I was asked by Cycling Plus magazine to provide four tips for ‘Small Changes equaling Big Results’ a topic which I throughly enjoyed contributing towards! But, in case you’re not a regular reader of the magazine I’ve added them below.
Video yourself! An odd one perhaps and it might (probably will!) require a friend to help. Once you have this though you can compare it against other riders to see how your technique compares. Don’t worry about ‘being pro’ but you’ll quickly notice simple things you can make changes to which will benefit you, and that you might not even have known about while riding. If you want to use them, there are great apps available including Coaches Eye and your phone is more than capable of doing this.
Relax your upper body! If you feel any tension in your upper body, from your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders or back (& so on!) then you could do with relaxing more. Finding this difficult? Then you might need to work on core strength and flexibility or even book yourself in for another bike fit. Yoga or pilates is fantastic to develop core strength and flexibility, while ironing out some imbalances which maybe causing some discomfort. Regular sports massage can loosen tight muscles which could also be contributing to flexing your upper body.
Simple, eat real food! The biggest gains can be had from simply eating food that hasn’t been processed (that doesn’t come in a package!). Go organic and local to ensure you have the highest density of nutrients in it and if you do fall off your diet plan, don’t beat yourself up. Stressing about ‘cheating’ will make you feel worse. Simply chalk it up and get back on the plan. Again, you don’t need to be ‘perfect’ but make small changes, the closer you get to perfection, the easier it (& the faster you!) becomes.
Progress but mix it up! It’s important to have similar sessions which you progress over the course of your training, but focusing solely on one component of fitness (for example boosting FTP), or missing others, might mean you simply get used to riding in one way. Find ways to measure your gains while enjoying the freedom of a variety of training. This will see you improve and enjoy it, most people crack mentally before physically when training for big events, this might prevent that.