CYCLING - Tips on Time Management

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You can't ignore the role of time management when training cycling. Here are some useful tips on time management.

Set goals

When you have the date of an important event circled on the calendar, you won't have difficulty motivating yourself to find riding opportunities. As the crucial day nears, you can justify arranging other parts of your life around cycling for a change. Afterward, reduce your cycling to recover, restore balance, and take care of things you ignored. Then, identify another goal to build toward. There's nothing like seeing progress to keep you interested in training.

Know your needs

Let's say your goal is the club century. You may assume that you need to be doing time-consuming 80-mile rides to train for it. In fact, most cyclists find that they can handle about three times the duration of their average training ride, as long as they maintain a sensible pace, keep eating and drinking, and take an occasional short break. So, if you find the time to average 35 miles every other day for several months, you should be capable of a 100-miler. For beginners who have a half-century or metric century as their goal, a 15- to 20-mile daily average is sufficient.

Ride early or late

With good planning, it may be possible to ride before or after your core work hours, however long they might be. Schedule weekday rides in your appointment calendar so that they become as important as any other responsibility.

Riding at dawn has several advantages. It sets the tone for a confident day. You'll feel good about having your workout safely behind you no matter what else happens. In summer, the air at daybreak is cooler and cleaner. There's usually less traffic and less wind, and you avoid the risk of afternoon thunderstorms. In winter, a bright, reliable lighting system makes it possible to be on the road despite late sunrises.

Riding in the evening is possible thanks to modern lighting systems. They expand cycling potential past sunset, ridding you of anxiety about getting home in time to squeeze in a ride before dark.

Ride at noon

Many companies now accept midday recreation by employees. Some even encourage it with flextime. When you're forced to fit your ride into an hour during the workday, you have the impetus to push yourself. The result should be lots of improvement for the time spent. Riding at lunchtime can work if you have suitable roads near your job (a park may be available if you work in a city), a way to clean up afterward, and a safe place to keep your bike.

Commute by bike

The oldest advice for creating training time is still the best: Ride your bike to your daily destination and back. Let's say you live 10 miles from your job. Driving that distance in stop-and-go rush-hour traffic takes 30 minutes. By using a 12-mile route that keeps you off the busy roads, you can ride there in about 50 minutes. So, you get 24 miles of round-trip cycling per day, and it takes only 40 minutes more than sitting behind the steering wheel, wondering how you'll find the time to squeeze in a ride.

Commuting miles aren't likely to be top quality, given the stop-and-go nature of riding in town, but you can improve them with some ingenuity. The simplest way is to find a longer route home and do some real training while you blow away the day's work stress. You'll get a decent workout and free your evening for other activities.

Ride for transportation

You want to do things with your spouse and kids on the weekends, but you also want to ride. Do both by pedaling to the lake while the rest of the family drives. If you depart early you'll all arrive at the same time, then you can enjoy the rest of the day knowing you got your miles. Throw the bike on the car rack and return with the family (unless you can talk them into letting you ride back, too).

Emphasize quality

Get maximum results from each minute on the bike by riding with a purpose. For example, if you're going with a group, practice your paceline skills. If you're solo, do low-gear sprints to work on your spin or climb hills to develop power. On a recovery ride, practice cornering, riding with no hands, or other skills that don't tax your cardiovascular system. You'll see how each day requires a different type of riding for maximum improvement.

Ride hills

Minute for minute, it's hard to beat the benefits of time spent climbing. Take it from three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond, who says, "There's no better training than riding hills. For me it was the easiest way to get in shape." It improves everything-strength, power, stamina, cardiovascular conditioning. As opposed to a flat 90-minute ride, one that includes a couple of thousand vertical feet will leave you feeling happily hammered, satisfied that you got a lot for your precious on-bike time.

Be organized

Keep your riding gear in the same place so that you don't waste time hunting for something while your cycling clock is ticking. Lay out your clothes and food, and mix your drinks the night before. After the ride, put your sweaty clothes in the washer while you're in the shower. When you're clean, they're clean, and you can hang them to dry for the next ride. Routine means efficiency.

We hope this article has helped you to understand better the importance of time management in cycle training.