Whether you ride recreationally or competitively, cycling is a rewarding exercise that is fun and allows you to hit your fitness goals. Anyone can do it, no matter how old or out of shape you may be. But like with any other physical activity, cycling takes time and practice to get good at. And if your goal is to ride long distances or compete, you must improve your cycling stamina to perform at your best. So, to help you increase your endurance, here are five tips that will enable you to ride longer and maximize your workouts.

1. Fuel Your Body Before Riding

Fueling your body with the right food is essential for any serious cyclist looking to improve their stamina. Hearty and healthy meals eaten before a ride will give the body that extra boost to power through workouts. Food such as scrambled eggs, oatmeal, berries, high-fiber toast, and bananas provide slow-releasing energy that is very beneficial on long rides at moderate paces.

For high-intensity workouts or competitions, yogurt and smoothies with berries are fast-release foods that give you high energy. As a rule, consuming more carbs and water before rides will increase glycogen levels and help build muscle and endurance. No matter where you ride, it’s wise to plan out what to eat ahead of time. That way, whenever you hop on the bike, you know your body is ready for peak performance.

2. Strengthen Your Core

When most cyclists want to increase endurance, they spend more time on the bike than at the gym. That strategy is not a bad idea. But, if you incorporate core exercises into your regimen, you will gain more ride stamina in much less time. Cycling requires negotiating tight turns, steep climbs, and maneuvering your bike over rough terrain. So, core stability is a necessity for good performance. The abs and lower back are the sources of power that helps build a better technique to increase your stamina.

Furthermore, a well-developed core will protect the overloaded muscles in cyclists’ arms, hips, and legs to help reduce the risk of injuries. Even if you have a physical condition and ride e-bikes for health and fitness, it is a good idea to add core-strengthening exercises into your workout regimen from this point forward. Ultimately, the stronger your core is, the longer you can ride before becoming fatigued, and the less likely you will experience joint, neck, or back pain.

3. Maintain A Consistent Training Regimen

If improving your stamina is the ultimate goal you strive to achieve, never forget that consistency is the key. Nothing will destroy your gains faster than an inconsistent training schedule. Set aside time to ride multiple times a week and increase the length of rides over time. Doing so will allow you to improve your overall stamina dramatically. In addition to adding a core regimen, cyclists should incorporate long, low-intensity bike rides into their routines to improve aerobic capacity and endurance.

These steady-state rides require you to apply less power over a greater length of time, allowing your muscles to become comfortable with being worked efficiently. Over time you will experience an increase in riding time and a decrease in fatigue. When you need to exert yourself, you will feel enhanced endurance in your breathing and heart rate. So, do your best to focus on developing a steady training regimen. If you do so, higher performance levels are right around the corner.

4. Incorporate Interval Training Into Your Routine

Interval training is a great way to take your cycling to the next level. For maximum results, you will need to switch your workouts and integrate a mix of short, high-intensity sprints followed by long periods at a slower, steadier pace that allow for some rest. It gives a significant metabolic shock that will improve cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength. Intervals help increase the force in your muscle fibers while simultaneously allowing your muscles to recover.

Training on hills during cycling can also increase your strength and stamina while improving your ability to ride further. Each hill presents unique challenges and targets different muscle groups, such as engaging quadriceps when taking hills at a steeper gradient or how short sprints can strengthen calves and glutes while improving the anaerobic threshold. The key is to increase sprint intervals gradually over time for maximum gains.

5. Ride With Other People

Cycling may be an individual sport, but you would be hard-pressed to find a better way to improve your cycling stamina than by training with other riders. Forming a group and hitting the road together to work on endurance is great motivation and a chance to form meaningful friendships. If you align yourself with people who genuinely care how well you perform, it gives you the necessary drive to push yourself closer to your goals.

In addition, other riders will hold you accountable and provide the encouragement you need to stick to your regimen. When training strictly on your own, you can make any excuse to justify missed workouts. But when you commit to a group that is serious about improving stamina and performance, they rely on you to show up to motivate them as well. Ultimately, group riding is a win-win for everyone involved and provides the consistency and motivation to keep going and stay on track.

Get the Most from Your Ride

With the five tips we’ve outlined today, you can get started on the right track to increasing your cycling endurance. Remember to be consistent with your training, add interval training, ride with other people, train on hills, and maintain a core workout regimen. If you can stick to these guidelines, you will see an increase in cycling stamina faster than you ever thought possible.

Author's Bio: 

Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and content strategist. She has a passion for yoga and often writes about health and wellness, but also enjoys covering the fashion industry and world of fitness.