Achieve your larger goals with this advice on how to increase your bike mileage
Cycling is fun. The wind is blowing in your face and you’re generating your own power. Naturally, we want to go further and further, push the boundaries. Testing ourselves is one way to build our self-esteem and learn about mental fortitude. Setting a bigger goal can be overwhelming when you look at the goal by itself. Follow our guide for the best way to increase your bike mileage. You’ll grow as a cyclist, reduce the chance of injury, and work towards your big goal! Pro tip: if you’re just getting started, avoid the roads and ride on these cyclist-friendly routes.
Do the work
This is self-explanatory! Whether it’s a rest day or your longest ride ever, you have to do the work. You don’t need to set records every time, but you do need to be consistent. That’s how you’ll build your stamina and teach your body to ride further and further. If there’s a day where you just can’t squeeze in a ride or workout (because life happens), don’t stress. Don’t try to make it up the next day. Squeeze in a foam roll or stretch session if you can and keep moving forward with your plan! Make sure you practice these 5 bike handling skills every time you ride.
If your training plan calls for a rest day, TAKE THE REST DAY. This allows your body the chance to recover from the previous workout. If you get the itch to do something, make it active recovery. Foam roll throughout the day. Set aside time for deep stretching. Take an online yoga class. Those three options will speed up the recovery process and get you ready for the next day. Pro tip: successful triathletes take advantage of rest days. Check out 7 more habits of successful triathletes.
Increase your stamina
As you increase your bike mileage, you begin to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Weekend rides begin to get longer and longer. As you hit new distances, it’s important to remain focused on form and technique. You want to remain as efficient as possible. Focusing on your form will allow you to generate power efficiently. This will also help with your body’s ability to consume oxygen.
You want to ease into your ride to conserve energy. Start at a pace that feels effortless. You should be able to have a conversation. As you ride, you’ll eventually pick up speed to help with your stamina later in the ride.
Build lower body strength
You’ll need to prepare your body for completing your bigger goals. Break up rides with weight workouts. You don’t need to become chiseled or gain muscle mass. Focus on lighter weights with higher repetitions. You want to push the body, burn fat, and build lean muscle. Working muscles differently than when you’re cycling is critical. It helps prevent the overuse of the same muscles.
Plan your route
Before your long ride, make sure you have a plan. You should ride as consistently as possible to build your stamina. Planning your route reduces the chance you have to stop and check where you are or ask for directions. For longer rides, planning your route allows you to refuel at a gas station pitstop. You can grab a bite to eat, rest for a minute, and use the restroom. Continue to refuel during your ride, topping off with a few hundred calories every hour. Lastly, let someone know your planned route and when you should return.
Set smaller goals
On your next long ride, push yourself to ride further than you did last weekend. When preparing to increase your mileage, you need to slowly teach your body that it’s capable of completing longer distances. You’ll eventually see that last week’s distance that was difficult is now easier. Slowly but surely increasing your mileage will put you in a prime position to really crush longer and longer distances. Pro tip: stay motivated and reward yourself when you complete the smaller goals you set.
There are many other factors that can impact how you increase your bike mileage: diet, hydration, nutrition, cross-training, injuries, etc. Those items can be built-in or dealt with as you progress. Just remember, you don’t just wake up and ride these longer distances. This will take time, persistence, consistency. Do the work, set smaller goals, rest when you’re supposed to, and you will achieve whatever goals are in front of you! Stay safe and follow the cycling rules of the road.