One of the most common questions we get asked in the studio is:
“Do you need to ride more to ride faster?”
It makes sense right, with most everyday tasks, the more we do them, the better we get at them.
When we first learnt to ride a bike, hours of practise helped us improve.
When we think about fitness, the more we do, in theory the fitter we get.
But how much time should we dedicate each week to this goal? 3 hours? 10 hours? More..?
We’ve seen riders dedicate 2-3 hard sessions per week coupled with an outdoor long ride once every 1-4 weeks who have seen their fitness increase (that’s via an increase in power output/speed on the road or drop in their finish times)
It happens so often we continually ask ourselves, what is the most effective way for a busy individual to get fitter and faster?
We’ve found it’s not just about using the best program.
It’s more about does the program fit with YOU and YOUR LIFE.
Answer me one question, many plates can you realistically spin under control when you have:
😁 Riding your bike to do,
🚴🏻♀️🚴🏼♂️ You want to see improvement in your cycling,
👨👩👧👦 Occasionally you should see your family I guess…
💃🏾🕺🏻 Then you might have social time with friends,
💻😓 And also you have the the big one, keeping on top of your workload.
We can keep a close eye on all of our plates spinning, but the problem lyes in when we want one of them to spin a little quicker.
We might take our eyes off the rest to make it happen and the risk of one of them falling is increased.
We hear from so many riders that feel bad for going out on their weekly long ride and leaving their family behind, or even squeezing in a long ride at 5am to get it done so they can spend the rest of the day with their family (probably feeling shattered and falling asleep on the sofa later that afternoon).
You might be able to work harder or longer hours at the sacrifice of your fitness
You might be able to ride your bike more frequently at the sacrifice of seeing your family.
But is there a better way..?
We think so, and this is our recommendation for busy individuals looking to improve their cycling:
✅ Short and intense sessions to boost your fitness
✅ Structured training that challenges you week by week stopping you from plateauing
✅ Focus on quality rides over quantity, leading to more spare time, making you happier and enjoying the experience more.
❌ You don’t need to spend HOURS in the saddle every weekend, because your are “supposed to”.
❌ You don’t need junk miles or to ride for the sake of riding (unless you have time and enjoy it)
❌ You don’t need to fret over finding the “best” training plan as the best plan will only work if it fits in with YOU.
When we take away the “stress” of trying to find time for more training, you’ll ride happier and with less pressure.
Instead of trying to ride more…
Instead of trying to find more time in the week for riding and ultimately failing (leading to getting more and more frustrated)…
We focus on less.
We’ve seen riders dropping their riding friends on climbs, seeing their bike times lower and feeling a lot more confident in their riding ability so that when it comes to event day, they know that they are in really good condition and ready to go.
Here’s a quick insight into how you can implement something similar into your training regime:
Short, intense session of up to 45 minutes, including short, hard repetitions designed to increase your power on the bike.
Example: Ride 2 minutes hard (like really hard) and ride for 2 minutes easy – repeat this six times.
No fancy equipment required for this one, however if you have a power meter or a heart rate monitor, these are great for tracking and measuring your performance.
Session up to 60 minutes, including longer, more tempo style repetitions, these sessions should feel uncomfortable but at an intensity you could sustain for an hour if you absolutely had to.
Example: Ride 12 minutes “uncomfortable” with 3 minutes easy recovery – repeat this three times.
Long Ride, based around your target event will dictate the length of this, but around 90-120 minutes is a good weekly amount, with monthly “longer” rides for those looking to build their fitness up ready for a century (100 mile) ride as an example.
Example: Ride 90 minutes at a steady/easy intensity. Maintain a high cadence throughout the ride in an easy gear.
This can be a steady/social ride with friends or solo – rider’s choice!
With all these sessions, make sure you warm up and cool down well (and stay safe on the road, especially if you are riding hard).
These three rides should form the essentials of your training week – we can boost or reduce the total time each week based around your availability (remember, the plan must fit around YOU)
Additional time you have available can be spent on recovery rides, or if your fitness allows, an extra training session.
Chances are, striving for less hours of training each week will:
🚴🏼♂️ Leave you with far more recovery time (often overlooked by many cyclists)
🚴🏻♀️ Leave you feeling less fatigued/tired day to day (no one likes you when you are tired and angry…!) 😉
🚴🏼♂️ You’ll have more time for YOU and your family
🚴🏻♀️ And you’ll improve your performances on the bike too – if you aren’t currently adding in any variation in your cycling speed or intensity, you’ve got a some big gains that can be made right away.
Pop a comment or a question below to let us know what you think or what you will do to change up your training in the future.