
ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at http://alpcyclescoaching.com