Cycling is a very popular form of exercise, especially in the United Kingdom! Here, there are cyclists here, there, and everywhere – and for good reason.
This form of exercising is fun, and it allows you to get out and see the world. However, priding for long enough to see the world can be a troublesome endeavor.
If you are someone who has begun their cycling journey, and you want to improve your endurance, you’re in the right place!
We’ve got a few handy tips and tricks for you to help you achieve exactly that. Interested in finding out? Just keep reading.
5 Ways To Improve Your Cycling Endurance
Train Your Body For Endurance
If you want to improve your endurance, you have to train your body for it! You need to get the most from your body and get it used to using fat stores.
It’s known that fit cyclists use more fats and are incredibly efficient at stretching their carb reserves out.
Use the ABC reminder to help you: A= aerobic riding should be done for 4-6 hours every week. B= Breakfast-less rides for around 2 hours will make your body fat-burning savvy. C= consistency!
You won’t get anything for free when it comes to exercise (and life, really), so you need to work for it! Endurance is something that is earned through hard work.
It’s important to remember to just not take things too far, because if you push yourself too far, your body will push back. When that happens, you won’t like it.
Be consistent with riding, and don’t hurt yourself in the process. When you get to the stage when you can increase your longest ride, slowly start to extend it.
Every third week or so, you should be able to set a (slightly) bigger goal to achieve. When you get to this level, it becomes very important to find some riding buddies who are either at your level or a little higher because encouragement will be sorely needed (pun intended).
Get Those Calories In While You Ride
If you’re planning on riding a long distance, a breakfast and water won’t cut it. You need to get between 200-400 calories in you while you ride.
These can be in liquid or solid form, as long as you get them in. Make sure they sit well in your stomach, too, unless you want to have a very unpleasant experience on your ride.
If you are used to cycling, you might feel comfortable and confident enough to start a cycle in a fasting state.
However, once you start riding, you need to be eating something every 20 minutes to keep yourself going.
If you don’t, you will just crash and the ride will be over. We aren’t superhuman, and we still need to fuel ourselves with food. There’s no getting around that.
You should aim to ingest around 60 g of carbs every hour while cycling. Performance can be improved substantially if you feed yourself regularly, but make sure that the food you’re eating has everything you need it in.
Eat Carbs Before You Leave The House!
We know – we just said that some cyclists can start after fasting. If you are relatively new to cycling, then starting on a fasted ride definitely is not recommended.
You should get some fuel in your body before even leaving the house if you aren’t used to it.
In order to have good endurance, you need to make sure you have enough reserves to get the job done. You are the machine, and all machines need their fuel.
In our bodies, the glycogen (which is a carbohydrate) in the liver and muscles, triglycerides (fats) in the muscles, and glucose in the bloodstream are all important compounds.
They come together to create body fat, which is exactly that you need for endurance.
If you find yourself running out of muscle glycogen, or experiencing low blood glucose levels, or low liver glycogen, you’re done for. That can stop you where you are and will practically make you fall flat on your face.
Make sure you’re eating enough food, and make sure it’s the right food before hopping on that make. Without it, your endurance will be nothing more than the corner shop down the road.
Get Your Pre-Ride Breakfast In
A pre-ride breakfast should be eaten between 2-3 hours before you set off on your ride. If you ate closer to the ride, then it will almost certainly have the opposite of the intended effect.
Giving the food 2-3 hours will allow it to do its thing and start replenishing the stores inside your body.
Your breakfast should be high in protein, carbs, and fat to get the best results.
If you really have no time for a breakfast like this (there are great baked breakfasts that you can prepare the night before), there are alternatives.
You can make yourself a carb-rich drink of sorts that you can enjoy as you’re leaving the house to go for a ride. Just don’t do this with an actual breakfast.
Ride Up Those Hills
No one in their right mind actually enjoys riding up hills, right? In any case, it doesn’t actually matter if you enjoy it or not!
If you have decided that you want to improve your cycling endurance, then riding uphill is one of the many sad things you’re just going to have to endure.
It is a test for the mind as well as the body.
Riding uphill is probably one of the best things you can do to improve your stamina. You just need to find a good slope that has a decent gradient, and have at it.
You should be able to push your limits, but not feel like fainting in the process.
If you’re still early to the cycling game, this isn’t something you should jump into immediately. Give yourself some time to become more accustomed to everything else, then you can face the slope.
Enjoy the process!
Since we don’t have all the time in the world to talk about improving your cycling endurance, we’ll keep these short and sweet!
However, these honourable mentions aren’t honourable at all – they’re also incredibly important. These are more to do with long term endurance training rather than short term like most of the aforementioned tips.
Follow through with these ways of improving endurance, and you will build up some amazing skills.
Just remember – it takes time, and you aren’t going to achieve your goals overnight! It’s a long journey, and you have to work hard at every angle to achieve all your goals in the end.
- Gradually increase the length of your rides – this goes without saying, but gradually increasing the length of the rides will slowly build up endurance. Don’t throw yourself in the deep end immediately!
- Use the right technique – depending on your body type, you might need a certain kind of bike to make the most of the exercise! Make sure the bike is the right size, shape, and everything else for you specifically.
- Have realistic goals – lofty goals are great, but make sure they are actually achievable. No one is superman (are you?), and humans have limitations. Sure, those limitations dwindle as we get better, but just bear it in mind.
- Interval training – by changing the intensity of your training sessions, you can build up great endurance. This is the case with any kind of exercise, really. Switch between gentle rides and sprinting stints to really get your blood pumping and your muscles working.
- Consistency is key! – We all have days when we feel lazy, but try not to let that get the best of you. Try to be consistent and keep breaks between riding fairly short. Remember, it’s not only your body that you have to compete with, but your mind, top!
- Cycle with a group – if you want to keep yourself motivated so that you actually keep cycling, do it with a group! You will make some great cycling buddies while also encouraging those around you, who will encourage you, too!
- Keep your bike in pristine condition – okay, you can’t ride a bike long distances if it’s threatening to fall apart. Keep the saddle, handlebars, and wheels in good condition especially. If that bike starts to feel uncomfortable, you aren’t going to want to hop back on it, are you?
There are lots of great ways that you can improve your cycling endurance. There are two big categories: food-related methods, and exercise-related methods.
Both are actually equally important, so heed the advice given in the honorable mentions section!
You have to train your body and mind at the same time when it comes to any kind of exercise.
However, you also need to fuel your body with all the right foods to help you get further and better. Eat the right food, and do the right exercises, and you will start improving your cycling endurance in no time.