Do These 5 Things Right Now for a Faster Bike Leg
1. Ride with a group and preferably people slightly faster than you. Riding with a group outside teaches you crucial bike handling skills such as cornering, descending, climbing, stopping, reaching for your nutrition or water bottle, etc. When you ride with folks who are faster or more experienced than yourself, this forces you to get out of your comfort zone and push harder so you don’t get dropped. The fastest cycling I have ever done has been with a group of athletes from our local cycling group. There were a few rides where I hung on for dear life, but after I got used to their pattern and tempo, I had no problem hanging with them. You must be constantly challenging yourself among your peers and it never hurts to leave your comfort zone.
2. Ride all year long, not just during triathlon season. This means not hanging your road bike up in the garage for 4 months. Keep your bike on the trainer, go to a Spin class regularly, or ride outside when the weather permits. Consistency is key. It’s important to recover in the off season, but there’s no need to completely lose your bike fitness.
3. Do 3 workouts a week- I usually give my athletes 3 rides a week at a minimum:
High intensity intervals, a strength ride with hills or tempo efforts, and a long endurance ride on the weekend. If an athlete wants more, I will add another endurance ride mid week.
4. Strength Train. I can’t emphasize this enough. The main goal in strength training is to create a strong foundation for all the muscles used in cycling. This helps build power, endurance and can benefit your cycling performance as well as prevent injury.
5. Don’t get trapped on your trainer for every single ride…unless you really have to. If you live in a cold climate the trainer will obviously be your friend during the winter months. But whenever there is a break in the weather, I highly recommend getting outside and doing your long effort against the elements. This will give you an opportunity to practice TACTICS and TECHNIQUES. Tactics are things like holding pace, cadence or power under certain conditions like hills or heavy winds. Another example of tactics is practicing passing and falling out of the draft zone or race day nutrition and timing. Techniques are things like cadence drills, pacing drills, eating and drinking on the bike and bike handling skills. Most of the above can only be learned and practiced on the road. The trainer is a cozy comfortable place to be in the winter, but do try to get outside whenever possible!
There are more tips to this list, but I wanted to share with you what I feel are the most important. For the full list of FREE tips for a faster bike ride, click the button below!
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Ironman University Certified Coach
USA Cycling Coach