A holistic approach for the older and more experienced cyclist considers the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of cycling. It is not just about training harder or longer but also about training smarter and more enjoyably.
Here are five tips to follow a holistic approach for cycling:
Set realistic and meaningful goals that reflect personal motivation, riding history, current fitness, and available time. Goals can be specific, such as completing a certain distance or event, or more general, such as improving your health or happiness. Having a goal will help you plan your training and measure your progress.
Get a bike fit that suits your current body shape and flexibility. A good bike fit reduces discomfort, prevents injuries, and improves power and speed. You may need to adjust your bike fit as your body changes with age.
Vary your training by time of year and intensity... don't just do more miles every month. For example, in the early season, you can focus on regaining some cycling fitness by riding mostly easy to moderate rides with some short bursts of intensity. In the mid-season, you can increase the duration and intensity of your rides to prepare for your goal event or challenge. In the late season, you can reduce the volume and intensity of your rides to recover and enjoy riding for fun.
Train your recovery as well as your performance. Recovery is when you actually get faster... your body repairs itself and adapts to the stress of training. Recovery is trainable, meaning the more you train, the better you recover. However, recovery also depends on other factors, such as nutrition, sleep, hydration, stretching, massage, and stress management. You should pay attention to these factors and optimize them for your recovery.
Listen to your body and your perception. As you age, you may experience more soreness and fatigue after a hard ride, even if your performance does not decline. This is normal and does not mean you are overtraining or losing fitness. However, you should listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly. If you feel tired or sore, take an extra rest day or go for a "no-sweat" ride or another form of active recovery. If you feel fresh and energetic, do a hard (short) or long (easy to moderate) ride. Your perception is also important, as it affects your motivation and enjoyment of cycling. Try to focus on the positive aspects of cycling, such as the scenery, the camaraderie, the challenge, and the satisfaction.
A holistic approach for the older and more experienced cyclist considers the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of cycling. It involves setting realistic and meaningful goals, getting a bike fit, varying the training by time of year and intensity, training the recovery and the performance, and listening to the body and the perception.
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