Your skill and mettle is not enough to win that bike race you’ve been dreaming of. Aside from having the right gear and accessories, stamina is also very important. The last thing you want is your body quitting on you halfway through the race. And we want you to win! That’s why we’ve compiled these tips on how to improve your biking endurance.
1. Know your fuel reserves
Your body is like Formula 1 cars. When you run out of fuel, you stop. A good biking endurance comes from knowing your fuel reserves. These are glucose in the blood, glycogen in the liver and muscles, and triglyceride in the muscles or fat.
Your biking endurance depends on your supply of glycogen in the muscles and liver or glucose in the blood. The lack of these will stop you in your tracks.
2. Feast on a pre-ride breakfast
So you have a good amount of glycogen stocked up? That’s good! But it doesn’t guarantee maximum biking endurance. Before your race or ride, eat a breakfast of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Feast on these at least 3 hours before you head out.
Timing is important. If you eat your breakfast an hour before heading out, you’ll most likely ride with a full stomach and low endurance. If time is tight, a carb-rich drink is a good alternative.
3. Up your carbohydrate intake
Speaking of carbohydrates, increasing your carb intake will help improve your biking endurance. Stock up on carbohydrates two days before the long ride.
We recommend that you eat carbs with plenty of water every three hours. This technique helps increase the glycogen levels in your muscles.
4. Keep yourself hydrated and fed throughout the ride
You will need around 400 calories for long distance rides. We all know riding full is counter-productive. So, start fasted (provided you already stock up on your carbohydrates days before) and feed every 20 minutes into the ride. Consuming 60 grams of carbohydrates per hour (that’s 20 grams every 20 minutes) is a good starting point.
If carbohydrates are not your thing when riding, you can improve your biking endurance by consuming glucose. Research shows that bikers who consume 30 grams of honey every 20 miles are faster and more efficient than those who rely on water alone.
The study also shows that those who rode with a glucose diet arrived in their destination 2.75 minutes earlier. That’s a big difference!
5. Train your body
The first four tips will help you bike longer and harder, but they are just short-term solutions. If you want your biking endurance to improve for the long term, train your body. There are several ways to do this:
This stamina training is perfect if you are preparing for century rides. Here’s a sample plan:
|Week 1||30-min easy ride||45 min or 10-miles ride||45 min or 10-miles ride||30-min easy ride||Rest
|25-30 miles ride||15-20 miles ride|
|Week 2||30-min easy ride||45 min or 10-miles ride||45 min or 15-miles ride||30-min easy ride||Rest||30-35 miles ride||20-25 miles ride|
|Week 3||30-min easy ride||45 min or 20-miles ride||45 min or 20-miles ride||30-min easy ride||Rest||35-40 miles ride||20-30 miles ride|
|Week 4||30-min easy ride||45 min or 10-miles ride||Rest||Rest||30-min easy ride||25-30 miles ride||20-25 miles ride|
For the second month, increase the mileage of your indoor and outdoor rides to 35 miles. By the third week, go for 45-50 miles.
For the third month, build from 45 to 50 miles up to 65-70 miles towards the month’s end.
Before your race, do an easy 45-minute ride to relax your body. Have a good rest one day before the event.
Although biking is a predominantly lower body sport, you should not take your upper body for granted. Having a strong core prevents back pain and fatigue. While strong arms help you ride easily on any terrain. All of this contributes to your overall biking endurance.
Some upper body exercises you can try are:
Position your dumbbell vertically and hold it close to your chest. Put your feet wide apart (about a shoulder’s width) with your toes pointing slightly outwards. This is your starting position.
Drop your hips down to the ground while keeping your shoulders anchored and your chest open. Use your glutes to go back to your starting position. Perform up to 12 repetitions for 2-3 sets. Put a 90 second recovery time between sets.
Push-up to Side Plank
For your starting position, do a push-up — either on your toes or on your knees. Rotate your body to a side plank while making sure you are resting on the side of your feet, not your ankles! Stack your hips vertically.
Next, lift one hand and reach towards to sky. Hold this position for about 5 seconds and then go back to your starting position. Perform another push-up followed by a side plank using the other side.
Contract your abdominal muscles throughout the exercise to keep your spine lengthened. For each set, do 8 push-ups and 8 side planks for each side (alternating).
Repeat for 3 sets with 60 seconds of recovery time in between.
There you have it! Remember that biking is not just about how good your bike is. It’s also about your body. We hope you find these tips helpful in increasing your biking endurance!