How to improve your riding off the bike
It sometimes feels like we can never ride enough to reach the lofty targets we set for ourselves. However, training needn't be restricted to what we can achieve on the pedals. There is a lot that we can do off the bike to optimise recovery and ultimately to improve our riding efficiency in general. Here are five things we can do to boost cycling performance:
Recovery is a lot more than just putting your feet up and taking the weight off your aching legs. That's just as well really, seeing as most of us do not have the luxury of sprawling in front of whatever race is on TV after every ride. You can give your recovery a boost by taking on post-ride recovery shakes, like those from Torq, Science In Sport or High5 (below), which rehydrate the body, replenish any electrolytes lost during exercise and accelerate the process of rebuilding muscle mass.
You probably don't need to be told (again) that eating a balanced diet will improve your cycling, but it's true. Not only that, choosing what you eat and when can also make a difference. That is, front-loading your day with carbohydrates which will be converted to energy and gobbled up by your body during your ride, and eating the bulk of the day's protein late in the day to accelerate recovery. Quite simple really, and you will notice the results almost instantly.
At the most basic level, yoga is a practice for the body and mind which improves strength, flexibility and focus. It's great for cycling not least for the core and flexibility element, but also to focus the mind, a vital skill for our sport. The physical aspect is also considered valuable in injury prevention, and yoga has become a standard feature of training programmes across the cycling community.
How hard can breathing be, right? WorldTour team Trek-Segafredo have brought an ex-free diver on board to help the riders work specifically on their breathing to improve performance. Combining world record breaking technique with medical research and studies in yoga and physiotherapy, Dr Mike Maric has developed advanced coaching practices that have benefitted world class athletes across the whole sporting world. At the team's early season training camp, Maric took the riders through breathing exercises that included belly breathing, also referred to as diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing, which has shown to dramatically improve a rider's performance.
"I think breathing training can help manage the stressful situations, and also help with the performance and increase recovery. We now know that you can decrease the consummation of oxygen and then you have more oxygen for the muscles, and in this way, you can improve the power." Dr Mike Maric
For some world-beating Trek-Segafredo kit and equipment, check out these top-of-the-line racing bikes in team livery, and a team edition Bontrager aero helmet:
Whether you measure your output in watts or positive vibes, the smallest act of kindness towards your bike, your most reliable training partner, is sure to give you an extra boost. Your bike will thank you for giving it even a cursory clean, but there's even more you can do to give it a new breath of life without breaking the bank. Why not prep for classics season with a new lick of bar tape. After all, if you look good, you'll feel good, and if you feel good, you'll go faster.
Now that you're furnished with some great ways to keep your training going, even when you're not riding, you're ready to attack your 2018 goals with renewed vigour. Here's to a successful season!
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