The fireworks and champagne of New Year’s eve are not far away, and the change of year signifies a time to set new goals for the coming 12 months.
With the brandy shoved to the back of the cupboard, now is the time to decide what you want to achieve on two wheels in 2019, and we’ve got a few ideas for you to consider…
1. Max out your mileage
Cyclists have always kept a record of their mileage throughout the year, but thanks to Strava it is now easier than ever to keep a track of your progress towards a yearly goal.
Take a look at how far you managed to ride in 2018, then add a little bit on, with the little bar on the left-hand side of the home page telling you how far ahead or behind of the goal you are at any point in the year.
2. Do a big event
Of course when it’s dark, cold, and raining in mid-February, it can be hard to find the motivation to get out drag yourself out of the front door, which is why giving yourself the goal of a big event in the summer to work towards should be one of your top resolutions for 2019.
If you’re in search of a real adventure, then overseas events such as the Etape du Tour and Maratona dles Dolomites offer the prospect of warm weather and big mountains to test yourself against, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of events closer to home which will offer a real challenge.
3. Get serious with your training
Even if you decide to set a mileage goal for a year, it’s important to remember that what you do with your time on the bike is more important to getting fitter and faster than how many miles you can cram in.
If you want to make better use of your time and improve your fitness in double-quick time then now is the perfect time to draw up a training plan which will keep you honest with your riding through 2019. And the good news is that we have plenty of training plans for you to chose from to help you get started.
4. Try something new
Another way to keep your motivation high throughout the year is to try new things on two wheels, instead of just getting in the big miles on the weekly club run.
If you want to keep things fresh then why not try a bit of cyclocross, which might traditionally be raced as a winter sport, but is a right blast whenever you choose to take to the bridleways. If that whets your appetite for a bit more mud, then you could even try your hand at a bit of – whisper it – mountain biking.
5. Keep your bike clean
An unfortunate side effect of going off-road is that your bike is going to need to be cleaned more often, but rather than see this as a chore we think you should see it as an opportunity to get into a regular cleaning and maintenance routine in 2019.
It might seem like a faff at first, but if you get into the habit of giving your bike a once over after each ride then you’ll have a smoother running machine and have to spend less money on replacement parts in the long term. And what’s more, it doesn’t have to be a big task if you follow our advice on cleaning your bike in just seven minutes.
6. Nail your nutrition
If you’ve managed to get your training sorted, the next step is to get your nutrition into order, something that could make a real difference if your riding has previously been used as a convenient excuse for extra slices of cake and a double helping of dinner.
Instead of fuelling up for the club run with Coco Pops, make the effort to get up 15 minutes earlier to make a bowl of porridge, and instead of reaching for the biscuits when you’re starving when you get home, have a high protein recovery drink to hand to repair your muscles and get them ready to fire again the next day.
7. Make the most of your commute
After having free time over the festive period, January 2nd sees the grim reality bite as that annoying little thing called a “full time job” gets in the way of your training once again.
If you’re going to hit those 2019 goals then cycling to work is a great way to get regular workouts during the week. Any riding is better than no riding, but if you really want to see your commutes have an impact on your fitness then you need to do some more high intensity work, such as sprinting away from traffic lights, or finding a route with less traffic for some longer efforts.
8. Go bigger than ever
Nothing beats that feeling of crashing down on the sofa after stumbling through the door at the end of a long ride, so why not make 2019 the year that you take that feeling to new levels.
Whether your longest ride to date is 100km or 100 miles, this is the year to aim to ride further in a single day that you have ever managed before. Build your mileage up throughout the year to hit that big goal, then pick a nice route on a sunny day to make for a long ride to remember.
9. Do a bit of racing
Taking that first step into racing can be a nerve-wracking experience, but we guarantee that you won’t regret it and will soon be a dab-hand at pinning on a number in a village hall car park at some god-forsaken hour in the morning.
Whether you want to get into road racing, time trialling, track racing, or hill climbing, don’t think that you need to be super-fit to make the leap into competitive cycling. Even the best riders were complete beginners once and there will always be people willing to offer a helping hand.
10. Spend less time riding your bike
For a final new year’s resolution which might go down rather well with your nearest and dearest, how about spending a little less time riding your bike and reassess your cycling/life balance in 2019.
By ditching the “junk miles” and replacing them with shorter, more high quality training you can get even faster over the next 12 months while also managing to spend more time with your family and friends. Something which, hopefully, isn’t such a bad thing.