Although my job is to ride a bike, and I do spend a large majority of my training literally turning the pedals over, I do also fill my week and supplement my training with other activities.
Here’s my off the bike tips to support your riding
It’s a bit of a buzz word at the moment for a good reason. When I am on tour, my sleeping and waking hours are drastically altered due to travel times, race starts, different dinner schedules – so when I am home I aim roughly (important note: NOT dogmatically) to sleep around 8 hours at a time, and if I really find myself in a deficit then I…..
For all the recovery protocols out there, one thing you can do if you feel tired is…nap – sometimes at 15-20minute nap or even lying down with the intention to nap is a good reset and can help me find balance again.WALK
There is a stereotype that cyclists hate walking, or should be adverse to it at least. I beg to differ. Walking is calming, efficient, natural and the low-intensity impact can only be a benefit for a person whose main form of exercise is virtually no impact. We are encouraged by our team osteopath to go for a 15 minute walk after treatment or massage, or after a long travel day.
Some sort of mobility practice I find, really helps offset the somewhat unnatural position on the bike.
Sometimes it can be hard to muster to the motivation to do more physical ‘work’ when you are already pretty exhausted from the bike. I personally subscribe to a yoga series on YouTube, and fit in 20 minute sessions when I find a bit of breathing space or I feel like I need to undo all the knots from hard racing.
Otherwise going to yoga class once a week is enough to benefit and keep you accountable. If yoga isn’t your jam, pilates, a gym class and especially swimming (I knew a few pros who swear by swimming) are excellent options.
For the more adventurous, there is rock climbing, dancing around the house, dancing at a wedding, it’s all good forms of alternative movement and are sure to gently engage some of the neglected muscles and unblock some tension.
If you find you need a bit more structure and discipline to stick to a strength and/or mobility routine, you can bite the bullet and employ a personal trainer, sign up to an online program or make a pact with a friend to meet up once or twice a week (even via Zoom). During lockdown, a bunch of cycling friends and I met up each night for 10-15 mins via FaceTime for ‘Planking Social Club’. It was fun to chat and plank together, as well as a few other basic core movements which we changed monthly. Lockdown is long over, but we often still meetup, and the core strength benefits have not gone unnoticed.
A few other small things that add up that help me feel more recovered is foam rolling, alternative hot/cold showers (even just sometimes on my legs) jumping into the ocean or rock pools after a hard training session, lying on the ground with a towel between my spine, putting my legs up the wall while I read/work on my computer.
I encourage all FulGaz users and avid bike riders to step off the saddle and give their body a bit of a break with some gentle strength alternative movement. Provided you don’t whip out a marathon or try to hit a bench press PB, you will feel more balanced and strong on the bicycle, prevent injury and support your training more than you imagined!