If you want to ride stronger for longer, there are few better people to ask than the world-record round-the-world cyclist.
In 2017, the Scotsman rode an astonishing 240 miles a day, for just over 78 days, to complete the fastest ever circumnavigation of the globe by bicycle.
With his wealth of experience, Beaumont has now compiled a collection of tips, tactics and techniques into a new book that will help anyone – no matter their experience or aspiration – to push their two-wheeled limits.
Here are some standout words of wisdom.
1. Earn your stripes
“Endurance is a skillset you can’t learn in the gym, you have to earn it over long hard miles and over time.
“The longer the ride, the less your maximum power or lactate threshold matters, and the more it is about your conditioning and your mindset. And you need an ability to suffer well!”
2. Train with breaks
“When I’m building towards a specific event, I have a three-week build/one-week recovery routine.
“Most endurance bike riders adopt reverse periodisation, where they focus on high-intensity training over the off-season, building their functional threshold power (FTP) and training far harder than endurance pace.”
3. Condition to combat pain
“As the event approaches, riders switch to building the conditioning for the long hours on the bike – that is the neck angle, pressure on your hands, cleats and backside.
“Fitness and conditioning are not the same thing, so each training session needs to be planned with a goal in mind.”
4. Crank the core
“I do a ten-minute core workout every day.
“This time off the bike is enough to stay nice and neutral on it. Often bike riders become ‘A’-framed and locked on their bikes, but having a strong core is key to a relaxed style of riding over long endurance.
“You don’t necessarily need to do weights and you don’t need to do a lot – just ten minutes a day.”
5. Fuel naturally
“Keep your fuelling as natural as possible on endurance rides, so opt for a wrap or a banana, instead of a gel as your preference.
“Eat before you are hungry, drink before you are thirsty, small amounts and regular, those are the key for endurance riding.”
6. Go beyond the bike
“Many riders just cycle and think that running or swimming will detract from your form. I believe your strength in ultra-endurance is much more about your ability not to break down and injure, than your power to weight ratio or your sheer pedalling power.
“So, I remain a fan of fell running, as it strengthens the ligaments and small muscles around your joints.”
7. Manage your mind
“You can’t be thinking about the finish line and world records when the alarm goes off at 3.30am, a storm is raging outside and you feel utterly broken. Your coping mechanism then is to just ride the road in front of you!
“Don’t get intimidated by the far goal that you can’t yet see. Have micro-targets – whatever makes you accountable to working the plan – splitting the entire world in four-hour blocks and making sure you execute on every one of them.”
Endurance: How To Cycle Further by Mark Beaumont is available now.
Words: Rob Kemp