I get asked all the time, “How can I ride faster?” Over the years I have given all sorts of tips for new and experienced recreational riders. Thought I would share some of these tried and true tips and some new ones.
My usual response to new recreational and competitive cyclists:
- Hire a coach
- Loose Weight
- Learn to eat right
- Use a periodized training plan
- Improve pedaling efficiency through higher cadence
- Learn what your strengths and weaknesses are
- Use work outs that address weaknesses and add work outs that support strengths
My usual response to experienced recreational and competitive cyclists:
- All of the above +
- Hire a sports nutritionist
- Hire a sports psychologist
- Ride and train with more volume and consistency
- Get out of your comfort zone and train and race with stronger riders
- Train with a power meter
- Strength train year round
- Utilize Plyometrics 4-6 weeks before the race season begins
So I have been practicing, experimenting and rethinking a topic that is often over looked when it comes to becoming faster on the bike. The term faster is a bit over used when talking about cycling. One cyclists “fast” is another cyclists “quick”. Speed can be thought of in a few ways: Explosive speed, Quickness and Overall Speed.
Explosive Speed is simply the ability of a cyclists to sprint for short distances
Explosive Speed is often thought of something only road racers need to work on. Explosive Speed is also needed by recreational cyclists to get themselves out of dangerous situations such as getting away from a chasing dog or getting around an automobile. I’ll admit that explosive speed isn’t a primary concern for recreational athletes but for road racing, CX and MTB racers explosive speed is a must!
Explosive Speed Requires that training focuses on quick forceful repetitions in short time frames with longer recovery periods to make physical adaptations to produce the necessary power to propel a cyclist at top speed in short distances. A 3-4 week period in the off-season of using heavy weights for the development of Maximum Strength will also help greatly.
Quickness is those short moments in the middle of race or ride where a cyclist needs to close a gap or respond to surges with in a group.
Quickness is an aspect of speed development that I feel gets overlooked often. I like to think of quickness as the ability to respond quickly to changes in overall speeds.
Quickness requires that a cyclist to have the ability to react quickly to sudden cadence changes. The sudden cadence changes requires that a rider be able to ride at a high cadence (90-100 RPM) and be able to quickly rev up their cadence over 100-120+ RPM repeatedly. To be able to make these quick changes in cadence takes usually 6-8 weeks in the off season utilizing pedaling drills and short high cadence intervals. The introduction of Plyometrics just before the race season begins will also assist in the development of fast twitch muscle fibers.
Overall Speed refers to how fast a rider can ride from start to finish.
Overall Speed is what cyclists generally thinks of when it comes to riding faster but as we have already learned there is more to riding fast than just pushing your average speed. The desire to become faster over all is a great goal that utilizes sevral of the same training principles of riding quickly.
Overall Speed requires that cyclists ride in the tempo and threshold training zones (Zones 3-4) frequently in an effort to develop the necessary strength, power and endurance required to ride. Utilizing resistance and core strength training will further help a cyclist to strengthen major muscle groups and supporting stabilizing core muscles.
Many of my readers and athletes I coach are probably saying “We have heard all of the above, over and over again.” So my question to you is, are you actually doing the above? Do you even know how to utilize the above tips? What are you doing to learn how to incorporate these tips? Are you using the right timing in your training plans to introduce these tips to your plan? If you answer yes than either you are incredibly experienced or you have hired a coach. If you answered no to many of the above items the big question is how can you turn the no to a yes. Hire a coach or be ready to consume massive amounts of information on coaching, nutrition, psychology, physiology, tactics, analytics…
If you simply want to get faster try our Speed Development plan. Just give us a call and we will set the plan up for you in 1 Business Day!
6 Week Speed Development Plan – Cost $75.00 contact us This plan is intended for cyclists who want to be faster on the bike any time of the year. The goal for this plan is to help cyclists increase their speed. The plan incorporates on and off bike work outs. The on bike work outs can be done on a trainer, rollers or outdoors if weather permits. The off bike work outs utilize body weight exercises. Requirements for this plan include a reliable bike, trainer, and access to safe flat roads. Roads should have very few turns and hills and very little traffic.This plan will be made available to you through a new Training Peaks basic account or your premium account. The plan will include detailed instructions and notes on all workouts. You will get daily reminders emailed to your email address letting you know what workouts you need to complete on a given day.
NEW: 6 Week Explosive Speed Development Plan – Cost $85.00 contact us This plan is intended for cyclists who want to become faster and more confident sprinters. The goal for this plan is to help cyclists develop their explosive power. The plan incorporates on and off bike work outs. The on bike work outs can be done on a trainer, rollers or outdoors if weather permits. The off bike work outs utilize body weight exercises and Plyometrics. Requirements for this plan include a reliable bike, trainer, and access to safe flat and or hilly roads. Roads should have a mix of turns, hills, flats and very little traffic. This plan will be made available to you through a new Training Peaks basic account or your existing Training Peaks account. The plan will include detailed instructions and notes on all workouts. You will get daily reminders emailed to your email address letting you know what workouts you need to complete on a given day.
Really want to get fast? Order both plans for $125.00 or have us create a custom training plan just for you!
Until the next tip have a great ride,