Training for cyclists: the complete guide

Sunday 20 Jan 2019

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How to keep your safety and boost your performance?

Whatever your profile, there are many things that can affect your performance and limit your safety when cycling. Want to know more so you can see real results the next time you train? The rest of this article will give you all the answers you need.
Your medical care is essential
Before developing the crucial points for each cyclist’s training, let’s remember the importance of medical monitoring. Indeed, it allows us to ensure that the cyclist’s health is maintained. Moreover, thanks to various examinations (physiological, biomechanical, biological, psychological and nutritional), this monitoring will not fail to optimise your next sessions while detecting any possible overtraining at an early stage.

Before, during and after a cyclist’s training

The training plan
The training plan is drawn up by your coach. This “roadmap” is adaptable to your condition and promotes optimal performance.
Why follow your coach’s training plan? Not surprisingly, your trainer will share his or her knowledge and will respect certain key points, particularly the rest phases (essential for contributing to the phenomenon of overcompensation).
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced cyclist, remember that overtraining often leads to opposite results and a state of fatigue that will require a long recovery period.

The warm-up

A cardio-respiratory warm-up is essential before any exercise. Progressive forms of musculo-tendinous stretching are also recommended, without reaching sensations of pain and alternating tension (6 seconds) and relaxation (6 seconds). These exercises are effective for all body segments and improve your muscular elasticity; there is therefore no need to deprive yourself of them at the beginning and end of the session to promote your recovery.

Recovery

Another essential point for maintaining your health and maximising your performance is recovery. Ideally active, this phase must ensure the restoration of all the balances altered during the effort (hydric, carbohydrate, mineral, electrolyte…). In other words, if you do not respect your recovery, your capacities will decrease and could expose you to certain risks.

The health of the runner

It will come as no surprise to any internet user: a healthy lifestyle will ensure optimal physical potential. If nutrition and sleep are the main factors here, other points cannot be neglected.
The daily consumption of 20 cigarettes, for example, increases energy expenditure by 10% for the same effort.
Moreover, cannabis use adds to the problems associated with smoking a significant risk of demotivation, psychological disorders and uncontrolled behaviour.
Finally, in addition to the abuse that is dangerous to health, alcohol consumption very quickly alters the capacities, vigilance and precision of a sportsman’s movements. As you can see, a healthy lifestyle is essential!

Quality of sleep

Sleep is obviously another essential phase for physical and mental recovery, and it must be respected according to your needs.
Now let’s develop an interesting factor: the time difference. If you are moving eastwards, for example, you will need to allow 1.5 days of adaptation for each hour of time difference: this will be helped by bright exposure to light in the morning, by regularly bringing forward the time of getting up and going to bed in the days preceding your departure. On the other hand, if you are travelling westwards, one day per hour of time difference will be sufficient by delaying the time of rising and going to bed and by practising exposure to strong light in the evening before the sleep period.
Do you travel often? Note that it is strongly advised against using sleeping pills on the plane. If you have to sleep during the day, don’t deprive yourself of this and take naps of less than thirty minutes.

Let’s not forget food!

Finally, it would be unthinkable to talk about sports performance without mentioning diet. The diet of an athlete is the very essence of his or her abilities. However, this subject requires detailed explanations which will certainly boost your results during each outing. To find out more, don’t hesitate to consult this complete article!