steps to becoming a faster hill climber

by | May 29, 2023 | Blog, Cycling, Events | 0 comments

Dominik climbing

Before you can think about climbing faster, you need to make sure that you have first built your aerobic foundation. As the saying goes, “you can’t run before you learn to walk”.  To read more about building an aerobic base please go back to the newsletter titled, Building an Aerobic Base.

So once you have set your aerobic base, how do you get faster on hills?

1. Ride lots. Ride lots of hills.

2. When climbing think of form: efficient pedal strokes and relaxed upper body.

3. Learn to pace yourself for the entire length of the climb. Learning  what your pace should be will come after riding lots of hills 🙂

4. Give the appropriate amount of effort for the type of hill /ride/workout you are doing that day.
Example: In a Spanish Banks workout of 5 hill repeats, you will likely be putting out maximum effort on each – that’s the goal of the workout. But for a long training ride, where Spanish Banks is just one of many on the ride, slow down your pace and take it easy or ride at a pace you can handle, as you still have a long ways to go.

In this newsletter, I’m going to focus on point number 4, which relates to effort.

During training it is important to give the appropriate amount of effort, appropriate for the workout.

In the Kits Energy workouts, your coach will tell you how much effort you should be exerting. If you want to get faster, and get the most benefit from the workout, it is important to follow the instructions. To improve, you need to work beyond your comfort zones into new territory, which should feel uncomfortable. Through proper and adequate (24-48hrs) rest and recovery, your body will adapt to the stress and grow stronger. It is through this process, repeated over and over, that you will gain increased strength and endurance.

BUT….. here is the caveat.

But, if you try adding intensity without a solid base, other rides to support your intensity ride, or you try to progress too quickly, you run the risk of breaking down the body, instead of building it up.

You may get away with it for a month of two but eventually, if you try to increase intensity without a solid base and other rides to support it, it will catch up with you. Your speed and strength will become stagnant and/or you may notice that you are actually slowing down! 

When this happens, the tendency is to do more training, with exacerbates the problem.  

You may also notice several nagging symptoms that don’t seem to go away. These symptoms are usually a combination of: loss of strength/endurance, chronic fatigue, chronic muscle pain, insomnia, depression, irritation, weight gain, and frequent illness such as colds and flus. If are feeling any of these symptoms, back off on your training for a few weeks until they subside.

When you return to training, build up slowly and create that base again. Always listen to what your body is telling you. If it is too much – back off again. Use the weekly workouts as endurance training instead of a interval training. I know it’s hard on the ego – but your body will thank you in the long run.

Remember, cycling is a lifestyle choice and one that you want to do for as long as your body will let you. Think long term.

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