Ride faster and increase your performance levels by following a number of proven tips. Unless you are a casual cyclist, speed is probably an important factor in your ride. Experts agree that certain, proven techniques can increase performance. Some of these tips may seem like common sense, but you are likely to find a few that will make a big difference in your cycling experience.
Ride Faster by Following These Cycling Tips:
- Ride with others: Studies have shown that cyclists ride faster when they ride with others. Part of this is due to drafting with the pack, but there is more to it than that! Riding with your peers helps push you to achieve higher performance levels, especially if you are one of the slower ones in the group. It is human nature to want to keep up with the group, and meet or exceed the speed of others.
- HIIT it: High-intensity interval training has been proven to help increase performance in a number of ways. It helps build endurance by calling upon high-speed muscle fibers when cycling. It also helps your body become more effective at burning fat for fuel. Short sessions of HIIT can make a big difference in speed and performance levels.
- Fuel your ride: I have seen a number of cyclists slurp down water throughout their ride, only to reach a slump many miles in. Instead, experts recommend that you fuel your body with a sports drink throughout your ride. Steer clear of sports drinks with zero calories. When you ride at a high intensity, the carbs in sports drinks help preserve stores of glycogen and improve energy levels throughout your ride.
- Stretch properly: Generally, I balk at the suggestion that stretching be reserved for post-rides alone. After all, no matter what your sport, stretching improves flexibility and reduces the rate of injury. But stretching before cycling relaxes your muscles and can impede performance levels. If you’re trying for top speed, reserve stretching for after your cycling session.
- Pedal efficiently: Monitor the position of your body throughout your ride in order to ride faster. If you haven’t been properly fitted to your bike, now is a great time! Pedal with your ankles neutral, as foot and ankle flexion decreases pedaling efficiency. It also increases muscle fatigue. Riding in an improper stance and increase pressure on your back, which can cause discomfort during your ride.
- Train your muscles for optimum speed: Hit the gym for some leg presses and squats. Push beyond your usual reps. Some experts recommend completing a number of additional reps at a lower weight after your initial 10 -12 reps. This helps target slow-twitch muscle fibers, to condition your muscles more effectively.
- Drop some weight: It’s common sense – the heavier you are, the more difficult your ride. You can ride faster the less you weigh. Fortunately, cyclists usually have no trouble shedding extra weight. After all, cycling has been shown to increase metabolism for many hours. Shed extra weight by eating properly, including low-fat proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy carbohydrates. Every pound you drop will help increase your speed.
- Vitamins count: Start the day with a multivitamin to make sure you are covering your daily required intake. Individuals who are low in vitamins can experience excessive levels of muscle fatigue, poor muscular performance, and a difficulty transporting oxygen throughout the body. If you experience higher than usual levels of fatigue, check with your general practitioner. Over time, depleted vitamin and mineral levels can adversely affect your health.
- Enjoy some rest days: Working rest days into your training regime can actually improve speeds. It may seem counterintuitive, but taking regular rest days allows your body time to recover from endurance training. Pushing yourself at high-intensity levels day after day can actually have a negative effect on speed. So enjoy your rest days – you have earned them!
- Be aerodynamic: Is your gear aerodynamic? Do you have a jacket flapping about, stalling your ride? Is your position on the bike holding you back? If you’re really serious about increasing speeds, check out aero wheels, skinsuits, and handlebars. Yes, not a cheap answer, but it can make a difference.
- Hire a coach: It may be time to bring in a professional. A coach can help create a training regimen that will be affective for you. A good coach will incorporate rest periods and days off, along with high-intensity training days. A coach works great if you have specific goals in mind. Set up regular objectives and ensure that you are meeting them. After all, you want to be able to SEE the gains that you make.
We all want to ride faster and ride stronger! The tips listed above can certainly help make a difference, but often what it comes down to is hard work! As cyclists ourselves, we know the value of time on the bike, both physically and mentally. Keep up your spirit, ride hard, and ride safe.
As always, if you are ever involved in a crash or just have questions about bicycling laws in your state, contact Kass & Moses for more information.