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How do I improve my cycling

Last year was my first in triathlon and I only did sprint distance. I found that my cycling has let me down. I only got on the road bike in feb and have to admit I probably neglected the bike training. For this season I want to get quicker. My best 20km time for the bike was 55 mins. I'd like to knock 10 mins off this. Is the best way to do this to increase my stamina ie long rides or to try to cycle quicker?

I have a tubo trainer but I need advice on using it. I also want to do oly distance next year.

Can anyone help?

Dumb Blonde


  • I am no cycling guru but over the winter here is what I would do..

    if the weather is fine and you can get out on the road at the weekend and try to bike between 1-2hrs - keep the pace steady if you use a HRM try to stay in zone2 (aerobic).

    on turbo once a week

    warm u/p for 10 minutes - start easy and gradually increase the effort

    rest for 1minute

    4/5*10mins efforts with 2mins rest between - do these at a pace that will allow you complete them in an even pace across the sets on the last set go as hard as you can...on the next session try and start the pace with the average of the last session which should get quicker over time as your fitness improves..

    If you can get out at the weekend then maybe you could longer 4*20 efforts on the turbo but these maybe pretty dull. Spinning classes is another option.

    The above is pretty basic as there is a whole raft of different training methods and session you can do on the road or turbo all of which will affect some aspect of your time..but I have found that keeping it simple is the way forward ..

  • madnursemadnurse Posts: 782
    one of the best ways to get out training on the bike to imrpove your bike skills and for that speed is to join your local tri club .. they should have regular rides organised over the winter which will help build on your existing levels of bike fitness. Whislt the turbo is good kit and should not be under estimated it doesnt enable you to develop road skills of bike handling. when the weather is beyond biblical or as an occasioanl alternative the turbo (or for that a spinning class) are always good ways to mix up your training. key to it all is to build it up gradually you wont be able to clock 112 miles first time out but with time and effort getting out 2 - 3 times a week it will come certainly to a point whereby you will complete sprints and oly's in much faster times

  • The two best ways to get faster on your bike are (a) to build up your stamina and (b) build up your strength. If you get these two working together, then you should be able to ride for longer and go faster.

    To build up stamina, you need to train for gradually longer periods of time, say, when you do a long ride on the weekend (or whenever you do your long ride, in addition to the other, shorter rides you do each week). Try not to increase your distances by more than 10-15% from one week to the next so as to avoid over-training and injury. (Although, having said that, I think I went from 60 minutes to 75 to 90 in the space of a few weeks, but luckily that didn't have any adverse effects.) Increase for 3 weeks each month and then plateau on your fourth week and stay at the week 3 distance. Once you build up to your target distance after some months, maintain it and vary it a bit (try to work in hills, curves, or some routes that require more shifting of gears or paying attention to the road, and other routes that are straight and flat). Oh, and I find it can be a lot of fun and complementary to my road training to do some off-road cycling if you have access to a mountain bike. I know it works different muscle groups and may not be specifically and directly beneficial to your road training, but it sure seems to be good for overall stamina improvement and adds to the variety and fun you can have throughout the year.

    To build up strength, hill climbing is very effective, and your turbo trainer can also be a good tool. There are loads of ways of using it, but here are a couple of variations that have worked for me (and hopefully will keep on working for me through to next year):

    - Get your bike set up on the turbo trainer and find a gear that you can spin in comfortably on the lowest setting

    - Do 10-minute segments with 4 minutes on a low resistance, then 4 minutes on a medium resistance and 2 minutes on a high resistance

    - Start off by doing 3 of those sets and then try adding a set each week until you can do 6 or more sets

    - When you can do them comfortably, then try starting in your easy gear for the first set and shift up a gear for each subsequent set, until you're in your highest gear, and then work your way back down the gears to your easy gear, again

    ... And the variations go from there.

    I also stumbled into a third method, which doesn't work for everyone: I cycle with my daughter to and from school every day (and then to and from ballet on Saturday mornings). Since I have to work to carry an extra 22 kg for about 7 miles every day, I think it's had a beneficial effect on my leg strength.

    Oh, and several people have told me to try weight training for the specific muscle groups if I want to take it up another notch, but I'm not a huge fan of that type of exercise right now.
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