Once the base work is done, it is important to pedal out of your comfort zone and expose your legs to some harder training to improve your speed and ensure that you don’t get stuck at one ‘set pace’.
To add more structure and pace, choose a couple of midweek bike rides, add some variety and you should start noticing improvements in your cadence, accelerations and overall responsiveness. Here are some speed workouts to help increase your pace on the bike.
1. Increase your cadence
This high-cadence training drill will help to develop a faster leg speed and a more efficient cycling style. Fast feet workout: Choose a flat (ish) route and warm up for at 15 – 20 minutes at your normal cadence. Gradually increase your RPM until you start to “bounce” in the saddle and at this point you start to reduce your cadence slightly so that you no longer bounce. Sustain this higher cadence for 1 or 2 minutes before gradually slowing back down to your normal rate for 5 minutes before trying again, aiming for 3-6 sets over the course of your ride. Cool down for 15 minutes.
Group ride: Before you start your training ride, the group decides on an ‘acceleration marker’ ie. a red post box, speed limit sign or blue car. Depending on the group size, when an acceleration marker is noticed, any rider can accelerate away from the pack and lead the interval as long as he/she is able. For road safety reasons, the riders behind don’t pass the lead rider, but sit in behind holding onto the wheel in front. When the lead rider is through, he/she will sit up to begin recovery, and the riders behind follow suit. The next interval begins when the next rider accelerates.
Solo ride: During a medium length bike ride of 1-2 hours surge for 1 minute every 10 minutes or so, or when an ‘acceleration marker’ is spotted. This surge is not terribly hard—perhaps only 2-3 mph faster than your normal speed, then simply return to your relaxed rhythm
3. Acceleration training
on a short bike ride of 1-2 hours practice accelerating, by changing to a higher gear and increasing your cadence by getting out the saddle for a few seconds to ‘accelerate’ down the road, before resuming back in the saddle again. Hold this faster pace while seated for a minute or so (no more than two minutes), before resuming your normal cycling pace. Recover for at least five minutes before you repeat. The effort level and intensity is outside of your comfort zone and you should look forward to a recovery, but this is not a maximum effort or sprint. Gradually increase the number of accelerations per ride over a period of weeks.