How can I last longer on my unicycle?

I can go about 200 meters without having a UPD. Then I continue some 100-200 meters more and already I am out of breath and need a rest. And then I can still do several 100 meters more but my performance suffers a little. I am talking about slight downhill and uphill streets. Also, I have really learned to unicycle only 40 days ago (meaning I could only then unicycle-until-I-had-a-UPD-because-I-was-tired). I am rather fit. I can run 5-10 KM. So I think I should be able to last longer on the unicycle. Could it be that I am doing something wrong that is making me tired more easily than I should be?

It’s a fairly new activity to you. You are using muscles that you have never used altogether at once before and you are having to concentrate on that task.
Very likely due to the extra concentration required in order to balance and move forward etc. you might be forgetting to breath normally. This in turn will cause exhastion quite rapidly.
Try to relax and enjoy the new skill that you have learned and it will start to get easier with time.

Raise your seat, pump up your tire and try to relax as much as possible. It is normal for it to be really tiring for the first while till you get comfortable on your wheel.

You will also wear out your legs very quickly by putting a lot of weight in them, whereas going with almost all of your weight in the saddle will be much more comfortable. It’s a little more difficult and requires more balance, but just think about the muscle contraction and relaxation you have to do to get to the point where your weight is in the seat so you know how to do it without thinking, and eventually it will become habit.

great thread title

When I started learning I was totally exhausted after practices. Now I don’t really thing about it much. Time heals all, yada, yada…

It may sound silly but don’t forget to breathe. When I was learning I found myself holding my breath and it can effect your performance.

Clear your head, relax, and let your legs do whatever they want to do.

After that, it’s just muscle memory.

I’ve never had this problem, but I suppose it is because I live in a very flat area and have been riding bikes most of my life. Certainly my legs were sore, but not after a 100-200 meter ride.

I most likely could not run 5-10km so I would agree with the others it is probably the muscle groups you use and the breathing. Very recently i had to run a mile or two and could not keep a good pace (stupid flat tire).

You are tiring yourself out trying to maintain balance through forceful corrective movements in your arms, torso, and legs. There is nothing wrong with this, it’s a natural part of learning to balance. Even after learning to ride, your balance and unicycle specific skills continue to improve. As they do, you use less energy fighting to stay upright and your motion becomes more efficient. It’s not just about general strength and stamina but also neuro-muscular activation, control, and awareness, which are specific to the activity.

As was pretty much said above, it takes a lot of energy to forcefully correct yourself. Right now you are probably wasting a lot of energy just trying to stay on the uni, even if it may not feel like it. As your body starts to react naturally to riding, you will lose some of the constant rigidity in your legs that tires them out so quickly.

Also, you may want to look at the size of your cranks compared to the size of your wheel. I just switched from 150mm cranks to 125mm, and I noticed that my legs tired much more quickly. Some people on here may not agree with me, but you may want slightly longer cranks for learning. It helped me. I learned on a 24in wheel with 150mm cranks. Putting on longer cranks has the same effect as switching to a low gear on a bicycle. Your legs will have to travel further, and your speed will suffer, but it will take a lot less strength to move the wheel. Because of this your legs wont get tired as quickly, but when they do your performance wont suffer quite as much.

My two bits…

+1 for that explanation

I can easily relate to the original poster, I was at that stage a couple of weeks ago. I am not a top athlete but I am not out of shape, running 5k three times a week, playing (ice) hockey, riding a bike, hiking, etc… So I was also a bit surprised to discover how hard it was to get from being able to ride to being able to ride for a very long time. I did two things that I think helped me going longer. The first obvious one was to ride more and longer, I know that’s not a very useful answer! The second one was to learn other skills to help my balance. In my case I started to learn idling. You will be pleasantly surprise how working on that kind of skills can improve your balance and therefore help you ride longer, maybe it’s just a question of spending more time in the saddle but it certainly helped me.