I have a bet with someone who can cycle just a little bit better than me. Our average is about 30 km/h for 75 km in a group. We always cycle together with some friends on Monday evenings (using Racing bicycles).

Now, we have a bet to have a match the 2nd of September.

I already have some improvements in mind, but I don't know which will improve my performance the most.

Here is what is possible:

  • Sport, half hour in the morning, an hour in the evening (perhaps 1,5 in the evening)
  • Food improvement
  • No alcohol when going out
  • Sleep more
  • ... For you to help

Here are some random facts about me:

  • Going out on the weekend - mostly drink some when I don't drive, but I won't drink anything for the next month (or more).
  • Don't need a lot sleep, 4 hours is normally enough. I sleep 6 hours on Saturday nights.
  • Don't eat that healthy, but will improve that and I will eat more frequently and better the next month, to lose some weight also (currently at 92,5 kg for 178 cm).
  • I sport frequently (swim 2 km. crawl and cycling), Monday is always a cycling day, Tuesday is always a swimming day. The rest of the week it depends on the weather / friends / ... But for the next month, my friends are less important. It's the result that matters.
  • Currently don't have a heart meter.
  • The day of the "bet", I could take start working a couple of hours sooner, so I could rest some time before the match.
  • Suggesting another sport for some days, is okay for me. I can buy a subscription to the gym, but I have some gear at my home. (Eg. dumbbells, sledge hammer and a tractor tire, stability ball, climbing rope, pull up bar)

What I want to know:

  • What should I do in my training the next month, to optimize my results for a cycling "match" in about a month. The match itself will start in the evening (18:30) and after my work (I'm always a little tired at the beginning. I'm a programmer - so I sit the whole day).

I already have a basic cycling "fysique", I'm ready to do HIIT,... a lot to get my results optimized.

  • You don't mention distance, however - Intervals and threshold work. Intervals are near all out efforts, with long rest in between so that you can repeat the effort. Threshold is slightly sub race pace to slightly higher than race pace, done on short rest. Intervals increase your top end speed, threshold increases time you can spend at a given speed. However, in a month, not a lot of improvement can be had, but if you're close, that little bit may be enough. And practice closing, spending your last 5-15 minutes at a slightly uncomfortable pace, so that you know you can if you need to.
    – JohnP
    Aug 5, 2013 at 22:17
  • I'd add in some weight work Squats, Deadlift, Box Jumps, Step ups with weights etc. Ideally you would have a longer period of time to work this in to your schedule, but it would pay dividends. cptips.com/weights.htm Also read up in tapering prior to your race.
    – rthsyjh
    Aug 6, 2013 at 9:53

1 Answer 1


As JohnP mentioned in a comment, what you need is interval training. The simplest is all-out interals, which, if you haven't done them before, are fairly

The first is pure interval training. Basically, you warm up for 10-15 minutes, and then do a series of all out efforts. Typically, something like 2 minutes as hard as you can go, rest for 5-10 minutes, and then go all out again. Repeat 5 times (actually, you repeat until you are no longer able to sustain the same effort). You need to be well-rested for this to work.

You also work at the aerobic threshold, and there are lots of different ways of doing that. To do it properly, you need to figure out what your aerobic threshold is, which is done using a field test; a short (about 10-20 minutes depending on which approach you use) all-out effort in which you record your heart rate. After some calculation, you set training ranges and base it on that.

This obviously requires a heart-rate monitor to perform.

There are several good books that give the necessary approach. Friel has a good one, and I've recently used Carmichael's "the time-crunched cyclist" to good effect. If I were you, I would spend 3 weeks on one of the plans from the Carmichael book, taper/recover for a week, and go from there.

Good luck.

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