In this video I discuss how to avoid running out of breath and energy when climbing hills.


Thurston has asked this question. He said, “How do you tell if you’re out of energy or simply out of breath when grinding to a halt going uphill?”

Running out of breath and running out of energy, are really both the symptoms of the same thing, that is, that you need to improve your fitness. So my answer to this is that you need to get out there and ride your bike more. There’s a lot of things that you can do to speed up the process and our 12-Week Hill Climbing Training Program is one of them.

Apart from our 12-week program, here’s a couple of tips. The first thing that’s really important to remember is that you want to run yourself through our three-phase process. That means you want to work on your endurance, then work on your strength, and then work on your speed. Now, the first phase of this is to go out and build your aerobic base, and how you do this is find as much available time as you have to train and just get out there on your bike and ride nice and easy. So the pace should be at a pace that you’re able to talk to your other fellow riders. Also throw in a few intervals, and that will certainly help speed up the process.

So these are high-intensity training sessions that you do for short durations, and you can incorporate it into the riding that you’re doing and just … every now and again, just take your heart rate right up into the E3 or VO2 max zones. These are the zones where you find yourself breathing hard or are breathless. Now, the important thing about building your base is that it’s the foundation in which we build your strength and then your speed upon, so the more you have of that, the better you’ll be able to build your strength and your speed.

Now, the second phase of this is to build your strength, and that’s where we start loading the legs up and start working on a few more high-intensity intervals. We also start working what we call the E3 zone, and that’s the zone where you’re breathing hard, but you’re not breathless. At the same time, you’ll want to get yourself onto a strength training program off the bike, something like our Matt Brindle Functional Strength Training Program.

Once we’ve built the strength, then we start working on building the speed, and this is where things start really getting exciting. Now, in this phase, we drop off a lot of the volume of training that we’ve been working on and really focus on high-intensity intervals. Those are predominantly intervals that are in the E3 and VO2 max zones. These intervals are where you’ll find that you’re breathless or that you’re breathing really hard. So we really start focusing on those, and we also start working specifically on the areas where you need to improve. So if it’s hill climbing, then we would get you set up on a particular hill that you’re struggling with and get you riding over that at high speed.