The average pro cyclist trains 20 to 30 hours a week and logs 20,000 to 25,000 miles each year--farther than the average American drives in that time. Too many of us mere mortals mistakenly believe we need to approach that sort of volume to reach our peak. But if you work 40 or more hours per week, cramming in another 20 on the bike may wear you down rather than speed you up.
The best results come from a smart blend of rides of all lengths and durations. Long, steady efforts are still important for boosting your circulatory system's network of capillaries, which enables you to deliver more nutrient-and oxygen-rich blood to your cells and increases your body's fat-burning ability. But don't turn up your nose at outings that last less than two hours. Exercise science shows that you can build speed, raise your sustainable pace and even ratchet up your endurance with rides that last between 30 and 75 minutes. To meet your cycling goals, mix it up: Each week clock one long ride--three hours will do for most riders--and take at least one day off. On the other days, choose from among the following workouts...
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