New Year’s resolutions to make you a better rider and how to stick to them!
As we start the New Year, everyone is thinking about what they want to achieve in the year ahead. If you're an avid cyclist this almost definitely applies to your fitness goals. Whether you're wanting to improve your fitness, beat your personal best or just to get out on the bike more, the New Year is the perfect time to really pin down what it is you want to be proud of this time next year and how you're going to do it.
Why should you set yourself a New Year’s resolution?
Goals are really important if you want to keep improving. Without direction, it's sometimes hard to find the motivation to get out on your bike. Set yourself a big goal now and then break it down into smaller bite-sized chunks. It's far more manageable that way and will ensure that you keep moving forward rather than going stagnant. But how do you choose a goal to start with?
How do you choose a New Year’s resolution?
Well, the first thing to do is look at where you are at now. What did you do last year? Which bits of it were successful? Which parts could be improved? If you examine where you are coming from, it will be far easier to work out where you're going. If you tried something last year that didn't go as well as planned, why not revisit it but with better training and planning?
Maybe you didn’t finish where you were expecting to finish in a sportive last summer? If there is something you were successful at but also really enjoyed, then it might be a good idea to do something similar but push it to the next level. For example, if you tried taking on a 100km race, maybe it’s time to aim for a 200km race!
New Year's cycling resolution ideas
Deciding to take part in a big cycling event is always a good place to start. These work really well as goals because you have a date to put in your calendar that you can work backwards from. There will also be communities you can join to help you along the way, either in person or online. It's always easier to stick to a goal if you've got friends and family holding you accountable!
Consider taking a fitness test to work out where you are now and what is a reasonable goal for yourself. One idea could be to measure your functional threshold power if you haven’t already.
What is FTP and can it improve your riding?
Once a mainstay of the professional peloton, the functional threshold power test can now be undertaken by any serious or semi-serious cyclist. Working out your FTP can be a hard slog, but can be a great platform to monitor your progress throughout the year with. There’s a reason pro cyclists and trainers have been using it for so long!
How to measure your FTP
For those who may not have already taken it, FTP is the average number of watts that you can withstand in an hour. You can calculate your FTP either on the road or indoors by:
- Giving yourself a 10-minute warm-up to loosen up beforehand
- Go like the clappers and ride as hard as you possibly can for 20-minutes!
- You’ll need to work out your average power output after this by measuring your data with a power meter
- Multiply this average power by 0.95 et voilà! The figure given is your FTP
How to stick to your New Year’s cycling resolutions
Once you've set your goal, it's time to break it down into smaller steps. Set yourself a deadline, or use the deadline of the event you are preparing for. Then divide your goal up based on that period. For example, if you want to be able to cycle for 20 minutes longer over a period of 4 months, you'll need to improve by 5 minutes every month.
Now your goals are set it's time to make sure you stick to them. There are lots of methods you can use to help you out!
1) Write them down
We recommend writing out your goal and sticking it up somewhere that you'll see it every day. Then, when you see it, you'll be reminded of it and consider how you can take steps towards it in your day.
2) Keep on top of your goals
Set reminders on your phone so you don't forget to go for your training that day or do whatever it is you've got planned.
3) Share with other cyclists
As we mentioned before, joining a community or group is a great way to stay accountable. If you don't have any of these nearby, find a buddy you can partner up with. Ideally, you'll be working towards the same goal. Then you can link up with tips, encouragement and keep each other company when you're working out. Even if they have a completely different aim, you can still check in with each other to make sure you both stay on track.
4) Maintain your gear properly
Make sure your bike and gear are in good condition. This is a perfect time to get up to date and ensure you're not being held back by your gear. Having good quality equipment that's in good nick can make a huge difference to your times, fitness and enjoyment.
5) Reward yourself
If you achieve your incremental goals, treat yourself. It might be to a day off or maybe a new jersey or cycle shoes! Why not, you’ve earned it.
Hopefully these tips will see you through what we hope is a wonderful year for cycling for you personally.