You're not going to get much faster on your bicycle if you just ride hills or cruise the flats at a steady pace all the time. Here are some speed workouts to help increase your quickness on the bike, and put yourself ahead of the pack.
A Need for Speed
The ability to go fast not only helps you "turn it on" for a race, it also helps improve your overall fitness. And who better to teach cycling speed technique than a triathlon coach.
Kirsty Marritt has been competing in triathlons since 1994. She has completed 10 Ironmans, The Leadville Trail 100, several 24-hour Mountain biking events, and countless half-Ironmans and marathons. She studied endurance training theory and is currently coaching five Ironman competitors as they work to get faster and reach their training goals.
Pick up your pace with these speed workouts from Marritt.
Pyramid Speed Workout
Find a ride where you won't have to stop a lot, such as a bike path or a road without many traffic lights. The ride should be a relatively flat one.
- Spin for about 30 minutes to warm up.
- 8-minute hard effort: Ride as hard as you can maintain for a full eight minutes. Use whatever gear you want, as long as you can stay in it for the whole set. You can adjust to harder gears as the intervals get shorter.
- 4-minute recovery: Slow down to a nice, comfortable resting cadence, but don't stop pedaling.
- 4-minute hard effort
- 2-minute recovery
- 2-minute hard effort
- 1-minute recovery
- 1-minute hard effort
- 30-second recovery
- 1-minute hard effort
- Climb back up to eight minutes
"Your last eight-minute push should be your hardest effort," Marritt says. "When hitting these intervals, you should be looking for a perceived exertion of about eight on a scale of one to 10."
Improve Your Cycling Speed On A Trainer
Warm up for about 10 minutes at a light spin. Then find a comfortable sprinting gear and go 10 minutes with 30 seconds of all-out sprint followed by 30 seconds of easy rest. This should really tax your lungs and get your heart pumping.
Note: You should be gasping for air by the end, but be sure not to burn so much gas on the first sprint that the rest of them suffer. Eventually, you can increase the time to more than 10 minutes, but don't go past 20 minutes.Search for a cycling event.