5 Tips to Improve Your Cycling in 2016
Triathletes spend the majority of their race on the bike so it’s important to make sure that your training reflects this. Here are the top five easy tips to make your cycling faster in 2016.
1. Practice high intensity intervals
If you’ve found that you’ve plateaued in your cycling, it’s time to change up your routine. Consistently training at low intensity for long distances won’t help you improve. Performing short sprints at max wattage or in heart rate zones 4 – 5 with longer recovery improves VO2 max, anaerobic capacity and FTP. This benefits short and long distance triathletes and saves you time on the bike during the week.
While road cycling is ideal for building general fitness and develop smooth, efficient peddling, triathletes should try mountain biking to enjoy a change of scenery and improve bike handling technique. Heading out with experienced mountain bikers is a great way gain confidence in your ability. Mountain biking can also provide a mental break from the structured training numbers of road cycling. Your power and bike handling skills will be tested and you’ll enjoy the chance to just get out there and ride.
Triathletes in Canada spend lots of time riding indoors when the weather gets harsh, but consider keeping up your indoor sessions throughout the summer as well. Many pros like Lionel Sanders train almost solely indoors because of the controlled environment. This summer, keep at least one session a week indoors to focus on building maximum speed and power without any interruptions like traffic.
4. Plan your training season
This year, plan your training in phases. If you’ve taken time off over the last weeks of December, don’t jump back in to high intensity training right away. Build your cycling back up with a preparation phase and then a base training phase. These should emphasize low intensity training to build your aerobic endurance. In your preparation phase, incorporate cross training activities such as cross country skiing and strength training. Your base training phase should build in volume but periodically allow for lower intensity weeks. By the time you reach your endurance phase, your body won’t feel worn out too early.
5. Strength training
Stronger legs create more power on the bike but upper body, especially core, is important too. If you like to lift weights, you don’t need to lift too heavy to still see results. Body-weight exercises won’t build too much muscle mass and can target all the important muscle groups for cyclists. Plank and push-ups are two of the best exercises for upper body and squats (with or without weight) target glutes and hamstrings.