While setting long-term and short-term fitness goals is critical to ensure great outcomes and results, setting specific goals for each mode of exercise is also important. This week eight cycling goals will be featured which are very specific to cycling; however, the concept of setting specific weekly goals for all exercise modes is an excellent method of progressively overloading the body, which is how the body’s physical performance continually improves. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
8-Week Cycling Goals
Week 1: Concentrate on sustaining your cadence during the steady state segment of your rides this week. Consequently, if the set cadence range for the steady state climbing segment of the ride is 70-80 rotations per minute (RPM), then choose a number within that range and sustain it consistently.
Week 2: Raise your heart rate one to two beats on every skill you perform. Therefore, if your heart rate during the Zone Three portion of a steady state load up is usually 140bpm, consider increasing it by one to two beats either by adding greater resistance or increasing your cadence. During HIIT, you are going to become winded, so tracking the heart rate during an all-out hill sprint is generally not the goal. It is to become breathless during the exertional phase and actively recover during the recovery phase.
Week 3: Increase your rpm’s on each skill. If your RPMs are generally 85 on a flat road, attempt to increase your speed to 87-89 and see how consistently you are able to maintain this cadence on tempo flats or speed endurance with load up drills.
Week 4: Increase the total distance covered for the week. For example, if you are fortunate enough to ride on an indoor group cycle that has a Pilot or a similar device which displays and calculates cadence and distance covered, then you will be able to track your distance. Increase your distance covered during each ride this week by one-two miles.
Week 5: Refine your pedaling mechanics by smoothing out your revolutions, linking each pedal stroke with no dead spots between each stroke and thinking “no beginning, no ending” throughout.
Week 6: Increase sustainable aerobic power during that segment of the ride, remaining in high Zone Four for one-three minutes longer than previously achieved. This will require keeping the load high and the cadence consistent.
Week 7: Recover more efficiently by controlling your breath following HIIT exertions. Pull the oxygen in through the nose and push carbon dioxide out of the mouth, quieting the breath until you are recovered and ready to perform another exertion interval. The quicker you recover, the harder you can push during the exertion phase.
Week 8: Control your postural alignment more effectively throughout each skill and drill during the ride. One of the most common postural issues during a ride is that the scapula begin to elevate, bringing the shoulders toward the ears. This throws off the spinal alignment and hence the body’s ability to perform optimally. Begin to notice every time you feel this postural issue occurring and keep track of how often you must remind yourself (or the trainer is reminding you) during the ride to relax the upper body. Then, attempt to lessen the frequency of this postural issue occurrence.
Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at www.mtnlifefitness.com, her email at email@example.com and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.