5 Best Ways To Speed Up… Fast!

How to maximise your body to squeeze out every last watt.

Jason Sumner |

How to maximise your body to squeeze out every last watt. – By Jason Sumner


Once you’re up and riding regularly, it takes a brass-tacks approach to your training if you want to get even faster. So taking into account metrics such as VO2max, lactate threshold, and power output, here are five ways to increase the performance of your body’s energy systems.
1. Build tolerance: Train with hill repeats and other hard efforts to teach your body to withstand increased amounts of lactic acid. This allows you to continue riding above your lactate threshold for longer periods, which is important for climbing and sprinting. One common workout is intervals lasting from 20 seconds to three minutes, interspersed with 30 to 60 seconds of recovery. Keep the recovery interval short to make sure that the lactic acid level in your muscles stays high. Another method is to do longer 20- to 60-minute workouts at lactate threshold intensity with no recovery period.

2. Go the distance: Your VO2 max is largely determined by genetics, so improving it is not easy. High-intensity endurance work may raise your VO2 max. One popular method for raising it is to ride just below lactate threshold for as long as possible. (Use a heart rate monitor or power meter to track this.) Begin by trying to maintain this intensity for 10 to 30 minutes. As your endurance increases, lengthen your workouts accordingly.

3. Ride hard, rest easy: Use interval training to increase your lactate threshold. This prevents lactic acid accumulation from disrupting high-intensity efforts. In fact, such training can increase the amount of creatine, phosphate, and ATP in your system and can enhance the use of some of the lactic acid. Using a power meter or heart rate monitor as a guide, ride for 10 to 20 seconds at a pace that produces a pulse equal to 80 to 90 per cent of your VO2 max, then follow with a lower-intensity period of one to three minutes. As your lactate threshold rises, lengthen the work interval and shorten the recovery period. Be sure that you give yourself an easy or rest day after such intense training.


4. Mix it up: One of the most common mistakes is riding at the same speed all the time. That’s why so many coaches will tell you that their goal is to make you ride harder than you ever have before – and easier than you’ve ever gone before. If you just ride your bike at the same medium-hard pace all the time, you’ll just get tired.

5. Sleep: Strive for 7 to 9 hours of rest per night, especially during periods of intense training or racing.

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