It's a complicated season for cycling, but the pros are still smashing the summer of 2020...
Feeling unmotivated? You're not alone! It has been a difficult summer for cycle racing, fraught with uncertainty, unpredictability, and cancelled races - We caught up with the team riders from Ribble Weldtite to find out how the pros have adjusted their training and mindsets to adapt to the disruption in the 2020 race season....
Ribble Weldtite: Who are they?
Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling are a British based UCI Continental Team. The team is an 18 rider squad comprised of some of the best riders in the UK, including multiple British, and European Champions. With their 3 main race goals for this season, The Tour de Yorkshire, Tour of Britain and National Time Trial Championships all cancelled, morale could have easily taken a nose-dive. Instead however, they have used the time to focus on their weaknesses and develop their strengths. Jack Rees, the Head of Cycling at Ribble, shares the teams top tips for staying motivated:
1. Focus on the the things you have the power to control
With the race calendar decimated for the foreseeable future, it’s time to press pause on the long term goals and refocus on the smaller, more attainable goals! Think about better average speed on a given loop, targeting a Strava segment or exploring new roads. We’ve dialed back on the high intensity training with more of a focus on general endurance and cycling specific strength.Try not to get bogged down in the uncertainty of the future and focus more on the now.
2. plan an adventure
Without the pressure of racing, it can be hard to stay motivated but for us, it’s been all about finding the positives. While trying to keep training as normal as possible, we’ve also been spending time doing things we wouldn’t normally be able to do during a normal race season. It’s been great for the team to have a bit more breathing room to be able to plan some longer rides, go on some cycle adventures and get some new routes ticked off - now is the perfect time to get some exploring done while staying on top of the bike fitness!
3. focus on staying healthy
Our primary focus has shifted to staying fit, healthy and strong rather the just ‘race ready’. This has kept motivation levels high for us, even without the certainty of racing. The positives are that it keeps us focused, and we can rest easy in the knowledge that we will be able to transition into race fitness easily. Just because there aren't any races to prepare for, health and nutrition is as important as ever, so you can be on your best form yet when you finally get back to it!
4. Double down with virtual sessions
If you are wanting to keep the motivation levels high, add some virtual sessions into the mix to shake things up! We often use Zwift as part of a double training day - One session is quite easy (aerobic Z1/2) and the other is high intensity (a Zwift race or high intensity interval session). We’ve used virtual racing and training to complement the bulk of the training we do on the road. Virtual rides and races are also a great way to tap back into the social element of riding that we’ve all missed!
5. adapt your training approach
Instead of taking a competition-based approach, we’ve taken a day-by-day approach this summer. Initially we took a break from riding, reverted to the base phase of training and built up again. It’s been easier now that we are able to ride in smaller groups and the emphasis has shifted to the time trial discipline, which the team has some real strength in. Adapting to a shorter-term approach and mindset has helped us remain positive and focus on the details that we may have overlooked in a normal busy race season.
6. plan for the future
While we have been primarily focused on short term goals, this break from racing has also been an excellent way to make hard preparations for the future. For us, this summer has been an excellent “enabler” for testing our riders training limits and the fitness level they can achieve without racing. This will likely have a major impact on our preparation for future years and the structure of the overall training cycle.
7. remember the 'why'
During the height of lockdown, the most challenging aspect for all cyclists has been missing the social element of riding and the thrill of racing. Without these distractions, this summer has been a great opportunity to remember the other reasons we love to cycle. Whether it is the opportunity to think, escape every-day stress or get outside, we all have our motivations – use this time to reconnect with yours!
This summer while unpredictable, has presented a unique training opportunity for cyclists. A summer of intense training, strategizing and preparation should lead to a phenomenal season next year. So dig deep, stay motivated and bring on the summer of 2021!