by Nadezhda Pavlova
by Nadezhda Pavlova
In these strange times of pandemic induced isolation, the only riding that we can do is either indoors or alone. Nadezhda puts a positive slant on riding alone here, with an intelligent analysis of its benefits.
We didn’t choose these times, but it is all we have, so we have to look at the positive aspects for our training. Riding alone can help us in our training plans and gives us time to focus too. Here’s a few positive aspects that I have found to riding alone.
Solo training allows you to focus on yourself and builds your mental toughness. You have your objective and it is solely up to you to complete. It comes down to you, your bike and the ride. With no other cyclist to use for motivation and chase down or ride away from, you find your own personal motivations. Done successfully, you will not only make yourself physically stronger, but now you are mentally stronger.
You will during the ride, have to challenge yourself, to fight those thoughts of pain and tiredness.It will help you to develop strategies for doing this and ultimately make you a better rider. Try picking out places ahead of you on the ride, and setting them as goals as you ride. This way you are always achieving during the ride.
Your plan is unique to you. Whether you are working directly with a coach, using a training plan, or have set out your own plan, that plan is designed to get you where you need to be. It is based on your time constraints, strengths, weaknesses and racing goals.
Focusing on your individual plan provides several key benefits. First, even if your teammate or riding partner is on the same schedule for the day, most likely your target numbers for efforts, or even your recovery between them, are different. You do what you are supposed to do and they do what they are supposed to do, it’s that simple.
Next, we all have a competitive side. Training with others can tempt you to compete against each other, forcing you to go above and beyond what you are supposed to be doing. It can also have the opposite effect if you have to tone down your workout for your partner. Riding solo keeps you in check and allows you to focus on your form too. You are able to pay more attention to your position on the bike, pedaling technique, etc. You can plan in a specific element of your training, revisit something, or simply use the ride to try a new bike setup. Often when riding with others, we are unconsciously trying to balance our own needs with those of our riding partner. Riding solo allows us the necessary time to be selfish and to concetrate on our own training requirements.
From a purely selfish standpoint, a big benefit to riding solo is that you only have to answer to yourself. There is no meeting time, other schedules to accommodate or having to wait for those that are late. You are not dependent on those around you to dictate the pace or effort. You get to choose the route. You get to ride as fast or slow as you want, and you get to rest when you want to and push it when you want to go for that burn.
If you feel good you can extend it, or if the legs are shutting down you can simply soft pedal back home. Why do you prefer to ride solo?