Commuting = training
Commuting = training
Most cyclists have a lot of pressures on their time: work, family and social life all inevitably get in the way of cycling.
Therefore, for a lot of riders, the daily commute to and from work will make up a significant time on the bike. A 30-minute commute each way adds up to a total of five hours riding through the week and this can be used as valuable training time – so it’s important to use it as wisely as possible.
I coach a lot of riders who use their daily commute as part of their training plan and with these athletes we’ve made the shift from viewing the daily commute as just a means for getting to and from work, to using it as a training session.
Let’s consider how to make the most of your commute to work, and five training sessions you can incorporate into your ride.
One of the best ways to make this shift is by being prepared. I often recommend to clients who commute by bike to, where possible, keep spare clothes at work. Many will ride into work on a Monday morning with all the clothes they need for the week. They can then leave the house in the morning on the other day knowing they are going out to train and that they have everything they need at work when they arrive. This obviously requires quite a bit of planning but it will prove really beneficial with your training.
Another important element to plan is your nutrition. Often during a busy day at work it is difficult to eat sufficiently to fuel your ride home. Therefore, I recommend keeping a stash of energy bars, fruit, nuts and the like at work. This way you can ensure you eat something one or two before you set off on your second training session of the day. This is particularly important if you have some kind of interval session on the way home. Don’t leave the office hungry!
Once your commute becomes a training session then you need to incorporate it into your training plan. I often give riders a recovery ride on a Monday following a weekend’s training and this makes it the perfect opportunity to take all your clothes for the week into work ready for when you are doing harder sessions later in the week.
Commuting to and from work obviously involves two rides in one day, so another thing to think about is what kit to ride in. For example, make sure you have reliable waterproof clothing if it’s raining in the morning. The last thing you want to do when preparing for your evening ride is to put on wet kit.
Now, this may sound very strange but something I used to do is to get into the shower at work fully kitted up (minus the shoes). I would then get undressed in the shower, giving my kit a thorough wash and rinse through as we were lucky enough to have a room where we could leave kit to dry. I would then take extra set of kit into work on a Monday to ride home in and so would always have dry and clean kit on hand at work if required.
That’s the planning out the way – but how can you make the most of your time on the bike? Here are five training sessions to use in order to maximise each ride. Try to mix it up as much as possible and don’t do the same session in both directions on the same day. Needless to say, make sure you stay safe on the road while commuting and training.