There are three types of competitive road cycling: time trial racing, criterium racing and road racing. If you want to know how to train for competitive cycling, you need proper workouts that build your competence as a rider. These 6 steps will guide you through the process :
Step 1 – Choose a type of race
The first thing you need to do is to figure out the type of race you like most. Once you choose the form of racing you are interested in, acquire a race type specific bicycle and a USA Cycling license. Make sure your bike fits you to prevent neck or back pain and saddle sores. A proper bike can help you improve your efficiency.
Step 2 – Strengthen your core
A good cyclist has strong legs and great endurance, but having the strongest legs in the race is not enough. A strong core is definitely an advantage, because it allows you to stay in a more aerodynamic position for long-distance racing. The core is the area from your shoulders to the hips. These muscles help with movement control, shift body weight and transfer energy to the extremities. Strong core muscles protect the back and generate powerful movements.
Step 3 – Improve handling skills
Cyclists with great bike handling skills are more stable and smooth through corners and ride predictably. A professional sportive can ride in a pace-line, only inches away from other competitors. The lead rider must battle air resistance, and that requires excellent handling skills. Other riders that follow save 30 percent of their stamina. If you don’t know how to train for competitive cycling, join a local club and ask for advice.
Step 4 – Boost cardiovascular endurance
Cardiovascular endurance is the rider’s capacity to generate daily energy that flows through the muscles. The lungs and heart deliver oxygen to the body and keep us alive. You can increase the capacity of both systems with interval and speed trainings. Long slow distance training and pace/tempo training are also beneficial.
Step 5 – Increase power for sprints
A well-rounded cyclist is able to ride for long distances and at the end of the race have enough energy to sprint. You can increase your power output with intense training routines. A good weight training exercise for muscle strength is the full squat exercise, used by many elite athlete as the basis of their training. Stair running is also a high-intensity workout that builds foot speed and agility.
Step 6 – Rest
Proper rest and recovery periods are important in order to avoid overtraining. If you want to learn how to train for competitive cycling, first you must learn to listen to your body. Sleep, massage and stretching can help you recover from intensive training and avoid muscle tightness.