This wasn’t my first bike ride..
But it was only the second time ever doing Bike the Drive. If you don’t know what Bike the Drive is, it’s an annual Chicago event where they shut down Lake Shore Drive and let people ride their bikes up and down it for a few hours every Memorial Day weekend. Last year was the first time I ever participated, and I instantly fell in love with the event. I’m not an avid bike rider, but I found myself enjoying the scenery and found the distance to be the right level of challenging. Last year I rode about two thirds the full distance, right around 21 miles. This year, I rode the entire distance. And this is how I did it.
How to increase your cardio endurance
- Lift weights: This may seem weird, but strength training will build your endurance. Even if you’re not lifting for endurance, having the extra muscle will help you process food (fuel) more efficiently. This in turn leads to higher endurance since you will be better able to use that banana, apple, electrolytes and water to bike further than you ever have before.
- Change up your cardio routine: We are creatures of habit. I’m guilty of it, I’m a runner! So my go to cardio? Running! But if all I do is run for cardio, my cardio endurance isn’t going to improve. Instead, what happens is my body gets used to running and my cardio endurance may actually decrease unless I start changing up my routine. I change up my running, i.e. distance, speed, and incline. But I also throw in days of HIIT cardio and rowing. Add in a 30 mile bike ride and I feel well-rounded.
- Eat well: Pretty straight forward, but you’d be surprised how many gym members I talk to who tell me they pig out on entire pizzas after working out. While this is not the worst thing once in awhile, it should be rarely happening. Instead, focus on eating foods that will fuel your cardio and strength endurance. Foods high in protein and healthy fats are the best to grab. Also, complex carbohydrates like brown rice and veggies are great too.
- Drink water and lots of it: Hydration is often over-looked. Especially on a hot day like this past Sunday, I was downing as much water as I could while biking the drive. Nuun was out there serving up electrolytes so I jumped on that opportunity especially since I was biking for just about 3 and a half hours.
Did you participate in Bike the Drive this year?