One of the most basic and effective training sessions you can include in your week is an endurance bike ride. Training stress comes in many forms but the two most common are shorter interval/higher intensity workouts and longer endurance workouts. Both of these training stresses play an important role in your overall fitness. In order for endurance workouts to be effective they need to be at the appropriate intensity (lower) and the appropriate length (longer). Ideally over two hours in length and at or around your first ventilatory threshold.
Understanding intensity is important. We have two primary ventilatory thresholds. The first resides in and around a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of 65-70%. In a perfect world you can get into a lab and have this measured. If a lab is out of reach but you still want to get relatively close you can perform a functional threshold power test (FTP) and hang out at about 75% of your FTP wattage or heart rate. If both of these options are not an option you can simply hang out at 65-70% RPE. This intensity should feel steady but not so hard that you cannot carry on a conversation.
The Workout- 2-3 hours
30 minutes easy (roughly 50-60% RPE)
75-120 minutes at:
75% of your FTP…or
A tight heart rate range 5 beats below and 5 beats above your first ventilatory threshold
It is also a good idea to set a disciplined cadence or revolutions per minute (rpm) range of 90-100
15-30 minutes easy (roughly 50-60% RPE)
This workout may appear to be quite simple and in reality it is. Often people will make the mistake of doing this type of ride too hard and not applying training stress at the right intensity. Ideally this ride can be built up over a number of weeks to the 4+ hour range. Applying added training stress in the form of volume at this intensity is hugely beneficial and will ultimately make you stronger all around.