Setting Up Cycling Training Plans
Cycling Training Plan for the Beginner
A Cycling Training Plan is essential to all cyclists who are serious about their performance. There are a lot of good cycling plans out there and all of them claim to be the best. This is the dilemma most people have when choosing one. So do your own research and some criteria in choosing the right one can be of help. Basically there a lot to consider. However, we just focused on what I think the 4 most important things to look for, for the beginner cyclist.
- Is it Beginner cyclist friendly? – You need to walk before you could run. You need to master some basic skills before you could do more complex things. Since most beginner cyclists do not have any idea about a cycling training program
- I needed something that would help me understand the basics of efficient cycling.
- Does it include some base training too?- Like I said in my one of my previous posts, I thought road cycling and mountain biking is just about power, strength, and speed. For newbies and amateur cyclists base training is really something that you should consider, whether it is going to the gym, running, swimming or whatever you’re into other than cycling it all adds up. It is important that you understand the “base-level fitness” that you have because any base training or cycling training program would limit itself depending on what level you’re into.
- It is also a good idea to consult a physician before you get yourself into any cycling training plan.
What are your goals?
- A good training program is something that has focus on a particular aspect of cycling like sprinting, pedal cadence, climbing etc… well most of them does, but the most important thing is understanding what level of fitness and cycling you want to achieve. Are you training for a competition? How soon you need to achieve the results? What kind of competition are you participating in? How much time can you give for training? There are a lot of questions to be answered. Just ask your self what you want to achieve and start from there.
- Are they trustworthy? – At the end of the day what you want to see is results. So in choosing the right training program make sure that it is made by experts who knows what their talking about. Look for the about us page and check their credentials and of course some testimonials from people who actually used the program. Professional cyclists, Professional coaches are authority on this matter.
Setting Up Cycling Training Plans
In the past, cycling training was heavily based on riding for miles and miles without really focusing on the different aspects of cycling such as power, speed and endurance. Today however, this is not the case as we have developed a better understanding of physical training and how our body works. This allows us to put together our cycling training plans so we can get better results out of less (but certainly more focused) cycling training.
Once you have some miles behind you and have a good fitness base for cycling, the need for proper cycling training plans becomes apparent. In order to constantly improve your cycling it is necessary to have a well thought-out strategy that ultimately improves your cycling speed. For setting up this Sportcoaching uses an online system called Trainigpeaks to upload our cycling training schedules and analyze our athlete’s data. You can find our cycling training plans here, or for monthly cycling coaching here
Strength and Power
Strength and power is an important component in cycling speed. We’re talking about cycling specific strength here, which all comes down to how much force you can apply to your pedals. You will obviously need strong and powerful legs, but the gluteus, torso, back, and abs should also be strong as they are the supporting muscles.
The best way to become stronger for cycling is just riding a lot, so be sure to include longer rides in your cycling plans. Another way is to do strength training specifically for cycling. Recommended exercises are standing squats and seated leg press. Calf raises will help a lot too.
Now being strong and powerful is great, but is worth nothing if you’re not able to maintain the power for a certain duration. This is why you need a good endurance base. The saddle time is again important here as if you ride a lot your endurance will increase. But to really be able to put out high levels of power for longer durations, interval training is a must. There are a lot of great interval exercises out there that you can adapt and put into your cycling training plans.
Strength and Endurance Training Programmes
Strength and Endurance Training Programmes can give you high threshold power, good recovery ability, aerobic endurance, muscular endurance, core strength and upper body muscular endurance. All these are quality attributes for elite cycling fitness. Your training programmes need to be varied and balanced, with outside road training, yoga, indoor exercise bike training and plenty of rest.
Here let’s focus on gaining elite cycling fitness from interval training, both on the road and indoors on your exercise bike. In three sessions of 30 minutes, Interval Training can give you as much benefit and improvement as five sessions of 60 minutes of steady tempo or aerobic training. Why is this? Working your muscles during High Intensity Interval Training combines two of the most effective fat-burning methods. First, through working your muscles to a level of fatigue that prompts the highest amounts of oxygen use during a quick burst. Second, at this level of ‘VO2 MAX’, triggering an afterburn effect which can last for up to 48 hours after your workout.
So interval training accelerates your elite fitness goals through boosting your metabolism and building lean muscle tissue, faster than steady state training. Why is this? Normal tempo cardio training just maximizes your aerobic fitness, but very gradually between essential conscious occasional days of rest (we recommend every third day should be a rest day). But High Intensity Interval Training taxes and maximizes BOTH aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Aerobic respiration requires Oxygen to generate energy, while anaerobic training does not. And High Intensity Interval Training affects mucle tissue at a cellular level, actually changing what’s known as the ‘mitochondrial’ activity in the muscles themselves. This is why Intervals can get your muscles in better shape but in less time.
Road Interval Training
Find a quiet circuit near your home with minimal junctions or exit driveways – because you will be accelerating from 15 to 45 mph (25 to 65 kph), over 300 metre spurts. If there are plenty of hills nearby, you can do sessions of around 50 minutes, with 3 minute efforts on the rises, followed by around 8 minute rest periods. But you can be more intense on the flat. For around 40 minutes on a flate circuit, keep sprinting for trees or road signs that are about 300 metres ahead. Jump out of corners for these landmarks in gear of 53×16 and put maximum pedal power to accelerate until you can gear up to 53×14 and keep the power on. For a racing cyclist this will simulate how you will have to be able to accelerate to close gaps or gain the right position near the end of a bunch sprint.
Soft pedal with no effort between the sprints, for around 400 metres. Then accelerate again and repeat this for 12 to 16 times during your session. At the end, do two close 300 metre power sprints ahead of a ‘Big Finish’, where you will be on maximum power. Then your interval session is complete and you can rest and warm down, by soft-pedaling over the next few kilometers home.
Home Interval Training
Use your home exercise bike or turbo trainer for lots of easy suppleness spinning to relax, together with aerobic tempo and interval training. For home interval training, get used to counting your pedal revs and using a build up routine, where you count for 20 revs hard, 20 revs soft, then 30 revs hard, 30 revs soft and so on, building up to 200 revs hard and 200 revs soft. This is maximum intensity and then come down to 160 revs hard, 160 revs soft, then lesser sprints in jumps of 20 revs, until you get to just 20 revs hard and 20 soft. Give yourself our final spurt of 100 revs on full power as ‘The Big Finish’ (visualizing,say. Your sprint victory like Mark Cavendish or Sir Chris Hoy would do it!). Then take 500 revs of warm down and relax.
So on the road or on your home exercise bike, High Intensity Interval Training will improve your Elite Cycling Fitness in double quick time.