As a newbie cyclist, you may find yourself hitting a plateau fairly quickly. You know that you can go faster, but your body won’t let you. Your strength and stamina simply aren’t developed enough to keep going at peak capacity for very long. So how do you break through that plateau and continue to see improvements in your cycling performance? The good news is that it doesn’t take much to see an increase in your speed and endurance as a cyclist; you just need the right training methods. Whether you’re brand new to cycling or have been hammering away on the same hill for months, these tips will help you improve your speed and endurance as a cyclist so that you can climb faster, sprint faster, and go farther before tuckering out.
Get Good Cycling Shoes
So what if you have the best bike in the world? If you have the wrong shoes, it won’t matter. A proper pair of cycling shoes will protect your feet, reduce the risk of injury, and increase your power transfer by giving your legs more “spring” so that every pedal stroke is more effective. Not only will a good pair of shoes help you cycle more efficiently, but they’ll also keep you from getting blisters so that you can ride longer and harder than ever before. Beyond the basic structure of the cycling shoe, there are a few other things to keep in mind when shopping for a new pair of cycling shoes. First, make sure that you choose a pair of cycling shoes that matches your cleat type. Most cycling shoes are either SPD or SPD-SL. These shoes have small cleats that press into the soles of your cycling shoes and make it easy to clip in and out of the pedals while cycling. Second, make sure that you choose a pair of cycling shoes that’s the right size for your feet. Cycling shoes are available in widths ranging from “Extra Narrow” to “Wide” so that you can find a pair that fits your feet comfortably. Third, make sure that the cycling shoes fit your budget. Cycling shoes range in price from $50 to $450 depending on the manufacturer and the quality of the materials.
Increase Shifting Speed
Shifting is one of the most important parts of cycling, but it’s also one of the most overlooked. You have to shift properly during your ride to keep your bike running smoothly and to avoid getting stuck in a gear that’s too high or too low for the terrain. One way to improve the speed of your shifting is to practice with a shifting trainer that gives you a false gear to shift between. This approach helps you get in the habit of properly timing each shift so that you don’t have to think about it while you’re out on the road. In addition to timing each shift, you want to make sure that you’re also shifting under enough resistance. When you first start out, you might want to use a resistance setting that’s around 10%. As you get stronger, you can increase the resistance to simulate the added force you’ll feel when you’re shifting while cycling outdoors.
Add Weight Training To Your Routine
Cycling is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that helps you build strength, endurance, and speed. But what if you could ramp up those results by adding weight training to your routine? Adding a few key weight training exercises to your routine can help you build strength in your legs, core, arms, and shoulders so that you can climb hills more quickly and sprint more effectively. You have a few different options when it comes to which exercises you want to include in your weight training routine. You can choose exercises that target certain muscles in your legs and core, such as squats and planks. You can also choose exercises that work several different muscles at once, such as a weighted push-up. You can also choose exercises that work your upper body as well as your lower body, such as a weighted lunge. You can even choose exercises that involve both your upper body and lower body at the same time, such as a weighted squat and dip combo.
By The Way, You’re Probably Breathing Wrong
How often do you take a moment to breathe? Cycling is a pretty high-intensity sport that can make it hard to catch your breath. If you want to improve your oxygen intake while cycling, you want to make sure that you’re breathing correctly. Participating in yoga, meditation, or even a few controlled breathing exercises each day can help you improve your breathing so that you can fuel your muscles more effectively as you ride. To properly breathe while cycling: Take a deep inhale through your nose as you start cycling. Hold that breath for 2-3 seconds. Let out a deep exhale through your mouth. Inhale through your nose again. Repeat. When you’re breathing correctly while cycling, you not only increase your oxygen intake, but you also help calm your mind and relax your muscles so that you can ride more efficiently. You also reduce the risk of passing out or blacking out because you’re able to fuel your muscles for longer periods of time.
Build Core Strength and Endurance
A strong core helps you transfer energy from your legs to your upper body, which makes it easier to climb hills and sprint. It also helps you avoid certain injuries by supporting your lower back and keeping your torso as stable as possible. So how do you build core strength and endurance? Try working abdominal exercises such as planks and crunches into your regular workout routine. You can also try adding core-strengthening exercises such as back extensions and wheelbarrow walks into your routine as well. If you’re just getting started with core-strengthening exercises, you want to make sure that you start slowly. Build your endurance up slowly so that you don’t hurt yourself by pushing too hard, too soon. And remember, core strength isn’t something that you just build up and forget about. You have to continuously work to maintain your core strength and endurance so that you can keep getting stronger and avoid injuries as you cycle.
Try Interval Runs
Interval training is a great way to increase both your endurance and your speed. You start with a warm-up that gets your heart rate up and prepares your body for more intense exercise. Then, you move on to the main part of your interval run, which can be any type of exercise (cycling, running, swimming, etc.). You finish with a cooldown to help your body recover from the interval run. By incorporating interval training into your weekly routine, you can see improvements in your speed and endurance in a shorter amount of time. If you’ve never done interval training before, you have a few different options for what type of interval run to try. You can choose to do all-out sprints followed by long periods of rest. You can also choose to do a combination of sprints and longer runs at a moderate pace. The best way to find out which type of interval run works best for you is to try a few different ones and see what feels the best.
Don’t Forget About Tempo Runs
A tempo run is another great way to improve both your speed and endurance. It’s similar to a steady-state run in that you’re running at a moderate pace for a certain amount of time. The main difference between the two is that a tempo run is slightly faster than a steady-state run, so it’s more challenging. You have to be careful with a tempo run because it’s easy to overdo it if you’re not careful. A good way to approach a tempo run is to start with a slow jog for about five minutes to warm up. Then, increase your speed until you’re running somewhere between 75% and 90% of your maximum speed. Finally, slow down and cool down for about five minutes to finish the run. If you’re new to tempo runs, you may want to start with a short 10-minute run at an increased pace. As you get more comfortable with the concept, you can increase the length of your tempo run, increase the length of your warm-up and cooldown, and/or increase the speed of your tempo run.
Cycling can be one of the most