5 Tips for Increasing Your Cycling Miles
Cycling is a great sport to help you stay fit and become a better athlete.
After cycling for a long period, you will reach a plateau and find it difficult to increase your cycling mileage. And it’s frustrating to hit the same mile every time you cycle, as progression is the key to fulfilment and enjoyment of any sport.
In this article, we will look at how you can effectively increase your cycling mileage in a couple of months.
Let’s dive in!
"Once you have developed a solid base, other components of training become easier"
Top 5 Tips for Increasing Cycling Mileage
1: Perform Base Training
Base training is a form of training that helps your body utilise oxygen efficiently to allow for long and steady rides.
Much like the base of the pyramid, base training builds a solid foundation for your body to withstand higher intensity training sessions. Base training also increases power and cycling speed while minimising fatigue. However, many cyclists never realised their full potential as they have neglected base training.
To get started with base training and build up a base of steady mileage, cycle at 55-70% of your max heart rate. At this intensity rate, you should be able to talk without having to struggle to catch your breath.
Maintain this low-to-moderate intensity and work on a zone between 95-105 RPM and train for long hours on the bike to develop a strong foundation. Aim to gradually increase your miles over the coming weeks.
Keep in mind to train smart and when you are tired, be sure to take a break as your base training volume and intensity varies based on your fitness levels.
If you perform base training consistently, you notice that you are able to maintain your average speed for longer hours and increase your mileage as your slow twitch muscle fibres are enhanced and stimulated. Base training is one of the main factors which separates amateurs from elite riders as it prepares your body for the demanding efforts of cycling.
Once you have developed a solid base, other components of training become easier. Another tip would be to have a riding buddy or buddies with similar fitness levels to motivate each other and keep base training sessions exciting.
Moving onto our next tip, a contrast from base training - Interval Training.
2: Interval Training
Interval training requires you to alternate your cycling at short bursts of high intensity and moderate intensity. While base training might take you a few hours, interval training only requires 20-30 minutes
Be sure to start and end with few minutes of warm up and cool down, respectively. During the interval training, cycle at high intensity for 1-2 minutes before cycling at moderate intensity for 2-3 minutes. Repeat until the interval training is completed. If it feels easy, aim to go 5mph quicker during your high-intensity burst in the following week.
Perform the interval training at least once per week and you will observe an increase in your average speed.
3: Incorporate Strength Training
Plenty of cyclists have chosen to avoid strength training for the fear of getting too bulky.
However, it’s important to note that those are professional bodybuilders who have been training and eating a fixed mass diet for years. If you are only performing 2-3 strength training sessions per week, it will help you to transform into a fitter athlete.
Focus your training on your leg muscles by doing squats and lunges while sticking to free weights. As the squats is a compound movement, it would activate multiple leg muscles such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes, all of which would help in cycling.
Here are some of our recommended exercises to perform in the gym:
- Barbell Squats (front squat and back squat)
- Walking Lunges
- Hamstring curl
- Calves Raise
- Barbell Bicep Curls
- Close-Grip Bench Press
- Shoulder Press
Perform light stretching after every strength training sessions to improve your flexibility and avoid muscle stiffness. Hold each stretch for 20 seconds.
4: Consume the Right Nutrition
Your choices of nutrition are vital to helping you sustain the demands of long-distance cycling. This could be the difference between you increasing your mile for the week or experience fatigue while cycling.
Here are some useful checklists to help fuel your body:
- Have a healthy mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fat 2-3 hours before a ride.
- Consume energy bars to maintain energy levels during the ride. This would be helpful halfway through the ride as tiredness starts to kick in.
- Drink plenty of water before cycling and sip on some water while on the ride to keep your body hydrated.
- Avoid alcohol the day before you train for cycling.
5: Wear Suitable Clothing
Another way of getting an edge is to wear appropriate cyclewear help regulate body temperature, enhance performance, and reduce recovery time on and off the bike.
With a quicker recovery time, you can train more frequently and over time, your average speed and distance covered will improve drastically.
Look for cyclewear that is quick drying and race fit. Avoid loose baggy clothing as it will slow you down.
And that’s a wrap! If you have been struggling to increase your mile while cycling, follow the guide above and you see improvements in the coming weeks.
Here’s a recap of our top 5 tips:
1. Perform Base Training
2. Interval Training
3. Incorporate Strength Training
4. Consume the Right Nutrition
5. Wear Suitable Clothing
So go ahead and start applying these tips today!
Over to You
Let us know in the comments below your thoughts on the 5 tips for increasing your cycling mileage?