Thinking of taking up cycling? Perhaps you want to take part in your first cycling event/race? We’ve created a handy training plan for cycling beginners that will help you get fit for any beginner cycling event in just 7 weeks. So, pick up your helmet and dust off your saddle; here’s our cycling programme for beginners.
The right equipment:
Before you even place your foot on a pedal you must first make sure you have the right equipment for beginner cycling training. The most important piece of cycling equipment you will own is your helmet. Cycling helmets save lives, especially when riding on the road. You can pick up a decent helmet for a pretty cheap price; aerodynamic helmets are also available for those willing to pay a bit more.
Bar a helmet, one of the other most important pieces of equipment you will need is a bike itself. If you already have one but want to make sure it is in tip-top condition and safe, we advise you get your bike serviced. Bike servicing is not particularly expensive and will highlight any issues you may not have known your bike has.
If you plan on riding at night you should definitely invest in some lights for your bike. Lights will not only help you see what’s in front of you but more importantly they will help you be seen to others. This is especially important if you are driving on the road next to cars. Bright reflective clothing is also a great way to make sure you are seen when riding at night.
Staying hydrated whilst cycling:
It is extremely important to stay hydrated whilst cycling*. If you do not keep yourself hydrated it will begin to have a negative effect on your body, including muscle cramps and dizziness. Your body needs water to regulate its body temperature and to make sure that your joints are lubricated. Water also is key in the transportation of nutrients; this is what gives your body energy.
You should make sure you rehydrate both before, during and after you go out on your bike. Not hydrating yourself properly will affect your performance on the bike and the way in which you recover. For further information around staying hydrated whilst cycling check out our cycling hydration tips article.
The Cycling Beginner Training Plan:
Once you have all the equipment you need you can hop on your bike and begin to follow our cycling training program.
Week 1 will be a gentle introduction to cycling. The aim of these initial weeks will be to get your heart rate up and introduce you to the idea of regular exercise. Doing this will encourage you to feel more comfortable on two wheels
Day 1 will be a rest day so there is no need to cycle on this day. Day 2 will be the day you start this beginner cycling program by getting out on a bike. You should go out and cycle for 30 minutes on a moderately flat route. The following day you should have a rest, then, post rest day, you should do the same route again for the same amount of time. Day 5 and 6 will be rest days; you should use these to allow your body to recover so you are ready for day 7. On day 7, it’s finally time for a 45-minute ride. This is the longest ride you will have been on yet, a fact which will most likely make itself very apparent in how your body feels.
Weeks 2-3 will increase the amount of time you are spending in the saddle. Day 1 will be a rest day again, so you won’t get out on your bike until day 2. Day 2 should be a 45-minute ride on a fairly flat route. Day 3 will be a rest day, and then day 4 will be a repeat of day 2. Days 5 and 6 will be rest days. Your most challenging day will be day 7, on this day you will have to do your first 60-minute ride. Make sure you do this ride on a flat route. Week 3 will be a repeat of week 2.
As usual, day 1 will be a rest day. On day 2 you should go for a 60-minute ride on a flat incline. This will be followed by a rest day and then a further 60-minute ride on the same route. For the last 20 minutes of the ride on day 4 you should try and cycle at a higher intensity. Days 5 and 6 will be rest days as usual. On day 7 you should go for a 90-minute cycle on a relatively flat route.
Once you have had your usual rest day on day 1, get ready for a 60-minute ride on day 2. During this ride you should exercise at a higher intensity for the last 20 minutes. Day 3 will be a rest day and day 4 will be a repeat of your ride on day 2. Days 5 and 6 will be rest days so you are prepared for day 7. Day 7 will be a 120-minute ride on flat terrain. Up until now, this will be the longest ride you’ve done. Good luck!
Weeks 6 and 7
After your 2-hour bike ride the previous week, you will need to make the most of your rest day on day 1 of week 6. On day 2 you should be riding for a total of 60 minutes increasing the intensity of your cycling for the last 20 minutes of your ride. Day 3 will be a rest day and day 4 will be another hour-long ride. This time though, you should try and ride on a route with a number of challenging hills instead of your normal flat route. Days 5 and 6 will be additional rest days. Day 7 will be a 2-hour ride on a mainly flat route.
Week 7 will be a repeat of what you have done in week 6. Once you have finished week 7 you will have completed our beginners cycling training guide – congratulations! Now you will be prepared to take on any beginner cycling race or event you have in your calendar.
* Water contributes to the maintenance of normal physical and cognitive function and normal regulation of body temperature.
At least 2L of water, from all sources, should be consumed per day, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle