Regardless of age, everyone started cycling at some point. One just gets on a bike, or rides with a friend and the other takes a completely thought-out approach. In any case, it never hurts to follow a training schedule as a beginner or more advanced cyclist. This way you learn more about the performance you deliver and optimize the effort. In this blog we explain a good cycling training for beginners. So that you are off to a good start!
Preparing for bike training as a beginner
Before you start training or start riding more intensively, make sure you have already checked a number of things. Pay attention to the following four points:
- Have you bought a second-hand bicycle? Then go to the bicycle shop to have your bicycle checked. It is important that you do not ride with worn parts (brakes, sprockets, tyres, chain, etc.). This way you can drive safely and comfortably from the start.
- Do a bike fitting. Training puts a strain on the body and although cycling is relatively injury free, it is super important that your bike is personally adjusted to you. A poorly adjusted bicycle can cause pain in your hands, elbows and knees, neck and shoulders and back. With a bike-fit you train comfortably on the bike and you reduce the risk of injuries.
- Wear the right clothes. You don't have to spend hundreds of euros on a professional outfit right away. But it is important to wear comfortable cycling clothing. For example, bicycle saddles are hard and without padding because they are designed to sit on with padded cycling shorts. In addition, cycling clothing is not made of cotton, but moisture-wicking fabric is used.
- Wear a helmet!
Items you don't need to get started
There is a wide range of products that you can buy as a cyclist. As a novice cyclist it is important to realize that you don't have to spend a fortune. You do not (yet) need the following three things as a beginner:
Power meter: Training with power is wonderfully effective and a power meter is a very valuable tool, but you can make a lot of training progress before you have to invest in one.
Heart Rate Monitor: Similar to Power Meter. Do you happen to have a wearable that does measure your heart rate? Then it is of course nice to wear it right away.
Everything made of carbon (carbon fibre): carbon is light and strong, but also expensive and fragile. Start on more robust and cheaper material. As a beginner (and as a pro) you can easily hit the road with an aluminum frame.
Cycling training: the first week
Start cycling three to five times a week. Between 30 to 60 minutes at a time. Then estimate how much time you cycle per week. Also include commuting by bicycle. Then try to increase the time you spend on two wheels by 10 percent each week.
Important tip: don't go too fast. For example, don't go from zero to four high-intensity spinning classes in a week. Start by building volume and add intensity later. Start with a good pace at a moderate intensity level. This is a 4-5 on a scale of 10 where 1 is sitting in the cafe and watching your bike and 10 is as hard as you can go.
Cycling training: the first month
During the first month, you continue to add that 10 percent per week. Do take one rest day - so no training - per week into account. If you're starting to hit the maximum time per ride simply because your work or family won't allow it, try to spend more time on rides on the weekends. By riding longer rides you create a significant training stimulus. This is stimulus that ensures that your body will adapt and become stronger.
Connect with the cycling community. Ask around if friends or colleagues also cycle, maybe you can go together sometime! Because cycling with more experienced cyclists is the best way to learn cycling skills. As with anything, there is a learning curve to getting into cycling. Everyone started somewhere, and most are happy to help a less experienced cyclist. Or search for a cycling club near you. Weekly events are often organized at different levels.
If you prefer to train indoors, or if the times you have available to train require you to be indoors, you can still connect with the cycling community through apps like Strava and Zwift. Try an indoor cycling workout of less than 60 minutes.
Cycling training: the first three months
More hours of cycling keep your condition up to a certain extent. Now it is important to increase the intensity in addition to volume. This is where interval training comes in. Interval training is a means of increasing total load by alternating periods of higher intensity with recovery periods of lower intensity. Intervals can be long or short, light challenge or hard, and everything in between. There is an inverse relationship between the intensity of an effort and the duration that you can sustain that effort. The harder the interval, the shorter it will be and vice versa. Cyclists can use this relationship with an individual workout, a series of workouts, or an entire training block.
How do you continue training?
In the next blog we will take a closer look at the transformation from beginner to advanced cyclist. In addition to intensifying your training, the right diet and clothing are also important. Keep an eye on the Acelera Blog to find out the next steps. Or read other articles about cycling training .