Lone cycling on Andalusia cycling tour

New Year Revolutions

Pro coach, Dave Smith, talks about cycling goal setting for the New Year and how best to achieve them.

Pro coach on goal setting

It’s likely that by now your New Year Resolutions have faded.  Most of know by half way through the month they rarely work, and they rarely work for so many reasons that I’d rather just focus on how to make positive changes stick. So let’s ensure that your future bike tour is a pleasurable success rather than a painful challenge.


Firstly, get off the fence. Stop making vague resolutions that have no finish line. Such as:

I want to lose weight…

I want to exercise more…


How much weight? By when? And why?

Walking 10 meters extra each week would be exercising more. Is that what you were aiming for?

So, state a goal that has an end point both in terms of the crossing of the line and the target time. 


Think about where your planned tour will be and what kind of distances and terrains are involved. Are these challenges that you feel confident to tackle, or are there aspects of your health and fitness that you have the time and need to develop? It could be to resolve a low back pain issue before a trip to the long climbs of the Pyrenees, or address a weakness at riding in heat for a trip to Andalusia.

Two examples.

I will lose 8kg by May 1st – measure this. Weigh yourself at the same time every day, and take an average for the week. This means you are seeing actual progress rather than daily fluctuations that may be disheartening. 

I will ride 220 km every week this year leading up to my cycling holiday– Track your distances, structure your riding each week to ensure success, allow time on Sunday to catch up if the rest of your week was too busy.

A great way to achieve goals is to use the ‘if and then’ method.

You create a series of scenarios in which you control the response to that scenario.

If it is Monday at 6 pm, then I will go for a 4 mile run.

If someone offers me cake, then I will say ‘no thanks’.

If I feel hungry, then I will drink a glass of water before I try a snack.

If I see an escalator, then I will take the stairs.

If someone asks me what my New Years resolutions were, then I will laugh and say to enjoy the ride and destination – at speed and in good health.

Lastly, think about the terrain and daily challenges of your tour.  What are the goals you are trying to achieve there? It isn’t a race, it’s a cycling holiday, so it’s important you enjoy it, whilst overcoming any challenges you’ve set for yourself.  Take a look at some of the hardest days on the tour, and try to match some training to that sort of level.  If you can’t find a 15k climb (that’s why we go on these amazing trips!) Try VR like Zwift to simulate the efforts.  

Onwards and upwards.


Dave Smith is epico contributor. He’s a world class renowned fitness coach with background in Sports science and coaching sports to Olympic level, with experience working with cyclists, non-athletes, golfers, runners, F1 drivers, triathletes, even polo players of the horse-riding kind. Dave lives in Girona and loves to ride his gravel bike.