Ride Faster When You're Tired

Attention roadies who love longer events -- metric and full centuries, for instance -- and want to improve their finishing times. This column is for you.

Let's suppose you've ridden the 161 km in 6 hours and 20 minutes. Now your goal is to break 6 hours. That'll take a 26.9-km average speed.

You might find it relatively easy to average 27.3-kph during the first 2 hours of a 5-hour training ride. The third hour, it's tougher. The fourth hour, you're straining. The fifth hour -- well, you're finding out the hard way that you aren't able to sustain your goal pace.

It's obvious: Training with long, steady miles isn't producing sufficient late-ride strength.

Riding fast when you're fresh isn't the problem. The stumbling block is the ability to ride fast when you're fried. You need to train in a way that helps you overcome this "sticking point."

Here's how:

Do most of your next long ride (4-5 hours) at a steady and moderate pace that's slightly below your goal for the century. Keep something in the tank.

In the last hour, include 2 repeats of 20 minutes each. Ride at an intensity of about 85% of your max heart rate. The effort should feel "hard" -- at least 8 on 10-level scale of perceived exertion. Cruise moderately for about 10 minutes between the hard efforts.

Important! Be sure you're well hydrated and have been consuming enough calories on the ride before you start these intervals. Riding the last hour this way several times in training helps develop the ability to go fast when your body's tired. It'll help you overcome end-of-ride fatigue and get that personal record.

at Thursday, May 08, 2008  


Ron said... Mon May 26, 12:46:00 PM 2008  

good advice. thanks.

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