2 Cycle Training Techniques to Adopt When Short on Time
Although cycling is fantastic, there can be no denying it can be a time-consuming sport. Improving means putting in the hours and effort. If you are short on time, this may make you feel that big cycling events such as sportives are out of reach.
The good news is that by using specific training techniques, you can see real improvements to your cycling, building endurance and strength two essentials for long rides.
Both techniques demand no more than a ninety-minute ride and provide plenty of benefits to your cycling.
Although nothing replaces a long spin putting away the miles, you will notice tangible improvements to your physical condition and riding style.
Commuting and Safety
Given the length of the ride, you may feel you can do these techniques on your commute to work. As you’ll be doing this on open roads with vehicle and pedestrian traffic hazards, you must find quiet roads where junctions are minimal, and traffic levels are low. As such, you may want to consider using a turbo trainer for these exercises, especially if quiet roads are hard to find.
Let’s take a closer look at the techniques.
Strength Endurance Training
Strength endurance training for cyclists essentially means riding in a higher gear for a defined length of time. Some professional cyclists have likened this to cycling weight training.
To get started warm-up for around five minutes. Once you are on a suitable road, do the following:
- Select a high gear. When you pedal, this should feel like you are making a 7/10 effort or using 85% of your maximum heart rate.
- Cadence should be around 50-60 RPM
- Ride for 5 minutes continuously unless you have to stop for safety reasons.
- Recovery time should be just under 5 minutes. Take the opportunity to select an appropriate gear and spin your legs.
- Repeat between 3-6 times depending on your ability. Try to work towards doing this six times in a ride.
If you can't measure cadence and heart rate just go by how the ride feels.
To get the most from this exercise you should concentrate on your technique. So with this in mind, ensure you are:
- Using your glutes, the strongest muscles in your body.
- Keeping your core stable.
- Adopting a smooth sustained pedalling technique.
Cycle coaches believe that this exercise increases the power your muscles can produce through overloading and recovery, and it improves neuromuscular recruitment. Put simply, your muscles will be stronger, and you’ll be using them more effectively.
If you do the technique correctly, you’ll improve your core, strengthen your glutes and improve your pedalling form.
When you’re done, ensure you refuel and rest your legs if possible.
Fasted Endurance Training
Fasted training provides endurance benefits which are needed to ride sportives, long rides, and cycling events. Although fasted cycling can’t replace long endurance rides, they are still highly useful in building endurance and provide other cycling benefits.
Riding in a carb depleted state puts your body into fat-burning mode. To ensure you reach this state, it is advised to do this exercise in the morning. Your body burns carbs overnight, and you’ll be ready for your fasted ride.
You may want to consider a protein breakfast. Boiled or scrambled eggs are good for this. Any food with carbohydrates in it is a no-no. This includes:
The ride itself will ideally be for 60-90 minutes, and you’ll ride at a steady pace, at about 70% of your maximum heart rate. It is important to keep the ride steady and not try anything like high-intensity training due to fatigue. This makes it ideal for commuting as it doesn’t matter if you’re stopping at junctions frequently. Always, however, adhere to road safety guidelines.
When finished, ensure you refuel but don’t go overboard.
Some pro riders use fasted training as part of their training programmes.
Both of these exercises are good if you want to ride the big events but have limited training time. Both build endurance needed for long rides, and if you adopt the right cycling techniques, you will notice real benefits to your cycling.
As well as these two techniques consider using high-intensity interval training to help develop your cycling abilities further.