As a cyclist, your ultimate aim is to ride at the fastest speed for the longest time possible. However, as soon as you hit the road, you realize that your body does not allow you to cycle for long or your bike is not moving at your desired pace.
In every cyclist competition, the stakes are high and other professional cyclists seem to be flying away.
You may be wondering what exactly goes into cycling for long and attaining the maximum speed. Speed and endurance are two different aspects yet they are attached to each other.
Without endurance, you may not attain the high speed you need. Similarly, high-speed cycling is the cause of tiredness and fatigue.
If you want to increase your cycling speed and endurance, you have to handle each of these aspects independently while at the same time paying attention to their relationship.
There are two main factors that play a role when it comes to increasing cycling speed and endurance.physical fitness, and cycling techniques.
We will be focusing on these two factors and breaking them down further to help you understand what you can do to increase your cycling speed and endurance.
You should also note that the state of your bike matters. As you will see later, there are some few changes that you can make to your bike to help increase your speed.
However, the most important aspects entail physical fitness and cycling techniques.
Every aspect of your physical fitness affects your endurance and as a result your cycling speed. Without being physically fit, your body gets fatigued easily prompting you to slow down your peddling. There are many ways you can improve your physicality.
Diet plays an important role in the life of a cyclist. You need to adopt a healthy diet that supports your energy supply. In other words, your diet must be well balanced and rich with energy adding foods. If you are a professional cyclist, you must have a daily cycling routine.
You have to spend a lot of energy on a daily basis cycling across different terrains in preparation for the main event. If you are an individual with such a demanding cycling routine, you need to get a proper diet plan.
There are many diets for cyclists but you do not have to stick to certain specific meals. According to British Cycling, a cyclist’s diet should contain at least 40% carbohydrates and 30% proteins. If you are a person who is always on the road, you need to consume more calories to have the energy to ride. However, there is always the risk of putting on weight when you consume too many carbs without working out.
As we will see later, weight is a big hindrance to your cycling speed. It is therefore important to ensure that you avoid high sugar carbohydrates such as cakes and chocolate. You should stick to whole grain foods such as whole grain bread.
It is also important to note that, the consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods is a reserve of those who workout on a daily basis. If you do not cycle often, it would be in your best interest to stay away from carbohydrate-rich foods.
As you might have realized, a cyclist diet works hand in hand with physical exercise. There are many exercises that can help you increase your endurance.
The main reason why you have to exercise is so that you can burn fats and build muscles.
According to a Harvard Medical School Publication, individuals with a higher muscle percentage muscles have more endurance than those with a higher fat percentage.
Some exercises that can help you build your muscles and increase endurance include:
You will have to hit the gym on a daily basis if you want to attain a lean body. As we will see later, having a lean body is important in balancing your bike and reducing the action of wind. Most importantly, building muscles will help you attain resistance to tiredness and fatigue.
If you lift weights every day, your body adapts to the physical activities and your heart becomes more resistant. Most people are unable to cycle for long since they fall short of breath and cannot sustain the fast heart rate associated with increased metabolism. Lifting weights for 1 hour each day will help you build stamina and overcome such tiredness.
Big Gear Cycling
If you lack endurance on the road use big gear bicycle when training. The big gear bicycle requires that you cycle faster for long hours to maintain speed your average speed. By using such a bicycle, you train your body to adopt a standard higher than required during the real competition. As a cyclist, cycling should be a routine exercise.
Take at least 2 hours every day in the early hours of the day to train your body. When cycling for endurance, chise tough terrains such as mountain ranges and rough roads. You need to get your body accustomed to riding in the toughest conditions possible. Within months, you will realize that you have gained the endurance needed to cycle for long periods.
If your problem is running out of breath easily, the treadmill will help. Cycling is similar to running in many ways. The faster you cycle the quicker you lose your breath. You can use the treadmill to increase your endurance when it comes to controlling your breath and heart rate.
Start off slowly at a low speed say 2mph. Increase the speed step by step as you gain endurance at a certain level. You can also do practical running if you live in an area with hills. Climbing hills help strengthen thigh muscles for pedaling as well.
Create a Healthy Routine
Another important aspect of your lifestyle that matters when it comes to endurance is routine. You need to have an organized lifestyle to keep your body fit.
Some of the lifestyle habits that people adopt these days may be detrimental to you as a cyclist. For instance, watching too much TV and missing sleep is a big cause of fatigue. If you want to endure the trail, you have to get sufficient sleep.
You need to have a programmed day that starts by exercising, having proper breakfast, and then followed by other activities. It is important to ensure that you have all the three meals in a day and keep track k of your daily water intake.
Besides physical fitness, your cycling techniques play an important role in your speed and endurance.
As we have seen above, you need to work out and eat well to maintain a physically fit body. Now that your body is in shape for the road, you have to put on your best game.
Here are some tricks to help you improve your cycling speed and endurance:
Train At Intervals
Riding at speeds above your average speed will help you improve both your endurance and speed. It is not possible for you to just get out and ride your normal route at a faster rate than you are used to.
Cycling coaches recommend that you train in intervals. It entails cycling in short bursts above your normal speed. Ride in intervals of about 5 minutes with the short bursts taking 5 minutes followed by a slow session of 5 minutes.
The beauty of this technique is that it works so efficiently during the real race. It is not just for training purposes. If you can sustain your entire route shifting in intervals, the technique may just help you attain faster average speed.
Ride out into a headwind
One of the biggest problem that cyclists have to face is wind. You may have trained hard the whole year just to come to the stage and realize that you are cycling into the wind.
To ensure that you are prepared for the unlikely environment, train for such circumstances. A headwind will make your cycling feel like a struggle.
You will have to use more energy and endurance to attain your average speed. If it is possible to train in a headwind every day, make it part of your routine.
If you can maintain your average speed in a headwind direction, riding on a calm day will be a walk in the park. You will enjoy faster speeds and longer endurance than most of your competitors.
Ride On Drops
If you are professional cyclist chances are that you are riding on a drop handlebar sports bike. Most cyclists do not realize the advantage of using a drop handle bike.
Lowering your body down improves your balance and bike handling. Further, riding in a drop handled bike helps reduce aerodynamic drag— helping you navigate corners easily and descent faster. Further, the lowering of your body reduces wind resistance by 20 percent.
As already mentioned above, riding in the wind is one of the major challenges for cyclists. If you wish to improve your cycling speed and endurance, try utilizing the drop riding features.
Most people do not like riding in drops since they do not feel comfortable. Some athletes complain of not being able to reach the breaks. With proper settings, you can solve all these issues and enjoy prolonged riding and fast speeds.
You do not have to keep on applying breaks when you feel that the bike is moving at a faster speed. Even if you are in a queue and feel that you may collide, try controlling your bike other than breaking. Breaking slows you down.
Once you break, you have to paddle harder to attain the speed you were riding at before.
This may drain your energy way before you finish the route. To ensure that you cycle for long and maintain speed, you have to use your energy sparingly. Paddle only when you are supposed to paddle and break only when it is necessary.
When you are moving downhill, try controlling your bike at the highest speed possible. This is the time for you to rest and not paddle. However, breaking may force you to paddle downhill- consuming the energy needed to climb the hill ahead of you.
Pump Up Your Tires
There are many factors that go into bicycle mechanics. You need to have a professional check your bike right before you start the race. If you do not have someone to check your bike, at least ensure that the tires are in the right form.
Correctly inflated tires will roll off the ground faster than flat ones. The balance of pressure should also be checked. When you ride a bike that has been correctly inflated you feel the difference. It is easy to balance and paddle. It is also smooth even when riding rough terrain.
Listen To Music
If you have trained well and have set your bike in a good state, you need to find a distraction. Sometimes the fatigue you feel comes from your mind. Music will help you draw your attention away from the tiredness in your feet.
However, music cycling is not for all people. There are people who cannot multitask; listening to music may just be too much distraction.
If you find it difficult to cycle while listening to music, chose a different direction.
You can also chew gum to help you pay less attention to the events happening in your body as you cycle harder.
As much as cycling is fun, getting to your dream speed and endurance is not easy.
You need to put in a lot of work and dedication to be able to overcome your body and attain the maximum speed. Attaining the maximum cycling speed and endurance relies on two main factors; your physical fitness and your cycling techniques.
To be able to attain the necessary endurance, you have to train hard, watch your diet and control your habits. Once you get your body in the required state of fitness, you have to start working on your cycling techniques.
There are several techniques you can use to increase your cycling speed and endurance.
As you train and put in perspective tricks such as interval cycling and cycling on drops, you start covering longer distances. If you put all these factors into perspective, you will be ready to ride your bike for a very long time without feeling tired or out of breath.