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Long Distance Cycling Tips

Long Distance Cycling Tips


Long distance cycling training is often difficult as you have to combine endurance training, speed training and also mentally prepare for the challenge of being on the bike for so long.

When building up distance and endurance on the bike, start at a comfortable distance and gradually build up by adding approximately 30 minutes each ride. Another way to work on your endurance is to calculate your maximum heart rate, and then using a heart rate monitor, ride at this max heart rate for a one hour ride. This method of training gives you a really good foundation fitness, which will help you last the distance. It is also useful if you are struggling to find the time to get your long rides in.

Incorporate hills, sprints and structured intervals. Structured intervals e.g. flat out efforts for 3 minutes and repeating this throughout your ride will really help improve fitness and recovery after completing a hill.

If you’re not managing to get out on the bike during the week, incorporate functional training into your week. This might include kettlebell and plyometric training to increase overall strength and endurance of your legs. The main focus should be on a glut strength, as most power on the bike should be generated from this muscle group.

Pre Long Bike Rides

Before undertaking a long ride, make sure your bike is set up properly and spend the money on a professional bike fitting. Incorrect saddle position may lead to lower back or knee pain in particular.

When on your long ride and if doing an event, try to drink approximately 500mls of water per hour, especially if riding on a warm day. Eat little and often, e.g. muesli bar, gels, jellies. Stick with food you know agrees with you, and food you have practiced eating during training.

Always have an emergency pack with you. This should include spare inner tubes, a pump, extra cash and a phone.

In order to be able to sit comfortably on the bike for a long period of time, stretch all major muscle groups regularly and always after a long ride.

When on the bike try to:

  • Change hand positions from the bar to break level to prevent pins and needles into your fingers or wrist pain.
  • Perform regular shoulder rolls to decrease neck and upper back tension
  • Stand up when on a flat stretch of road and let your heel drop off the back of the pedal to stretch through the back of your legs and give your butt a rest from the saddle.
  • Loosen your shoes if your feet start to feel hot or swollen, as they will tend to swell if cycling for a long period of time

Facing into a long bike ride is a mental as well as physical challenge. Break the distance down in your head and set yourself mini goals to reach as you go along. This will make the long distance seem a lot more manageable.

If you are training for a long cycle and have any niggles you need sorting, contact us here today.

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