Eight weeks to a strong summer cycling season
Whether you want to bike race or participate in a tour or a charity ride, a training plan based on sensible training principles will make efficient use of your time and yield the best results. And now is the time to start.
A well-designed training plan is based on the principle of periodization. You must overload or stress your body and allow it to recover and rebuild itself stronger than it was before. A four-week training block consists of three weeks of progressive overload followed by one week of recovery. Fitness gains are made during recovery phases.
Here is an eight-week spring training plan to get you ready for a summer of fun on the bike. Athletes who use heart rate or have a power meter to measure watts are familiar with training zones, but you don’t have to go high tech to be able to train as an athlete.
Training zones can be as simple as paying attention to your Rate of Perceived Exertion, or RPE. RPE is a fairly subjective measure of exercise intensity that rates how hard you feel you are working, with 1 being the easiest and 10 being the hardest (see the accompanying training chart for more details on judging your RPE).
Unless otherwise specified, you should ride at endurance pace, RPE 4-5. Warm up at least 10 minutes before doing any intervals. Recovery between intervals (RBI) should be at recovery pace, RPE 1-3. The duration of the workout depends on your goals, fitness level, time available and the weather. For instance, the training chart suggests a four-hour ride by the seventh week of training. However, if this is still too difficult, or time is an issue, simply shorten the ride.
Janice Tower is a certified USA Cycling Level 1 Coach and has been coaching athletes since 2004. Visit Janice at www.towercoaching.com.
Eight-week training plan
Improve your strength with this eight-week training plan, and be ready for the first bike race of the season.