Cyclists, like runners, rely on three things to improve. These are:
- volume (both total accumulated volume and current annual volume);
- basic speed;
- event-specific stamina.
The endurance a cyclist needs however is slightly more toward the strength-endurance side of the endurance spectrum than for a runner operating in a similar time zone, i.e., strength plays a much bigger part in a 1 hour cycle time trial than in a 21.1k run, which elite runners would cover in 59 to 60 minutes.
A successful cycling program manages these things along with three additional factors - technique, bike fit and equipment.
Once you have all the essential equipment, been set up on the bike and given some instruction about gearing and cadence you are ready to start training. Dependant on your program, the key to improving initially on the bike is to have time in the saddle, mainly at lower easier aerobic conditioning intensities. This will assist by creating a base of strength and conditioning for you. Also it will help in the initial stages in building confidence, making you more familiar with gearing that suits your ability, and refining your style as you start to improve your fitness on the bike. Take small steps, try to attend the key training sessions and/or find athletes of similar ability to train with and ask questions. There is a wealth of knowledge within most groups, not only from the coaches, but also from the more experienced athletes. Don't just apply the information without analyzing it however. Judge the information against the performances, either personal or achieved with others, of the provider.
Finally it is important you develop and proper strengthening routine to compliment your riding.
Level 3 Triathlon Coach