Cycling is a form of exercise enjoyed by many worldwide. And it’s great for keeping you fit and healthy.
It may be that you’ve been cycling sometime and now you want to set yourself some challenges and improve pace and speed.
You may be wondering how long it can take to cycle 5,10 or even 20 k.
It’s a great challenge and can be achieved through a combination of strategy, preparation, and practice.
5KM is generally a benchmark for cyclists and is a different experience depending on your fitness level and ability.
For an experienced cyclist, it may be a swift and short ride, but for the novice, it may feel like a never-ending 20 minutes.
So how can you prepare for an intense ride?
As the old saying goes—if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fall short.
As is the case with any physical challenge, getting a clear head and mentally preparing beforehand is crucial.
Physical challenges are as much mental as physical, and a positive mind goes a long way towards helping you achieve your goal.
The first step when training your body is to ensure you have a substantial pre-ride meal.
You will spend high levels of energy when attempting to do a fast ride, so think of complex carbohydrates such as a banana or oatmeal.
Staying hydrated is also imperative when planning a ride. Drink plenty in the hours leading up to your ride, so you won’t feel thirsty midway through.
Hydration will fuel your energy, and you won’t feel lethargic.
Another good idea is to create an energizing playlist that will help keep you motivated when cycling.
Never underestimate the power of music to move you to action. Invest in some high-quality earphones and whack up the volume.
If you are familiar with cycling and have an average weight and fitness level, then cycling 5K shouldn’t be a massive problem.
Psychologically, you understand that it is a relatively short distance and this will help you push yourself to achieve a higher speed.
Obviously, timings will depend on weather and terrain.
To gain some perspective, an experienced cyclist could ride at 45kmp for a long time, and it would take around 4 minutes to cycle 5KM.
So, for a cyclist with average fitness in good weather and fairly flat ground, 5 K should take around 15 minutes at a speed of 10 – 12 mph (ca. 19 km/h).
Strategy and Practice
Your training strategy will depend on your level of fitness and whether you plan on cycling 5,10 or 20 k.
Whatever you decide, make sure you are clear about the objective and what you are aiming for.
Splitting your plan into 3 sections is a good start.
Firstly, you should concentrate on finding a steady pace that won’t tire you out too early.
Obviously, this is more important when aiming for longer distances.
During this part of cycling, it’s crucial you maintain a positive attitude and get your body acclimatised to the effort and repeatable cycles.
As you enter the 2nd stage of your cycle, lactic acid will accumulate in your legs.
It’s important to fight it This is the most difficult part, and you will feel like stopping, don’t!
Keep going and try to conserve energy for the last part of the race.
Of course, there are many variables when it comes to calculating how long it will take to cycle specific distances, especially when attempting to cycle 10k.
You will need to consider road surface, hills and terrain as well as your bike type and fitness level.
As opposed to the relatively easy 5k, 10k will require you you hold a steady pace for longer.
It is double the 5k, so it may take much longer and you will definitely feel more tired.
10k is a good challenge for those wanting to increase their fitness and incorporate cardiovascular fitness into their life.
So, to cycle 10k should take a cyclist around 25-30 minutes at the average speed of 10-20 mph with easy terrain and flat surfaces.
How Easy Is 20k?
What about the ultimate challenge of cycling 20k?
You may think that cycling 20k is just a case of doubling your distance and speed at 10k, but it doesn’t really work like that.
Again, the conditions should always be taken into consideration.
It’s likely with the longer distances that you will encounter different terrain and more inclines along the way.
Will you be riding through the countryside or cities? You may encounter traffic lights that will slow you down or other obstacles.
And have you practised and trained enough so that you will be able to maintain an average speed of 10-12 mph for the entire 20 km route?
The longer you cycle, the more fatigued the muscles get.
Cycling 20k is classed as being within the endurance classification in cycling.
If you are a beginner, then this will take on average one and a half hours to complete.
If you were riding on a flat surface the whole way at 10-12 mph, it will take around 60 minutes to complete 20 km.
And it will burn a whopping 1000 calories. This makes cycling 20k and a pretty hefty challenge but by no means impossible.
Again, a top professional biker will cover 20 km in roughly 15 to 20 minutes, but don’t let these stats put you off as these professionals train daily and are super fit, so be sure to congratulate yourself if you cycle 20k at whatever speed you complete it in.
How To Improve Speed And Distance
Once you have successfully completed one challenge, how can you continue to improve your stats?
In terms of the physicality of cycling, it’s pretty easy, it is about resistance, weight, and strength but the speed and distance are slightly trickier to negotiate. Let’s have a look at speed.
Starting with 1 km, try to max out your speed and then reduce for the next km.
By repeating this step when you are cycle training, you will build more strength, which will help your speed and skill.
Once you’ve mastered this move on 5 km.
Try to push your average speed higher each time, as this will train your muscles to endure the time and help you become better able to deal with the pain that accompanies it.
Sprint based routines are the best way to improve your cycle speed.
Be sure to cycle in the same weather conditions and at the same time each day so you can keep track of your improvement.
OK, so you have actually got your full throttle up to around 20-25 km/ h, and you’re actually defeating the 5 km.
The next part is to boost the distance that you’re cycling.
The easiest way is to increase your 5 km course to 10 km as well as keep your new leading ordinary speed.
You’ll find this will certainly be challenging at first, however within a couple of weeks, if you cycle each day, your muscles will be conditioned to the brand-new 10 km range.
Look After Muscles And Energy Levels
It’s crucial to look after your muscles when doing bike training. Try to spend 10 – 15 minutes before each session stretching and also stretch when you have finished.
Concentrate on the hamstring, quads, upper legs, back and shoulders.
Also, do some neck stretches, as spending time on a bike puts stress on the entire body.
Be sure to refuel with some sort of electrolyte restoring drink or a comparable sports beverage, and if you’re going cross country have some slow and fast-releasing power foods to keep you energized and focused.
So, we see that covering 5.10 and 20k is certainly a challenge but perfectly achievable with the right training and a positive mental attitude.