Time in the saddle key to training regime

time in the saddle is the best way to build up strength.Setting a goal is the first step to achieving anything in life. It keeps you focused and on a set pathway. It’s choosing which pathway is the best to take that can be tricky.

That’s certainly true of cycling. What should your training regime look like?

If you’re just getting back into cycling, simply getting out on your bike is a good way to get started. Even if it’s just a cruise around the block three times a week, the important thing is to roll out your driveway habitually.

Don’t worry about how far or how fast you’re going, just get out there on the path or road.

Once you’ve made a start, you’ve actually already set in place the key to a successful regime – time in the saddle.

Cycling is a great low impact sport, but it’s also something that’s not natural. Our legs carry us around all day, but our bottoms don’t usually have to spend extended periods sitting on a narrow seat. Neither do our arms and neck spend long in the same “unnatural” position.

Arms, neck and bottom will give out long before your legs do even when your bike is set up properly. That’s why time in the saddle is more important than setting speed or distance goals in the beginning. You have to get your body used to exercising in that position.

Many more experienced cyclists will ride with an eye on their bike computer trying to target a particular average speed. But speed is the hardest variable to control.

Conditions on the day you ride may not be favourable. Remember how hard it is riding on a gusty day or a very warm day? You might also be having a bad day. Everyone does.

Making the journey and getting to the end with a sense of achievement is the primary target. Start setting unrealistic goals for yourself and you start setting yourself up for disappointments.

As your body gets used to cycling and you start building up fitness, you can start setting yourself distance goals.

Some rides might take a bit longer than you planned because conditions are difficult. Time in the saddle will stand you in good stead here. You’re better prepared for the extra time it takes you to get home.

If conditions are good, your ride time may well be reduced. You’ll come home and feel pumped, fitter and ready to take on the world.

See you on the road soon, God willing. Eddie Barkla


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