How to improve cycling speed and endurance
Why would anyone want to improve their cycling speed and endurance?
Well by increasing your endurance and speed you will be able to get the motivation to power through and ride when you lack the motivation.
When you can go on long-distance rides or go really fast without exerting too much effort, riding becomes a fun activity that you look forward to.
What is a good cycling speed?
Most everyday riders can average a speed of about 15 miles an hour over an hour of riding. Beginners can typically get up to 10 miles an hour but with improving endurance and speed you could hit 15 miles an hour depending on your consistency in training.
If you train regularly you could get up to 22 miles an hour. Professional riders such as those that ride in the Olympics or the Tour de France can hit an average speed of 25 miles an hour.
How to improve your cycling speed
There are several ways to improve your average cycling speed but the ones used by the pros include:
- Bend and Tuck in Your Elbows
Wind resistance is the biggest challenge when riding a bike. As such the best way to reduce that resistance is to adopt a more aerodynamic position by lowering yourself closer to the bars. This position coupled with tucking in your elbows will produce a smaller profile thus reducing wind resistance.
- Listen to Some Music
Music is great for improving speed as it will lift your spirit. Fast-paced music is particularly good as research has shown that it can reduce effort levels.
- Ride in a Group
While you can enjoy some peace and quality time riding on your own, riding in a group can make you faster. Riding in a group not only provides motivation to keep up with the group but you can also benefit from slipstreaming just like the pros do it.
- Pump up Your Tires
Ensure that your bike tires are properly inflated which will reduce friction with the road helping you get better traction. Better inflated tires will not have too much of the tire on the road thus making you overall faster.
- Brake Less
Braking less means you will not waste too much energy. By not pressing the brakes unnecessarily, you can take advantage of the momentum you attain which can increase your speed over long distances.
- Ride in Intervals
- Wear Well Fitted Clothes
The clothes you wear matter a lot and hence it is critical to wear tight-fitting aerodynamic clothes and if you can afford it a speed suit. These clothes are usually made to keep you sweat-free and cool, unlike baggy clothes which increase drag.
How long does it take to improve cycling endurance?
You can generally improve your cycling endurance by training regularly for between 12 to 16 weeks. This type of training needs to involve steady low intensity but long rides which will strengthen your aerobic systems and make you fitter.
Unlike cycling speed, endurance training is about training the body to handle harder rides. By improving your fitness, you will be able to take advantage of energy reserves in the body to go long distances without getting too tired.
Endurance Training Tips to Increase Cycling Speed
- Ride the Drops
By riding in a more aerodynamic position with your hands on the handlebar drops, you reduce drag and can ride for longer distances without getting too tired. This means that you can train for longer thus building your endurance which will make you faster over the long term.
- Perform Interval Workouts
Interval training which includes intense bouts of physical effort followed by short recovery periods will boost your aerobic activity. Interval training can be anything from running short sprints or intense pedaling cycles followed by short recovery periods. By enhancing your aerobic activity you will be able to ride faster for longer.
- Make Use of Cycling Mantras
A study on self-talk on bike rides showed that cyclists that used positive self-talk rode for longer distances and faster as compared to those that did not. By using a range of motivational cycling mantras you will be able to ride longer distances.
- Drink and Eat Carbs for Energy
A study found that Fueling up before and during a ride gives you the mental and physical energy you need for the ride. By drinking or eating on the ride you provide the energy needed to power your muscles thus making it possible to cycle longer distances at faster speeds.
- Be Consistent
While it is normal to lose motivation every now and then, it is critical to remain consistent in training regularly to maintain your endurance. By being consistent in training you will keep the muscles in tip-top shape and improve every day which will lead to better endurance over time.
- Increase Leg Power
Perform a range of exercises such as squat jumps, lunges, calf raises, and one-legged pedaling exercises to make the muscles in your legs stronger.
Endurance Cycling Training Plan for Beginners
The best thing to do to develop cycling endurance as a beginner is to ease yourself in. The best plan of action is to cycle three days a week and culminating in longer rides during the weekends.
Under our training plan, we usually advise that you first find the best days for your cycling training. We have found that the best days for training are Sundays, Thursdays, and Tuesdays.
Depending on your circumstances or your levels of fitness you may cycle for longer or add in or subtract weeks to each stage, even though we advise that you stick to the plan below.
- The first two weeks are about learning the basics of cycling and hence we recommend 10-minute rides on Thursday and Tuesday and 20 minutes on Sunday
- On the third week, Up your ride time to 15 to 20 minutes on the first two weekdays and go for 30 minutes on Sunday.
- On the fourth week remove Tuesdays and cycle for 35 minutes on Sundays and 25 minutes on Wednesdays
- In the fifth week go back to three times every week and go for 30 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. On the weekend you can now do a 45-minute ride.
- In the sixth week go for 30 minutes on Tuesdays, 20 minutes on Thursdays, and do an hour’s riding during the weekend.
- In the final week add an extra day and ride for 45 minutes on Monday, an hour on Wednesday, a 2o minute ride on Friday, and a 10-mile ride on Sunday.