You might want to train for a 100-mile ride. Or perhaps explore a few local trails. Maybe you're looking to just save money on your commute, burn a few extra calories, or strengthen your heart. Whatever the motivation, now's the time to start pedaling. We've got the expert training tips to get you started. Few know more about cycling than Lance Armstrong's coach Chris Carmichael. We asked the man behind Lance's seven Tour de France wins for his tips to help you pedal better.
HARDER — Goal: Incinerate fat
"Forget those slow, low-intensity 'fat-burning' workouts," Carmichael says. "Unless you're single and unemployed, you don't have enough time for that." Instead, train like the athlete you aspire to be, and your body will adjust. "Increase your workout intensity—go faster or do sprints or intervals. You'll burn more calories, getting faster and stronger while you get leaner."
BETTER — Goal: Ride more
"A light 30-minute spin around the neighborhood the day after a killer workout or epic ride will get you back to full-throttle training sessions more quickly than sitting on the couch," Carmichael says. By boosting circulation to fatigued muscles and raising your core temperature, this kind of active recovery can significantly reduce your down time, which also increases the number of high-quality training days you can get in each month."
FASTER — Goal: Gain speed
"Don't be intimidated by intervals. At their simplest, all it means is that you're alternating between 'harder than you can sustain long term' and 'easy.'" Intervals are also the key to riding faster. Try riding as hard as you can for two minutes, then spin easy for two minutes, and repeat a few times. "The key is that you're performing work at a pace and intensity above what you can sustain. It is the time spent at these intensities that will force your body to adapt and make you faster."
STRONGER — Goal: Build endurance
"Training is a cumulative venture. You make progress by stressing your body, allowing it to recover and adapt, and then stressing it again." But you have to be consistent. "If you leave more than a week between training sessions, your body views each session as an isolated effort instead of part of a progression." Aim for a couple of rides per week.