Not every cyclist needs to kick up their endurance so they can pedal a century ride or the 202-mile Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic. But there’s no doubt that having more endurance, which allows for longer, faster and more comfortable rides, is something that many bicyclists desire.
Luckily, it doesn’t have to be difficult to step up your cycling stamina. What follows are four easy ways to build your bicycling endurance. But be warned — you might just start thinking about that Seattle to Portland ride after all.
There’s not much that will get you in shape for riding longer than, well, riding longer. Assuming you already ride at least a little bit — around the neighborhood or as a commute — slowly add mileage and frequency to your routes. It can also be helpful to increase your speed and gradually blend in more terrain like steeper and longer hills to build strength and, ultimately, endurance. Some trainers recommend increasing your workouts by no more than 10 percent each week.
Push it — together
For many riders, nothing pushes them to get better than riding with other cyclists. There’s a drive and motivation to keep up with the pack while also encouraging others and being supported yourself. Find a group of riders with similar aspirations for endurance, plot out some goals — and work your way toward them as a group.
The next interval
Adding intervals into your training is a key way to boost stamina and endurance. Essentially cranking up your intensity for a set amount of time, then returning to a more leisurely pace, intervals, according to the Mayo Clinic, can help you burn more calories but also increase your aerobic capacity and, as a result, your endurance. For an introduction to intervals, divvy up a 30-minute bike ride — including a few minutes for warm-up and cool-down — into four-minute sections and alternate between four minutes of real hustle and four minutes of a more moderate pace. Ashleigh Kayser, owner of The Refinery, a fitness center in Portland, said intervals can also include hill climbs, progressive sprints and even indoor spin classes.
To the core
Having a strong core is key to bicycling endurance, as it helps maintain good posture and form. Without those, riders can get sloppy and end up wasting energy, according to Kayser. “When your body is strong and fully developed in a balanced way, you can avoid injury and fatigue,” she said. Easy exercises like crunches, planks and squats can do wonders for the core. Bicycling magazine also offers up a full core workout on its website.