Don't let common training pitfalls hold you back. Read our blog to uncover the secrets to unlocking your cycling potential.

At Njinga we always like to focus on the positives to help you on your journey to become your best, but sometimes we have to discuss the things not to do.

We all mess up occasionally but learning from mistakes is vital and here’s your chance to learn from the most common ones we’ve seen over the years.

Let's dive in and explore the solutions to these training pitfalls. 

Not Recovering Properly

Many cyclists overlook the importance of good rest and recovery, believing that more training equals better performance. However, failing to prioritise recovery can lead to overtraining, decreased performance, and potential injuries.

Solution: Strike the right balance between training and recovery. Schedule regular rest days and incorporate active recovery exercises into your routine. Fuel your body with proper nutrition, get enough quality sleep, and practise post-session cool-downs and stretching (See the Njinga Cycling Academy for stretching sessions, nutrition advice, meal plans and recipes)

Remember, recovery is when your body adapts and improves from the training you’ve been doing. 

No Goal, No Celebrations

Not having clear goals can leave you directionless and unmotivated in your training. Merely focusing on outcome goals, such as winning races or achieving personal bests, can lead to disappointment if those goals are not within your immediate control.

Solution: Set both outcome goals and smaller process goals. Process goals provide structure, measurable progress, and a sense of achievement. You should celebrate the smaller wins along the way. Ensure your goals excite you and are attainable to keep you motivated and focused.

Poor Nutrition

Training is hard work and can take a lot out of you, therefore it is essential to fuel well before, during and after a ride.

Not eating and drinking sensibly can hinder your cycling performance. Forgetting to eat and drink regularly during rides, neglecting post-session refuelling, consuming improper pre-ride meals, or avoiding essential carbohydrates can negatively impact your energy levels and recovery.

Solution: Fuel your body correctly throughout your training sessions. Prior to a ride, consume a balanced meal containing carbs, protein, and fat.

During longer rides, eat small and frequent carbohydrate-rich snacks, and stay hydrated.

After your ride, have a protein recovery smoothie within 30 minutes and a full meal within three hours. Proper nutrition supports performance, recovery, and adaptation to training. You can read our guide to nutrition here.  


Training to the Wrong Zones

Failing to train with accurate and up-to-date training zones can lead to stagnant performance improvements and frustration.

Without knowing your correct training zones, you may struggle to push hard during intervals or maintain sustainable output during training sessions.

Solution: Regularly update your training zones by completing a FTP Test or Ramp Test. This will help you to gauge your progress and establish new zones.

You should consider re-testing every 8-12 weeks or during significant changes in your fitness level or training goals. Adapting your training zones ensures you train optimally and avoid burnout. Remember, structured training with a specific focus is the key to improvement.


Build from the Core

Many cyclists focus solely on cycling and overlook the essential aspects of core strength and mobility. By neglecting these fundamental elements, they miss out on improved performance, stability, and injury prevention.

Solution: Incorporate core strength and mobility exercises into your training regime to enhance your cycling capabilities. These exercises engage your abdominal and back muscles, providing stability and power during your rides.

In addition to core strength, prioritise mobility exercises to improve flexibility and body positioning.

Yoga can enhance your mobility, allowing for more fluid movements while cycling. To make it even easier for you, we offer online yoga programmes specifically designed for cyclists.

Don't overlook the importance of core strength and mobility in your training. By dedicating time to these areas, you'll experience enhanced performance, better form, and reduced risk of injuries. 

You Stop Having Fun

In the pursuit of performance and training goals, many cyclists forget to prioritise the sheer joy and fun of riding. Cycling is not only about pushing limits and achieving milestones; it's also about experiencing the freedom, adventure, and pure delight of being on two wheels.

Solution: Remember to embrace the fun and enjoyment that cycling brings. It's important to find a balance between structured training and simply relishing the ride.

Take the time to explore new routes, discover scenic paths, or go on group rides with your mates. Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment, appreciating the beauty of nature and the exhilaration of pedalling.

You can even just have a little fun on the bike, hit a local hill and imagine you are riding through the crowds on Alpe D’Huez during the Tour de France. Experiment with different cycling techniques, practice skills like cornering or bike handling, or even try out fun cycling games with friends. These activities not only make your rides more enjoyable but also contribute to your overall growth as a cyclist. 

Remember, cycling is a continuous journey of improvement, and avoiding these training mistakes will help you reach new heights on the bike. Keep pedalling and enjoy the progress!

For more great tips and training support, check out our Njinga Cycling Academy our immersive online training platform. Think of Netflix for cyclists with expert, online coaching, anytime, anywhere. It's like having a personal cycling coach in your pocket.

Categories: : Train Smart

and access our FREE Stretching video series. 

Includes: dynamic PRE-ride, static POST-ride, and restorative DEEP stretching routines, ensuring you start to feel the benefits immediately.