Starting With Consistency and Frequency
I can think back to when I started cycling. I was an active person and had done your basic running and gym programs. I also came from a sporting background, but no endurance-based sport. I started to meet some cyclists and triathlete's and liked the community and the attitude of the sports. I decided I wanted to be a part of it and to change to a healthier way of living.
If you are straight up off the couch and looking for a life change, or if you are starting from your basic fitness routine and looking to do something more competitive and challenging, here are some basic guidelines to consider.
If you are in an area that has a cycling club, this is a great way to meet some like-minded people. A group provides a social aspect, motivation, and a good learning curve as you surround yourself with peers.
I suggest having a target. Write out some goals that you'd like to achieve through this process. Some short term goals, some process goals and a long term goal. Having some targets to aim for will keep you focused on your new journey. I suggest picking a short, fun event or race that is about four to six months away. Choose something that excites you and matches your ability and commitment level.
Next, look at your week and assess how your life is structured? Include work, family, social life. Write it out and see where and when you are going to have time for your new passion.
If you are already active, I suggest aiming for one hour of training per day for five to six days per week. If you have enough time in your schedule to do this every week for four months, you'll be on the right track for your first short distance event. If you have some extra time on the weekends to allow for building up duration, that is good.
You need to go at a pace that matches your existing ability and consistently for a while before you go fast. Training is cumulative. So each day, each week and each month stack on top of each other. And the key to a successful progression is consistency. Aiming for a pace you know you can continue for months is key. The most common error is trying to go too fast before you’re ready and then having to take breaks due to injury, illness or fatigue.
The two most important things to focus on are consistency and frequency of workouts. Then once you can do that, you start to increase the duration and work rate (i.e. intensity).
This is an endurance event even at the shortest distance. I've found over the years the best way to build endurance is through focusing on these two basics: Consistency and Frequency. The fewer zeros you have in your year, the faster will be your improvement. That's what's going to make the most change and the best progression.
Enjoy the new challenge. It's a great way of life.