If you’re new to competitive cycling, Change of Pace training is going to really help you up your game. Regularly changing your pace in your training rides will see you improve your racing technique and general fitness levels, what’s not to love?
We’ve written a guide on Change of Pace for the less competitive cyclists amongst us here.
What is “Change of Pace” Training?
Change of Pace training is, to put it simply, switching from one pace to another.
When racing, the pace of riding can change quickly; this type of training will help you to keep pace – and, hopefully, fly past the rest..
Why you should do it
For the competitive types, take heed from Jenny Hudson. Jenny says that some of the best racing advice she’s been given is “if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward”.
Being able to accelerate and change pace constantly in a race means you can move into and close gaps quickly.
Changing up your pace in training will also open up a whole new world of training rides, so you’re less likely to get bored.
When you’ll find it useful
If you’re getting into racing or competitive events, then this will come in handy all the time! Other riders will be attacking and changing the pace of the race throughout. You’ll need to react to changes in pacing if you don’t want to fall behind or miss out on any opportunities.
Being able to switch up your pacing will also help keep the pain down. “If you want to be able to keep up with minimal suffering then you must be able to change pace!” says Lizzie.
How will I know when to use this in a race?
Angela suggests that you determine this by if the other riders around you have decided to attack. If they have, you have to respond and go with them.
She adds “or it can be your decision – if things are getting stale, or if you want to test the other riders legs out and see what they have left in the tank.”
Changing the pace up on your terms is an important race tactic. “It’s also important to play to your strengths so if you are not a sprinter and you don’t want it coming to a big bunch sprint at the end, you might have to turn up the pace earlier. This way you can drop some of the pure sprinters who maybe don’t have the same endurance as you” says Angela.
Fusion RT and Change of Pace Training
Jenny’s Change of Pace Training
Jenny adds in some changes of pace to her endurance rides.
“My training involves a few endurance rides where I accelerate (keeping it in the same gear) for 10 seconds every 5-10 minutes throughout the ride.
All my change in pace efforts are in the saddle.”
Ashleigh’s Change of Pace Training
Ashleigh makes use of bumpy routes to up her change of pace game.
“I train for change of pace by using short, sharp hills to practice powerful accelerations. Also club rides are great for practising change of pace as often if you ride with a large group will you not sit at the same pace the whole time.
Different people will sprint for different signs and other people will attack up hills, it’s great for keeping you on your toes.”
Angela’s Change of Pace Training
Angela uses intervals to develop her change of pace prowess, riding intervals where she works as hard as possible followed by a brief ‘rest’, before it’s back to work.
Interval training will help you to improve your endurance. They also help the muscles and cardiovascular system adapt to the stresses of exercise. You can find out more about the science of interval training on Cycling Performance Tips (retro, but well informed!).
“I incorporate training sessions where I do ’15 on, 15 off’ intervals. This involves spending 15 seconds at about 150% of threshold followed by 15 seconds ‘off’ where you are riding at about 50% of threshold (not freewheeling!!) and then back to 15 seconds on etc.
I’ll do that for 10 minutes followed 5 minutes of easy pedalling before another 10 minutes of 15 on 15 off, and then a final third 10 minute block following another 5 minute rest.
This is a tough session and you should never expect it to be easy because it certainly won’t be!
However you can build up the intensity of the ’15 on’ each time you go out or you could start by only doing one 10 minute block and the next time you do that session try adding a second block in and then latterly a third.”