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How to get faster at cycling and improve your cycling performance

We’ve now been cycling for over a decade and have raced and toured across most of Europe and Africa. We thought we would share a few things we have learned along the way that will help you get faster at cycling and improve your cycling performance.

Steady rides improve cycling performance and help you get faster at cycling
Steady rides make up the bulk of your training

1. Accept that getting faster at cycling won’t happen overnight

As we have written before on this blog, improving cycling performance comes from having a clear, repeatable plan and executing on that plan. An effective cycling plan has progressive overload. Where increases in weekly distance and speed are built into the programme. This challenges your body to get stronger and faster. There are people out there that will try to convince you there are magic short cuts. There aren’t.

2. Develop a structured cycling training programme

The best plans mix different types of rides to target particular aspects of your fitness. Here are a few examples to consider.

  • Interval Training: Incorporate interval training sessions into your routine. Intervals involve alternating between high-intensity efforts and recovery periods. For example, you might do a set of 1-2 minute sprints followed by a 3-4 minute recovery period. Interval training helps increase your anaerobic capacity and overall speed.

  • Hill Repeats: Hills provide an opportunity to work on both strength and speed. Include hill repeats in your training plan to improve your climbing abilities and increase your power output.

  • Long, Steady Rides: Longer rides at a moderate pace help improve your endurance and cardiovascular fitness. These rides build the foundation for faster cycling by increasing your aerobic capacity.

3. Fuel your body properly

Proper cycling nutrition and hydration are vital if you are going to get faster at cycling and improve your cycling performance.

  • Overall diet: As we have written elsewhere, eating a diet based around whole foods and avoiding anything highly processed is critical to maintaining your overall health. This will give your body the platform it needs to train effectively and get faster.

  • Pre/during rides: Carbohydrates provide readily available energy, and a small amount of protein can help sustain energy levels. Dehydration can significantly impact your performance. Stay hydrated before, during, and after your ride. Carry a water bottle and drink regularly.

cycling nutrition to get faster at cycling
It's all about home cooking

4. Don’t underestimate rest and recovery

Cycling leads to microscopic damage in your muscle fibres. During rest, your body repairs this damage, which is a crucial step in muscle growth and strength development. This repair process is what makes your muscles stronger and more resilient, helping you generate more power during your rides and helping you get faster at cycling. Proper rest replenishes your body’s energy stores and will help you stay injury free.

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