I read this timely article this morning on Active.com. Fellow team member Heather K. has been promoting the exact same ideas to me, and I have been listening with maybe half an ear. While these concepts might seem obvious, it is amazing how often we do NOT follow them. We are sucked into our goals and our Strama (Strava drama!) and do not have a tendency to look to the long-term goals or the big picture of generally staying healthy.
“By keeping cycling fun, you’ll be less prone to burnout and will want to ride more often.”
“The vast majority of cyclists are not racers, and it is important for all cyclists to remember that cycling is a great way to promote good health, stay fit and have fun without torturing yourself with intervals.”
When you have gotten to the point where torturing yourself with intervals is interpreted as “fun” in your twisted little psyche (I’m speaking to myself here!), and it’s all you ever want to do, you know it’s time to take a step back on a more frequent basis!
I have included the tips from the Active.com article below, and then below each one in red, I have described how the Team Fun club promotes integration of these tips into our cycling workouts.
From the Active.com article: 9 Tips to Avoid Cycling Burnout (Full article)
TIPS TO FOLLOW
- Choose rides that offer appropriate terrain for your current level of fitness and ability.
The Team Fun weekend rides are offered at three ability levels: Advanced (sometimes containing significant elevation gain, but often flat to rolling); Intermediate (flat to rolling, with an occasion hill challenge); Beginner (flat to rolling, with hill challenges less frequent). If our weekend rides are still too challenging, join us for our once a month Friday Beginner’s Ride (next ride is November 8th – check out the meetup). One or more experienced riders are at your service during this short, easy 13-mile coastal ride to answer your questions on using your gears, body position, hill climbing, etc.
- Ride at a pace and effort that allows you to talk comfortably without gasping for air.
Generally only the Advanced ride will have you gasping for air – that’s the goal, to keep it below the “gasping” state, and even on the Advanced ride, we aim to mix up the pace along the route to have some chance for socializing and recovery.
- Ride with others who are close in fitness and ability as often as possible.
Again, check out our three riding group descriptions: see What We’re About
- Change your rides and explore your environment. Discover new neighborhoods, trails and bike paths to keep things fresh.
We change our routes weekly. One thing you can count on from Team Fun is the chance to explore new areas of North County. We love our coastal rides, but are up for the adventure of new routes as well! On one of our recent rides, I was asked if the street we were exploring was a common cycling route. I said, “Absolutely not, but it’s really cool, isn’t it?”
- Socialize as much as possible. Ride out to your local coffee shop or get a smoothie after a long workout. Enjoy good conversation with your riding partners and talk about something you have in common—like cycling!
Sometimes our weekend rides do in fact involve a coffee shop stop, and every week we end with social time at It’s a Grind. Many of us also try to get together on Fridays as our schedules allow for a “coffee ride”, for the sole purpose of taking the time to socialize. Sometimes I think I am starting to look forward to the Friday ride most of all!
- Don’t be afraid to ease up when you find yourself going too hard. Slow down until you get your breathing under control. Concentrate on exhaling slowly until you recover and can continue your ride at a lower heart rate.
This is a tough one to enact, and definitely one the group can’t do for you. It’s important to be paying close attention to your body’s signals. Sure, in order to grow as a cyclist, there are some “pains” you have to overcome (the pain of exertion!). Knowing when the “pain” is something to listen to versus something to ignore is a challenge all athletes face. On a group ride, it’s better never to push yourself too far past your comfort zone, so that you know you’ll be able to finish strong with the group. We will always designate regrouping spots, so don’t worry you’ll be completely left behind. We don’t do that. Many of us have nagging injuries we are dealing with, asthma, or other issues – ask your ride mates. They may just have some advice you can use.
- Remember to take in your surroundings and notice the hawk soaring overhead, the beautiful flowers by the side of the road or the spectacular views around you. It’s one of the few sports that allows you to stop and smell the roses.
And we live in arguably one of the most consistently beautiful places to cycle! I remember one time when I first moved to California, I was admonished by the women I was cycling with for going too fast that I missed the dolphins… Now, I’m not sure how many times you can really see dolphins when you ride the coast, but! …. I have seen gray whales, dolphins, sea lions (Oceanside Harbor), blue herons, and just the other day, an amazing egret just standing wide-legged, casual as can be, on the guard rail in Cardiff. One of my favorite places to ride is Rancho Santa Fe for the simple fact that I find it to be one of the most beautiful places to ride – the flowers, the massive agave, the homes! Then there’s the Mount Laguna area, Palomar Mountain, Julian! Does the list end?
- Find a rhythm that’s comfortable to you. Stay positive when you aren’t feeling well and slow down if you need to.
We hope you can find your comfort zone with one of our three groups. Also, don’t be afraid to switch groups on a ride, For example, if you chose to start with the Advanced group and find you are not enjoying the pace, feel free to drop back to the intermediate group. Let someone know your intentions, and we can advise you on the best place to wait for the next group to roll past. We design the routes with a good deal of overlap for this very reason.
- Every day is different. Just because you rode at 18 mph yesterday doesn’t mean you need to average that speed today. Heart rate monitors and odometers are fine to monitor workouts, but listening to your body is just as important.
We aim to keep our rides in the 50%-85% heart rate range, with a focus in the 70-75% zone. The Advanced Group may definitely see some pushes above 85% at times, but in general all groups are looking for a challenging, yet not too uncomfortable sustained pace. I am not sure how many of us use heart rate monitors – generally I go by my body’s signals. Give us your feedback after the ride, and let us know how you fared. We are always interested in improving the experience.
“Above all, keep it fun and you’ll look forward to tomorrow’s ride!”