How to hack the long ride

Whether you are time tapped or want to maximise your long rides here are  easy tips to hack your long ride and the time required to maximise aerobic benefits.

And there is a little simple science behind it and here are two of my favourite sets:


1. Lower higher

This is great if you really want to build endurance in a shorter amount of time. Firstly dial down your power and dial up your cadence. The lower power means you engage the Type 1 muscle fibers (slow twitch) without engaging Type 2 (fast twitch). Type 1 fibers are aerobic and recover quite rapidly and so the longer you can keep firing them the ore you start to completely deplete them of glycogen to the point where they become exhausted. Once these guys get exhuasted you engage more and more tupe 1 fibres to be able to maintain the force outputs. Eventually the force per motor unit drops and due to fatigue you need to bring in the Type 2 units. You now start to train the other muscle fibers at a lower power output and deplete them as well.  Amazingly by the end of the ride you'll be amazed at the extend of your cardiac drift (ie how much higher your HR is for the ame load)

I love it because you deplete alot of fibers and at low loads which means less muscle damage and a faster recovery rate - which means faster adaptation and shorter time required to achieve it. You need to build up to it and often a riders ability to perform at hhigh cadences is also down to their movement threshold, which too requires specific training and is influence by their bike fit and cycling technique.

What to do

Stop worrying about your power meter and start looking at your rpm and heart rate. You will find adding 10-15% higher rpm to your regular riding quite challenging both physically, metabolically and neuralogically so its something you build up but you adapt fast but you'll need discpline.

What you get 

More bang for your buck in aerobic capacity from a shorter time period and a faster adaptation respone compared to riding at lower cadences and slightly higher outputs - where you don;t quite deplete and stress the fibers and metabolic systems as much. It means you can get a lot more value from a shorter ride. It's about  the level of glycogen depletion, metabolic demand and a little bit of muscle damage not how many hours you spend.


2. Outdoor indoor

This is a little combo session as some of us are time tapped and even those who are not - spending so long outdoors in the saddle puts other stresses on the body which slow down recovery yet add no training stimuls - heat and UV light radiation for example damage the body and stress it reducing the loads it can sustain and they add recovery time.

What to do

Simple do 60-70% of your long ride out on the road, ideally before environmental factors take their toll and then finish off the last bit on the indoor trainer. You can then do specific sets or scale up a little more of the above Lower:higher concept and deplete yourself with out demolishing yourself in a way the slows recovery. The great thing is the last part of the session you can better regulate your nutrition and nutritional recovery to prep the body for adaptation.

What you get

Less environmental stress and strain on the body such as heat and UV light radiation which creates heat stress and required more body resources to function and recover. You get to fuel, refuel and prime for adaptation before the session has even finished.


Learn more and ask us now

There is more science behind it but this is a concpet for hacking aerobic endurance rather than a science lesson.

Want to learn more, want to learn, want coaching science, want a coach, want to improve your movement threshold?

Ask experienced, educated and qualified High performance coaches who have worked with National and State programs in Cycling and triathlon.

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