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Training for Endurance Cycling – 80/20 and Strength & Conditioning

The key to cycling faster and longer?

Train slower

Lift weights

That’s it. Nothing too complicated.

But you will still read plenty of blog posts, books or just people talking at the gym:

“High Intensity Intervals – that’s what you need to be doing”

“Why would you want to lift weights if you just want to cycle 100 miles?”

No pain, no gain

(usually said by someone who has just injured themselves

or is about to)

Ignore them. At best they are well-intentioned but don’t understand what it means to train for endurance sports. At worst they are going to get you injured, maybe badly enough that you won’t be able to take part. Trust us – you want to train slow and lift weights.

Let’s look at both parts of that:

Train Slow

We often have a natural inclination to always cycle as fast as we can. Even if we are experienced cyclists and know that we need to pace ourselves, it’s still hard to hold back so we have enough left in the tank to finish. But when we are training, why not always go as hard as possible? That’s when we get the most benefit, right? When we feel like our heart and lungs are about to burst – that must be good for something, surely? There’s all those articles in the weekend papers about High Intensity training, written by a trainer to the stars. He must know!

So, on one level, the guy in the papers/down the gym has got it partly right. Intensity is a useful training tool. And if you were simply trying to improve your overall health, burn some fat and hopefully reduce your chances of heart disease, then short, brief bouts of highly intensive exercise (1-2 minutes at a time), are certainly an efficient way of doing so.

But that’s not you. You want to do more than just ‘get fit’. You want to push yourself. You want to prove something to yourself. You want to go above and beyond what normal people expect. You want to cycle your first century. Or do it for 6 days straight. So, you are going to need a different approach