As you begin any cycling training plan, start slow and then increase your cycling intensity and distance. This measured progression over time makes it less likely you will injure yourself.
If you’re looking to put together a new biking training plan, read on for a few more key tips!
Push Past Plateaus
Not seeing any progress? Use interval training to get faster and stronger. Interval training alternates periods of all-out effort with periods of easy spinning. For example, go hard for 30 seconds, and then take it easy for 60 seconds.
High-intensity interval training helps endurance riders increase their VO2 max, a measure of the aerobic capacity of the body to utilize oxygen while exercising. This kind of exercise is an option for days you’re pressed for time because it’s shorter than a regular ride, but it has as many gains for your fitness—if not more—than a normal ride.
Recovery’s as important as the days you put in work. Treat rest with the respect it deserves by taking full days off to recover. Always schedule rest days into your cycling training plan.
Cross training is one fun way to take a break from the bike. Cross training serves the purpose of building muscles other than the ones you use while cycling. Not only does cross training make you a stronger athlete, but it also reduces your risk of injury.
Backroads Pro Tip
When it comes to cross training, you can run, swim, play ultimate Frisbee or walk. Whatever you do, the important thing is to find what you enjoy!
Ride with Others
Many cyclists find that a riding group offers fun, friendship and accountability. Put meetups with local biking groups on your cycling training plan calendar. Find a group that rides at the pace you like. Many will break into groups of varying speeds so you can ride at the speed that feels best for you. Some rides are “no drop,” meaning nobody’s left behind. Most groups have an anticipated pace and will share that with you before the ride, if you ask.
Go the Distance
To train for a longer ride, build up mileage by 5–10 miles per week. (The exact number will depend on your fitness level.) Take weeks to rest between the mileage bumps. For example, say you are able to ride 20 miles. The next week, ride 25 miles, and then increase to 30 and then 40. Take a rest week after that. After your rest, ride 45 miles, 55 and 65. Take another rest week. Occasionally do two big rides over two consecutive days. This’ll go a long way to increasing your strength and endurance.
Backroads Pro Tip
Remember, you can always modify your cycling training plan if it’s too easy or difficult. The important thing is to listen to your body while training, and don't be afraid to make changes to your cycling training plan accordingly.