How to ride faster on the flat

4 ideas to boost your velocity on level ground

Improving your speed over flat terrain needs specific training suggests propello.bike coach Rob Wakefield. Here are four ideas to boost your velocity on level ground...

1. Keep it short

Improve your power by building short intervals into your flat road rides with short recoveries. 

Start with 5x5mins at around your Functional Threshold Power )the level you can sustain for about an hour) or around 7/8 of your highest rate of perceived exertion (RPE) with 1min recoveries. 

Build to 4x8mins with 1min recoveries, trying to push the pace up week on week.

2. Head indoors

There’s nothing flatter than your spare room or garage floor, so use a turbo trainer to perform some classic sweet-spot training, working at a hard but not painful intensity. 

Start by doing some short intervals of say 2x10mins and gradually build up from there over time so that you can do 30-40mins at your sweet spot in one steady state effort.

Use a turbo trainer to perform some classic sweet-spot training
Use a turbo trainer to perform some classic sweet-spot training

3. Bring it together

Focus on riding economy when doing faster flat training on the road. Adopting a compact position on the bike and trying to keep your head low and body still, will mean more speed for less power. 

If you’re group training then working on ‘up and over’ changes – keeping a steady cadence and increasing slightly when taking the lead position – can improve your flat speed.

4. Start a revolution

Pedalling is also an area that many cyclists don’t focus on enough. Even the most well trained cyclists can still improve on their pedalling economy. 

The key is to maintain a high cadence and keep your upper body stable, working on leg strength out of the saddle. Adopting a nice smooth pedal stroke that delivers power around the complete pedal revolution will save watts.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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