Squeeze your cycling work-out into your busy work schedule

If you are a cyclist either with a race bike or mountain bike you know that a good workout takes at least 1.5 to 2 hours.  If you are preparing for your favorite Grand-Fondo, marathon or you want to prepare for that bicycle holiday that you are planning with your friends, then you know work outs up to 3 to 4 hours and more in the saddle are no exception.  Good preparation is key but not always easy to combine with private- and work life.  How are you going to keep up with your buddies that seem to have lots of time for that long-distance training?  People that are ambitious in their work life are often also doing well in organizing their hobbies, here you find 10 useful tips from my own experience to keep up with your fellow bikers.  

Good agreements make good friends
Be organized and efficient in your daily schedule
Extend your commute to or from work
The early bird catches the worm
Schedule & track your work-outs
The basics are made in the winter season
Alternative work-outs
Consult a professional trainer
Indoor training
Have fun!

1/ Good agreements make good friends 

If you live single it doesn’t matter but if you have a partner or maybe children it’s another story.  Make sure that your family members are aware of your objectives and know that this means you will be pushing the pedals for several hours per week.  In order to keep the family members happy regularly schedule activities together so they know that you care about them, this is important to keep a good balance and keep focused in your head.  I can assure you that a training while thinking about the discussions at home is not fun. 

A good work-out takes time and the labor need to be done.  You can check with your professional coach or trainer to prepare a training schedule according to your availabilities. Long distance trainings can be combined with shorter sprint work-outs or interval training that allow to maintain your basic level without too much time investment.  This can be useful to keep peace in your household.  

2/ Be organized and efficient in your daily schedule 

Being organized and efficient in your daily life schedule can make you gain a lot of time.  Order your food online instead of going to the supermarket.  Prepare a dinner schedule for the whole week so you don’t waste time to think and to run to the shop last minute.  Having some emergency ingredients in the freezer to prepare dinner is also good to save time when something unforeseen comes up.  If you have to go out for something you need in the house make sure to make a list, it prevents you from buying what you don’t need and returning to the shop because you forgot something you really needed.  All small things but if you add those up, time for work-out is easily found… 

3/ Extend your commute 

During my professional career I have always tried to commute to work at least 2 to 3 days per week.  It depended on the time I had available but for me a 30 to 45 minute commute to work gave me a very good feeling and advantage compared to my buddies that didn’t commute, I could easily keep up with the best group of our cycling friends.  As you are already in your outfit it’s easy to extend your training when driving home in the evening.  You keep fit, save on fuel and you gain time.  For me this is the tip with the most potential in order to beat my friend on the road.  I know a guy that is doing about 120km per day 5 days per week and more than 200 days per year, I wish you good luck to keep up with him… 

4/ The early bird catches the worm 

In summer time sun is up early, in weekends you can easily put volume in your training when leaving early without disturbing the normal activities besides the workout.  I used to ride with my club on Sunday mornings, we leave at 9am and ride till 12am, when preparing for a special goal I usually leave at 7am allowing me to warm up 2 hours and extend my training with minimum effort. 

5/ Schedule & track your workouts 

A good preparation is half of the work.  Schedule your work-outs well upfront and stick to the plan.  Share your plan with your family so they know when you will be hitting the road or single tracks.  I am in a period with other projects and priorities in my life at the moment and not riding the bike as often as I used to but I am always tracking my workouts, also my family can follow where I am for safety reasons (Strava).   

6/ The basics are made in the winter season 

When you put the bicycle in winter storage and you interrupt your work-out for some weeks your condition will decrease.  I am not speaking about a few weeks break after the busy season but stopping workouts for more than one month will result in the fact that you will have to put more time to build up your basic conditions for the new season.  I have experienced a big difference when continuing with low intensity winter work-outs, it allowed me to easily and without too much suffering, start the new season.  The difference during the first group rides is remarkable, in long uphill, or steep sprints you can easily see the difference between the group that didn’t do efforts in winter season.  

7/ Alternative work-outs  

Alternative work-outs are always an added value in your training plan, you change muscle groups and trigger your body in a different way.  The often take less time than a cycle work-out.  Running 5 – 10 km takes you between 30 and 60 minutes (maybe less when you are a good runner 😉), I don’t run a lot myself but cycle buddies that are running also are often with the best of the group.  High intensity training allows you to keep in good shape, builds up strength and can be done in work-outs that take less than one hour.  One year I combined Cross-Fit training with cycling and I must say it helped a lot as you are used to do very intensive trainings giving you the ability to quickly recover from that extra effort needed to escape from the group when riding the final. 

8/ Consult a professional trainer 

I am not a professional cyclist but in times I had ambitious objectives (I drove the ‘Les 3 Ballons’ and “La Marmotte” in the French Vosges and Alps several times with good result) it’s good to consult a professional trainer that will help you set your goals taking into account the training effort and time you are willing to invest in your work-out schedule.  Also, a professional trainer can give you tips how to train when having a busy work schedule.  It’s worth thinking about professional help if you want to take your results to the next level. 

9/ Indoor training 

I am not a big fan of indoor training; I have both the Tacx basic trainer with magnetic resistance and the free conic rollers.  In neither of both I am able to finish trainings longer than 45 minutes, it’s too long and to static, the pain in my butt is not tenable, while outdoor training I don’t have this issue.  I think of investing in some smart trainer and for sure it’s more fun (and less static) as you can virtually race against your buddies and ride your favorite tracks online without getting bored staring at the basement walls.  For sure a good method when you want to train on winter evenings and when you don’t like to train when it rains or when you simply want to profit some unexpected free time and finish that in-house work-out. 

10/ Have fun 

Most important that you have and keep fun during workouts, speaking for myself I had different cycling seasons in my life, years with 10.000 km and lots of fun and easy to motivate myself to hit the road, other years it was more complicated.  Everything starts with setting the right goals and what you want to accomplish.  If you don’t set your goals you will probably lose your motivation during the season.  Seasons where I set clear goals, I discussed them with my partner and made my intentions clear from the beginning, I usually had no problems hitting the targets without jeopardizing neither my personal and work life. 

Summary 

As you noticed in this blog, I am giving tips from my own experience.  At this moment I am taking out my bicycles 2-3 times per week with the objective to keep fit, I have not set specific goals, also because all events for the past and coming weeks/month have been canceled due to COVID-19.  Commuting to the office is not relevant because we all work from our home office.  The other advice to schedule your workout and agree with your family on the intentions of your training plan should help you to plan more efficient without having potential discussions that you are spending too much time on the 2-wheeler.  Getting up early and do the early workout shouldn’t be a big problem if you are an early bird but could be a challenge if like to stay up late at night.  You will have to be disciplined to keep to your schedule.  If you continued your workouts the past winter season you are ahead of your friends that didn’t do any activities, maybe you don’t have possibilities to train indoor and in that case it could be a good solution to look out and purchase a smart trainer to fill in those last-minute gaps that you might have during the week and use them profitable. 

I hope with these tips you have some guidance towards your training goals during your busy life.  If you have some comments don’t hesitate to post them here.  In the future you will find more blogpost related to my interests. 

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