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How to Train to Bike Race

by Sam Ashe-Edmunds

Bike race training requires workouts based on the type of race. A proper bike training program takes into consideration the terrain, length of race, likely weather condition and intensity of the competition. Create a training program that starts with building muscle strength and muscular and aerobic endurance, ending with exercises and rides that reflect the race you will be riding.

Step 1

Determine the type of race you will be riding, and find out the layout of the course, expected weather conditions and previous times of winners or finishing groups by age, sex and experience.

Step 2

Build muscular strength with lower-leg exercises that focus on the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus and calves. Depending on the amount of time you have before your race, you can spend more time on muscle building before you move to muscular endurance training. You build muscular strength by using fewer repetitions of the most weight you can lift. Squats, deadlifts and presses are good exercises to increase leg strength.

Step 3

Increase muscular endurance by training with lighter weights that allow you to perform 10 to 15 repetitions before fatigue. Perform weighted and non-weighted squats as well as lunges, calf raises, abdominal curls and leg presses with lighter weights.

Step 4

Build cardiovascular endurance by training at 70 percent to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate for 15 minutes or more, increasing the length of your workouts to match the expected length of your race. To calculate your MHR, subtract your age from 220.

Step 5

Ride on an indoor bike to improve cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance. If you are riding the sprint leg of a relay, train at that intensity for your expected race duration. If you will be riding in a Century race, work out at the pace you expect to maintain during the race. If you will be riding hills, increase gear settings. Stand on your pedals if you will be standing during your race. Practice the pedaling cadence you wish to use.

Step 6

Ride a course similar to the one you on which you will be racing. This means finding an indoor track, dirt track, roads with hills or any other terrain you will ride during your race. Riding a track is different than riding a stationary bike because of the side-to-side movements, turns and other adjustments you will need to make.

Step 7

Practice riding in the weather conditions you will face during your race. If you will be riding in the hot sun, don't wait until the cool evening hours to practice. If you might have to race in the rain, race day is not the first day you want to experience those conditions.

Step 8

Run a practice race or two, including specific legs of a race and entire races, to test your ability to compete in the race.

Items you will need

  • Weights, resistance bands or exercise machines
  • Outdoor bicycle
  • Stationary bike


  • Warm up before training, cool down afterward and stretch at the end of each training session. The warmup helps you coordinate heart, lungs, blood flow and muscle contractions prior to exercise while the cool-down slowly brings down your metabolism.
  • Eat and hydrate adequately during your training. In the beginning, as you work on muscle building, include more lean protein in your diet. Short sprints of less than two minutes burn glycogen, so load up on carbohydrates before those types of workouts and your race. Work with a dietitian or sports trainer to plan your diet.

Photo Credits:

  • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.