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How to Improve you Cycling Endurance with Power based training.

Updated on May 7, 2017
Team Fluid East rider Joseph Chudyk uses his aerobic capacity in this photo.
Team Fluid East rider Joseph Chudyk uses his aerobic capacity in this photo.

What Is Cycling Base Training?

Before we can even begin to venture in to the methods and practices of Improving your endurance using power, we must first understand what exactly it it.

Endurance is the bodies ability to sustain energy over a given time. In relation to power based training, this will be the Power number value that you can produce. This number is directly correlated to your own unique muscle and biological make-up. There are three areas of training that directly impact endurance in the purest sense. Those are conditioning, lactic buffering and oxygen consumption. All of these require different procedures to increase each other. For power based training your Functional Threshold Power will be the greatest determiner of your ability to sustain power. From there your conditioning will play the secondary role.

In terms of Power Based Training, Endurance is a zone of intensity that can be maintained anywhere from 120 minutes to an indescribable time that is dependent upon your personal conditioning. All of the types of training found here all go to vastly improving your base. A Cycling coach will be able to give you better insight in to your own personal conditioning and you endurance abilities.

How do I train for improved Endurance?

Training is easy, planning your training is not. The three factors that will determine weather or not your training program is effective are: Volume, Frequency and Intensity.

With Endurance, the intensity is generally on the extreme low end; as such, a sound training program will include increased volume and frequency. What this means, is you will be doing long efforts, and be doing those efforts often.

Typically speaking the efforts that will be utilized the most will be between 55-85% of your Functional Threshold Power. Typical efforts are as follows:

  • 90 minutes @ 55-65% ftp
  • 60 minutes @ 65-75% ftp
  • 30 minutes @ 75-80% ftp
  • 20 minutes @ 80-85% ftp

You will notice that the bottom two efforts have a 10% differential in their intensities as appose to the latter two; this is because it will be increasingly hard to remain focused on producing a more exact power. In any case, the higher the value that a person can maintain the better the training value of these efforts. It should be noted that two of these efforts are considered to be in the Tempo training zone. In order for a person to improve power at each zone, they will need to also train at just above these intensities as well. Finding the balance of frequency in these efforts is where the art and hard part is.

Balancing Efforts for Increased Training Effeciency

It can sometimes be difficult to know exactly how often or how many intervals should be done in a typical training load. Often it requires intimate knowledge of the athletes fatigue and body's current abilities. In any event, please take these as merely suggestions on frequency and seek professional guidance in determining you own training plan.

  • Efforts of 90 minutes @ 55%-65% should be done for a maximum of 2 efforts per session, and maximum of 10 efforts per week.
  • Efforts of 60 minutes @ 65%-75% should be done for a maximum of 2 efforts per session and a maximum of 12 per week.
  • Efforts of 30 minutes @ 75%-80% should be done for a maximum of 3 efforts per session and a maximum 15 per week.
  • Efforts of 20 minutes @ 80-85% should be done for a maximum of 4 efforts per session and a maximum of 16 efforts per week.

Some elite and world class athletes will be able to handle going over our recommendations, and some amateurs will struggle to even maintain half of our maximum guidelines. This is a variance which varies based on your current abilities, conditioning and recovery. As such, we recommend that you seek out the aid of a professional coach to help you best succeed in your efforts.

Typical Monthly Training Plan

1x90 @ 55-65% ftp
2x60 @ 55-65% ftp
2x90 @ 55-65% ftp
Rest Day
2x30 @ 75%-80% ftp
3x20 @ 80%-85% ftp
2x30 @ 75%-80% ftp
Rest Day
2x60 @ 65%-75% ftp
3x30 @ 75%-80% ftp
Rest Day
2x30 @ 75%-80% ftp
3x20 @ 80%-85% ftp
1x90 @ 55-65% ftp
Rest Day
2x60 @ 65%-75% ftp
2x60 @ 65%-75% ftp
Rest Day
2x30 @ 75%-80% ftp
3x20 @ 80%-85% ftp
1x90 @ 55-65% ftp
Rest Day
4x20 @ 80%-85% ftp
4x20 @ 80%-85% ftp
Rest Day
2x30 @ 75%-80% ftp
3x20 @ 80%-85% ftp
2x30 @ 75%-80% ftp

All efforts include a 20 minute warm up period with three 30 second bursts to open the legs up and 10-25 minutes of cooling down as required. 5-7 minutes of recovery spinning between intervals.

Tips & Tricks

  1. Sleep 8 hours per day, no excuses, get your rest
  2. Consume 250 calories in the 30 minutes post exercise, a 3-1 ration of carbs-protein is recommended.
  3. Take days off the bike, if you are burnt out and in severe pain a day off may be what the doctor ordered.
  4. Massaging the muscles will help facilitate blood flood with improves nutrient delivery to your muscles. Rub your legs down each night and you'll be good to go.


Last but not least, you have to ensure adequate rest and recovery is being given. Recovery consist of days off the bike, adequate sleep and proper nutrition. All three of these must be perfectly balanced for the most gains.

Nutrition is almost impossible for an amateur to hash out properly with out spending copious amounts of money on personal aids and more expensive foods. Most peoples nutrition will be adequate enough that only minor supplementation will be required. Follow a balanced diet and take in extra carbohydrates and protein post exercise. A Recovery drink can help you restore your body in that precious post work out phase.

Lastly be sure to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night. This is essential, and one area of training that we can easily maintain and adapt as needed. There is no excuse for not getting enough sleep, none. Take at least 2 rest days off the bike to ensure that your body is not put under stress and able to repair muscle damage.


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