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Endurance in cycling: Oli's Top 5 tips for better endurance and performance

Endurance in cycling: Oli's Top 5 tips for better endurance and performance
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hether you want to reach your full potential in cycling and cross the finishing line first or take a relaxing bike ride this summer, these 5 tips will help you increase your cycling endurance. I implemented these tips in preparation for the Chasing Cancellara 2020 race. I also share these endurance tips with my amateur athletes, whom I coach for cycling races within the scope of Endurance Coaching.

Endurance in cycling Tip 1: 80/20% rule

80% of your training should be low intensity, easy and long rides. Not moderate, i.e. not medium intensity. Otherwise you run the risk of overstimulating your body and not recovering enough for the really intensive training sessions. At the same time, the stimulus is not high enough to significantly build the cardiovascular & muscle strength.

This principle also applies to strength training, where a short intensive workout once a week achieves better muscular and cardiopulmonary results than hours of training at moderate intensity.

20% remains for interval training: 1-2-3-4 minutes interval training at max. capacity, depending on the fitness level of the respective athlete. Do not sprint longer: sprints are max. 30sec.

Endurance in cycling Tip 2: Drink enough, eat enough

Most people drink too little and get muscle cramps because there is too little water available in the body. The muscles are not supplied with water and the salt is sweated out.

In addition, adequate nutrition is necessary: If you have never ridden a bike for a long time (more than 2 hours), it is essential to eat something every 30 minutes, e.g. a snack bar.

Endurance in cycling Tip 3: Prioritise Sleep

I cannot emphasise enough how important sleep is. These top tips for better sleep should help. When I come home after training, I drink a protein shake, then I take a cold shower (for better blood circulation), then eat, stretch my legs. Then put on compression socks to stimulate the blood circulation. Lie on the couch for 30-45 minutes, relax or go straight to bed.

How to sleep better during competition weeks?

If you cannot fall asleep before the competition, try some sort of autogenic training for a deep and restful sleep and do breathing exercises in bed. I close my eyes and say, "I'm getting tired, I'm getting sleepy, I’m falling asleep now." While doing so, I take a deep breath in and out and tap the tips of my thumbs on other fingertips. I usually fall asleep in 3 minutes.

You can learn this method over time and use it anytime, anywhere. I have been using it for years and can put myself asleep at any time of the day.

If this doesn't help either, then enjoy a glass of red wine, very slowly with no judgement or guilty feeling. Crazy? I believe it's worse to participate at a cycling race not rested and stressed out.

Endurance in cycling Tip 4: Don't compare yourself with others

Don't let others confuse you with their training and endurance data; don’t think you have to train like a pro. Don't be put off by anything that’s not yours, but train so that you have work-life balance. You do not need that much time. Instead of training 20-30 hours like a paid full-time pro cyclist, you can reach your absolute maximum with 5 hours of training a week. How?

You have to have the will to go to your mental and physical limit in these 20% of endurance trainings. With 3 specific interval workouts you can achieve more than with 10 hours of basic training for endurance. That's all I'll disclose here. So far this has proven to be a recipe for success for me and the amateur athletes that I coach privately and at AURUM. Talk to me at your next AURUM strength training at Löwenplatz. I will gladly tell you more.

I experimented a lot and journaled my entire endurance training plan, cycling routine and strength training protocol for better performance on my blog. Check it out!

Endurance sports and training despite a full-time job?

Yes, as serial father in a full-time management role you can prepare for a competition such as Ultra Fondo in 5 hours a week. This also applies to women in endurance sports, whereby in this case we also pay attention to the hormones. Read a story by Esther Baumgartner, an experienced Swiss bike marathon rider, who increased her endurance in the FTP test by 12% after an 8-week-long training program which included AURUM HIT strength training, among others.

I personally work full-time and invest 10-16 hours of training to “collect” 450 km of cycling a week.

Endurance in cycling Tip 5: Adequate strength training and recovery

Short and crisp strength training is necessary to reach your peak power. Of course, it varies from case to case. But if you want to triple your leg power, you need to love the AURUM leg press. Here, I’d like to emphasise though that it's not about you doing strength training. It’s about how well you design your training plan and your training protocols and what you do in the recovery phase.

The other day I coached a female athlete who trained 16-20 hours a week. Her HRV parameters were poor. Which meant that her nervous system's ability to relax was decreased, which in turn had a negative effect on performance. She was overtrained. So the AURUM principle also applies in endurance training for cyclists: recovery after a short intensive session is just as important as the training itself.

See you soon on the curvy mountain roads or at the starting line!

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