The Tempo Ride
A tempo ride is my favorite ride to get me back on track when I miss 2-3 days of training.
A tempo ride is not so intense that you will load your legs with lactate. It is intense enough to boost your muscular endurance and fitness.
It is a mistake to ride hard when you resume training after a few days off. This will shock your body and you will most likely be unable to train well the next day.
How to Perform a Tempo Ride
A typical tempo ride is 1-2 hours long in a bigger gear so cadence between 70-80rpm. Allow for a 10-15 minute warm-up and a 5-10 minute cool down.
Feel = somewhat hard (you can still have a conversation comfortably).
Heart rate = 73-80% of your maximum heart rate.
Power = 67-87% of your threshold power (threshold power is 95% of your current best 20 minute power).
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How to Maintain Fitness on Limited Time
When you have limited time to train, you can still maintain a good level of fitness with 4-6 hours of cycling each week. I have found that by combining 2-3 highly specific short rides in the work week plus a hard group ride on the weekend is enough to maintain a good level of fitness and strength.
If you have limited time to train and want to avoid losing fitness, avoid taking more than 2 days off the bike without performing a ride on the third day. This is an easy way to maintain good fitness with limited riding time available.
When you miss 3 or 4 days of training you start to lose fitness more quickly. This does not apply to those cyclists who have been training hard with many hours of riding in their legs and need a few days of rest and recovery to boost their fitness.
This article originally appeared on Simon Says Cycling. Republished with permission.