BUILD STAMINA LIKE… SVEIN TUFT
At 40 years of age Canada’s Svein Tuft isn’t only the oldest rider in the pro peloton today, he’s also an inspiration to cyclists at all levels
Orica-scott pro rider Svein Tuft not only embodies almost ageless energy, experience and endurance, he’s also a shining example of how taking the right approach to training and physiology can defy the ageing process.
Ensuring he has the ‘engine’ required to hold his own on the professional circuit isn’t solely down to relying on good genes though they play a big part in the health of Svein’s veins. He’s also renowned as being one of the hardest working riders. In the past he’s ridden from his home in British Colombia to a training camp in California just to get some miles into his legs. The rewards of his work ethic were exemplified when he claimed his 10th Canadian National Time Trial Championship in 2017. Svein also insists that yoga has played a massive part in his longevity at the top of his game, but as coach Rob Wakefield explains, there are other tricks that even older dogs can master to raise those all-important stamina levels…
No matter what the latest training fad is, the key to building endurance is extending the duration of your rides. Start by riding for around two to three hours at a fairly low intensity and look to build this up to five to six hours over the first few months of your training.
Once your endurance fitness is in place you need to maintain it with regular long rides at least every two weeks. If your long race or event is more than six hours, you need to get some longer rides in no closer than four weeks before your main event.
If you’re riding a stage race or just looking to make big improvements to your endurance
then riding on consecutive days is massively beneficial. Much importance is given to rest and recovery, but in order to become fitter we need to build a lot of fatigue in the body. Getting the legs used to riding when tired is an important part of the process, especially if the demands of your event necessitate back-to-back efforts. The body will adapt and become used to riding day after day, making you stronger and more resilient.
The one element of training that most amateurs
ONCE YOUR ENDURANCE FITNESS IS IN PLACE YOU NEED TO MAINTAIN IT
get wrong is not building enough intensity into their training. Low to medium intensity training is great for building endurance, for increasing the size of the engine, but really hard efforts will build some turbo charge and lift the ceiling of your performance. Try some maximum short efforts with long, full recoveries to really lift your power to new levels.
HARDER FOR LONGER
Stamina is the ability to keep a high level of effort up for a long time. Many amateur riders focus on increasing Functional Threshold Power [highest average power that can be sustained for an hour] by doing 20-minute efforts harder without going longer. Do your FTP test using the 20-minute protocol but in training hold that for 30 minutes, then 40, building to 60-70 minutes. That provides a fantastic platform and builds depth to your endurance and stamina making you better at a range of disciplines.