Gradually increase the load on your cardiovascular system when cycling, forcing it to become stronger and last longer. Learn more about how cycling can increase your stamina.
Do short, intense interval workouts
Interval training is the best way to increase endurance without spending hours on the bike every day. During interval training, you vary the pace between very intense effort and recovery. The intense intervals are 30 seconds to 5 minutes, and the recovery intervals are either equal, more, or less than the intense intervals, depending on the fitness level and exercise program.
This exercise induces physiological adaptations in the skeletal muscles that promote increased endurance.
Take some longer rides
As effective as interval training is, it is intense and should not be done more than two days a week on non-consecutive days. You can have a couple of slower rides of varying lengths on the other days.
If you are training for an endurance event, it is a good idea to include one or two longer rides each week to accustom your body to be on the bike for hours at a time. Otherwise, a couple of easy to moderate rides in less than an hour will help you maintain your fitness.
Start small, go big
Set weekly, monthly, and annual goals to increase your endurance. Start with short interval workouts and short workouts at a moderate pace. Every week or every other week, add distance to your long rides, add more intervals or increase the intensity.
Many cyclists think that extra muscle mass weighs them down on the bike. It could not be further from the truth. Resistance training effectively overloads the muscles and puts stress on them to recover more robustly than before. Strengthening the primary muscles involved in cycling – hamstrings, quads, and buttocks muscles – makes them less tired on the bike, so you have more endurance.
Set aside time for recovery
Building endurance is not just about what you do. Quite often, it’s about what you do not do. Overtraining can stop your progress and lead to fatigue and injuries. Be sure to take at least one day of recovery each week, and do not train hard on subsequent days, unless it is rare and part of your specific exercise program.
Stretching and mobility work will also help recovery and endurance by preventing injuries and improving movement and functionality. After warming up on the bike, get off and take some dynamic stretches, such as walking lunges and walking knee movements. These movements prepare the body for the work to come.
Diet and sleep
A healthy diet and enough sleep are essential to improve endurance. Fatigue off the bike will only lead to more fatigue on the bike. And a low-nutrient diet will not provide the fuel you need to continue. Make sure you get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night and eat a diet with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats from vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.