top of page

A cycling training plan that gets results

Litebike improve cycling fitness

Today we look at the basics of setting up an effective cycling training plan. This is for everyone who wants to cycle faster for longer and improve cycling fitness.

Perhaps you’ve just done your first big cycle. You’ve ticked off London to Brighton and you want to take your cycling fitness to the next level. You want to cycle longer distances upward of 150km or have your eye on cycling LEJOG.

Let’s dive in.

How do I improve my cycling fitness?

To start you need to decide what you want to achieve.

Set a goal.

This might sound obvious but until you’ve got it figured out you’ll find it difficult to optimise your programme and see results. Worse still you might end up pulling in different directions, where all your hard work actually works against you.

The more specific you can be about how you want to improve your cycling fitness the better.

Ask yourself:

“Do I want to improve my cycling max speed?”

“Do I want to get stronger at climbing hills?”

“Do I want to improve your stamina for longer cycle rides?”

Maybe you’ll come to the conclusion that it’s all three.

The key thing is you are clear about your intentions. When we speak to cyclists at the top of the sport they all say the same.

Mark, an endurance cyclist, who cycled LEJOG in an absolutely eye-watering five days told us:

“When it came to it none of it happened by chance. How did I cycle in that time [5 days]? Well I had a goal and I worked backwards. I actually found that writing down my goals helped formalise the contract I was making with myself.”

How do I develop a cycling training plan?

It doesn’t need to be complicated. The key thing to understand is that there are two types of fitness you can work on: aerobic fitness and anaerobic fitness.

Aerobic fitness is another way of describing cardiovascular fitness or stamina. To improve aerobic fitness you need to work in your aerobic target zone. This is somewhere between 60-80% of your maximum heart rate and means exercising steady and not too fast so your heart is able to supply enough oxygen to the muscles.

Anaerobic fitness is about strength, power and muscular endurance. You need to work in your anaerobic target zone to get results. This is between 80-100% of your maximum heart rate which means exercising in short, fast bursts so your heart struggles to supply enough oxygen to your muscles.

Both are important. You want to get aerobic and anaerobic exercise into your cycling training programme roughly split 70/30 in favour of aerobic training.

For example:

Litebike cycling training plan

How do I increase VO2 max cycling?

VO2 max (maximum oxygen uptake) measures the max amount of oxygen your body is able to use during intense cycling. It’s expressed as millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute (ml/kg/min).

It reflects how effectively your cardiovascular and respiratory systems can deliver oxygen to your muscles and how efficiently your muscles can use that oxygen and is commonly used as an objective measure of cycling fitness and endurance.

Increasing your VO2 max cycling will come from targeted training in aerobic and anaerobic systems. You can incorporate both training types into your cycling training plan e.g. cycling a short, hilly segment at 80-100% of max heart rate (anaerobic) as part of longer cycle focussed on building aerobic capacity.

How to get results from your cycling training plan?

Getting results means sustaining effort over time.

You want to make sure that your cycling training plan is repeatable.

We think the trick to improving cycling fitness is turning your commitment, your cycling training plan, into a habit. Committing to less to begin can help because you're more likely to stick it out long enough for it to become habitual. The alternative is to start with too much, miss a week and feel disappointed before you ever get a chance to form a new habit.

As Kristi DePaul explains, habits are done without thought:

“Unlike habits, routines are uncomfortable and require a concerted effort. Waking up early to run every morning or meditating for 10 minutes every night, for instance, are rituals that — initially — are hard to keep up. Habits, on the other hand, are so ingrained in our daily lives that it feels strange not to do them. Imagine not brushing your teeth before bed or not drinking a cup of coffee with breakfast. If these are habits you have already formed, avoiding them might even feel bad.”

Turning your cycling training plan into a habit will require conscious effort to begin. Getting going will mean intentionally repeating what you have set out to do. But overtime as you repeat this behaviour it will start to become a routine and eventually habitual.

One hack we really like for habit forming is to stack new habits next to existing habits. For example, if you usually change out of work clothes when you get home, you could change straight into your cycling gear making it more likely that you will stick to your new cycling training plan.

There are unfortunately no shortcuts whatever people might say. Cycling and the wider sports and fitness industry is full of people who promise quick fix solutions. “Sign up to my programme and get a six pack in four weeks!” It’s never true.

Improving your cycling fitness takes repeated effort over time. Putting your cycling training plan into practice and repeating it over weeks and months is only possible if you stay injury free. Warming up and down with proper stretching is important, but deserves a separate post.

The other elements are progression and overload. The biology is that the body adapts just enough to deal with your new programme so to keep getting better you will need to gradually increase the amount of exercise you do over time. A simple way to do this would be to add 5% to the distance you cycle each week.

Litebike cycling training plan

How do I know if my cycling fitness has improved?

We highly recommend keeping some kind of record of your training. We previously wrote about the non-linear rate of progress and this can help especially when you feel like your improvement has stalled. We highly recommend Strava for this which is free and embeds a social element which we have found has helped us stick to our training commitments.

How do I take my cycling performance to the next level?

Once you’ve got your cycling training plan in check and are starting to see results you may want to turn your attention to your bike to look for the next level in performance. We’ve been building bikes in our garage for touring and racing for the past five years and have a small selection of high quality, ultra lightweight bike upgrades that are helping amateur and professional cyclists achieve results they did not think possible.

We recently got an email from Steve. Steve is an endurance cyclist and was fresh from a ride with his new titanium pedals:

I felt quicker and on the way back on my usual run I averaged 22.2 mph and beat my previous best”

We’re incredibly proud to help cyclists like Steve take their cycling to the next level. Sometimes the next one percent is closer than you think!

For more like this on cycling, sports psychology and wellbeing etc sign up to our newsletter, click here. To follow us on Instagram, click here. If you're after the very best lightweight bike parts you're in the right place. Ultra light carbon handlebars, carbon seatposts, UNO Kalloy stem, titanium pedals, waxed chains, RideNow TPU inner tubes etc all rigorously tested by us and a small team of cyclists. Click here to see more.




Screen Shot 2024-03-09 at 12.57.21.png

Overall Customer Rating

Don't just take our word for it

From the community:

Fantastic customer service

Fantastic customer service.

I added a note asking if the purchase could be sent out in time for the weekend and it turned up next day, very impressed - thank you


Stefan Gates

Screen Shot 2024-03-03 at 21.40_edited.jpg

Litebike are doing things right

great product and service, follow up e mails to make sure im happy with it is a nice touch, the seat post is well made and looks really good on the bike, size is perfect when measured


d styles

Screen Shot 2024-03-03 at 21.40_edited.jpg

Rapid service, thanks

Ordered a waxed chain late on Friday evening with a cheeky note that I'm racing Outlaw Half following weekend and hoping to receive in time. Had a response at 23.00 saying they would dispatch Sat morning. Received it 10.00 on Monday morning.

Amazing service!!!


Jeremy Brown

Screen Shot 2024-03-03 at 21.40_edited.jpg
  • Why is weight so important?
    Reducing weight is the most noticeable upgrade you can make. Lightweight bikes accelerate faster and are more responsive to the power you generate, helping you reach your performance potential. Lightweight means going faster and further, for longer. We help cyclists reach their goals - from competitive racers to weekend riders.
  • Do lightweight parts mean compromising durability?
    There is a sweet spot between weight and strength. Most of our bike parts are made from carbon fiber which is lightweight, stiff for optimal power transmission, and flexible in certain dimensions making cycling more comfortable. We put every part through rigorous testing by us and our small team of cyclists. This means you can be confident that our parts will perform for thousands of miles.
  • How come your bike parts are so lightweight for the price?
    The cycling industry is full of gimmicks, poor quality parts and expensive marketing. We are flipping the switch. We work directly with the same manufacturers producing parts for the top cycling brands, avoid the marketing gimmicks and expensive packaging, to bring you top quality products at a fraction of the cost.
  • Are your products sustainable?
    We aim to set the industry standard for high quality bike parts that last. We are the opposite of fast fashion. We are slow fashion - for bikes.
  • Is your packaging recyclable?
    We use biodegradable packaging for all our products wherever possible. We reuse packaging that comes to us too.
  • How long will it take for my order to arrive?
    We aim to deliver all UK mainland deliveries in 1-3 working days.
  • How can I track my order?
    We use Royal Mail’s tracked delivery service. You will get an email with tracking information so you can keep tabs on where your order is and exactly when it will arrive.
  • Do you ship to Europe?
    Yes. Please choose your country at the check out. We charge a flat fee of £5.50, roughly €6.30, for shipping. This is less than it costs us but we don't believe in Ryanair-style add-ons! You may need to pay some taxes on delivery.
  • What’s your returns policy?
    We’re only happy if you’re happy. You can return any part you bought from us within 30 days and we will give you a full refund. Please return the item in its original condition, with any labels attached.
  • Do your handlebars have external cabling?
    Yes. Our handlebars are easy to install for the home mechanic. The cabling is externally routed in a groove running along the bottom of the bars.
  • Are your handlebars DI2 compatible?
    While some customers have fitted DI2 this requires drilling extra holes and we wouldn't recommend it unless you are an experienced mechanic. Please get in touch if you have any questions.
  • Can I fit your carbon handlebars with an alloy stem?
    Yes, our carbon handlebars can be fitted to an alloy stem, such as our super light UNO Kalloy x Litebike.
  • Will the tubes fit my bike?
    Our TPU inner tubes are size 700 x 18-32c and fit a standard bike wheel. Unless you cycle a Brompton you probably have a standard wheel. 18-32c means the tube will inflate to fit a range of tire widths between 18 mm and 32 mm. Our Litebike Performance 50g tubes are suitable for disc and rim brakes. Our RideNow 35g tubes are also suitable for rim and disc brakes.
  • Are your inner tubes difficult to install?
    TPU inner tubes are a performance product and should be installed carefully. This includes cleaning the rim and inflating the tube to a max of 8psi before installing in the tyre. Anyone can install TPU inner tubes at home, but if you are fitting them for the first time it's worth following the instructions on the box carefully.
  • You also sell RideNow gravel TPU tubes. How are these different?
    Our RideNow gravel tubes are sized 700 x 32-47c. This means the tube will inflate to fit the full range of tire widths between 32 mm and 47 mm.
  • Can TPU inner tubes puncture?
    Like with butyl and latex tubes, TPU inner tubes can puncture. However, studies have shown that TPU is more puncture resistant than other materials. You can take steps to reduce the chances of getting a puncture, for example by cleaning your tyre to remove any debris and not inflating the tubes above 8psi outside the tyre.
  • Are TPU inner tubes sustainable?
    TPU is made from renewable sources like plant-based oils and non-toxic chemicals, making it an eco-friendly alternative to petroleum-based synthetic rubbers and plastics.
  • What are the benefits of a waxed chain?
    You will go faster. Studies have shown you will save up to 7 watts. You will save time cleaning. Wax repels dirt. You will help the planet.
  • How do I wax my own chain? It sounds complicated.
    Chain waxing can be done at home with an old slow cooker and a few other household items. Once you have done it once it’s easy to repeat. If waxing is not your thing, but you’re still after the performance benefits of a waxed chain, we sell a small selection of top quality, pre-waxed chains. We wax them ourselves in our workshop.
bottom of page