You're riding regularly, working hard, but you seem to have hit a plateau. You're looking for some tips to increase your cycling speed, but you're not quite sure where to turn next. Ramping up your speed is always going to involve improving your use of your body's energy systems. Here are just a few tips to help you notch up that speed.
Tip #1: Build Tolerance
Tackle hill repeats or other hard efforts that train your body to cope with increased amounts of lactic acid. Doing this will allow you to ride above your lactate threshold for longer periods of time, which will improve your climbing and sprinting. Try a workout with intervals lasting from 20 seconds to three minutes, interspersed with 30 to 60 seconds of recovery. You will want a short recovery interval to make sure the lactic acid level in your muscles stays high. Another workout method is longer 20- to 60-minute workouts at lactate threshold intensity with no recovery period.
Tip #2: Go farther
Did you know that your VO2 max is mostly determined by genetics? That means that it can be really difficult to change. However, it's high intensity endurance workouts that are going to make a difference. One popular training method is to ride just below lactate threshold for as long as possible. How do you track that? Use a heart rate monitor or power meter. At the beginning, try to maintain this intensity for 10 to 30 minutes. Your endurance will begin to increase, and then you can lengthen your workouts accordingly.
Tip #3: Riding & Resting
Interval training is one of the best ways to increase your lactate threshold. This type of training prevents lactic acid accumulation from destroying high-intensity efforts. Actually, this type of training can increase the amount of creatine, phosphate, and ATP in your system, therefore enhancing the use of some of the lactic acid.
Here's your workout tip - using a power meter or heart rate monitor to guide you, ride for 10 to 20 seconds at a pace that produces a pulse equal to 80 to 90 percent of your VO2 max. Next, ride at a lower-intensity for one to three minutes. As your lactate threshold rises, you will want to increase the work interval and shorten the recovery period. After a day of training like this, make sure you give yourself a rest day or at least an easy riding day.
Tip #4: Change things up
One of the worst things you can do - but a very common mistakes - is riding at the same speed during every workout. It's all about riding harder than you ever had before - as well as easier than you've ever ridden before. If you consistently ride at a medium-hard page, you'll just get tired without seeing the improvement you desire.
Tip #5: Get your sleep
This may seem like quite the simple tip, but it's absolutely pivotal if you're trying to increase your cycling speed. You should be getting an absolute minimum of seven hours of sleep a night, and ideally as much as nine hours a night when you're doing intense training.