Are you an aspiring or returning cyclist looking to get in shape and challenge yourself? Training cycling plans, especially if you are starting out, can seem daunting. Don’t let that prevent you from pursuing your passion though.
This post will provide an outline of how to prepare for a cycling race and what training plan you should try following. Whether your goal is to add some speed on cycle routes or tackle more ambitious courses, there’s something here for everyone who’s just getting started with cycling!
Before we jump into the training plan, let’s cover some of the basics.
Set your cycling goals
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish will keep you motivated and focused.
What do you want to achieve? Is it tackling a tough hill climb, improving your speed, or participating in your first race? Whatever your goal may be, the key is to make it challenging yet achievable.
Make sure that you get your long rides in
Long rides form the backbone of any training plan. Not only will they help to build your endurance and strength, but they’ll also give you the confidence you need to tackle more difficult courses.
The best way to get started is with a few easy rides each week of around 1–2 hours in duration. Once these become comfortable, start to push yourself with longer rides of around 3–4 hours.
Develop your technique
Are you ready to take your cycling skills to the next level? It’s time to develop your technique and discover what you’re truly capable of.
Through focused practice, you can refine your form and improve your speed. You’ll also become more confident in challenging terrain, allowing you to take on bigger, bolder rides.
One thing you should consider is your downhill riding technique. Do several runs down a long hill and time yourself. See how you can improve this descent with various techniques.
Get more muscle power
With the right combination of exercises and proper nutrition, you can increase your muscle mass and improve your overall performance.
Focus on aerobic exercises, such as running and swimming, to develop your endurance and improve your muscle power. You can also incorporate strength training into your routine. Try using lightweight dumbbells and resistance bands for a full-body workout that will help you become more powerful on the bike.
Get enough rest
It’s not all about the training, though. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re getting enough rest and recovery time.
Make sure to take a day or two off from cycling each week so your body can recover from the previous rides. Additionally, always stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep each night (at least 8 hours). These will give you the energy and strength you need to stay focused and motivated during your training.
Establish your cycling training zones
By determining your personal zones, you can tailor your workouts to your fitness level and avoid overexerting yourself.
This will not only prevent injury but also help you reach your cycling goals faster. To establish your training zones, you can use a heart rate monitor or power meter to track your progress over time.
Once you have a better understanding of your zones, you can focus on specific types of rides, such as endurance rides or interval training, to improve your cycling performance. So, take the time to establish your training zones and watch your cycling ability soar.
Drink enough fluids
It’s always important to stay hydrated while training, and before and during races. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids during your ride, as dehydration can cause fatigue and decrease performance.
The amount of water you should drink depends on your personal sweat levels. It’s important that you work out how much fluid you need at a variety of intensities and in varying weather conditions. You’ll have to do this over a few rides to get a good gauge.
12-week training schedule for cyclists
With the below training plan, after three months you’ll be ready to ride 60 to 160 kilometres. This obviously depends on your current fitness and how you achieve your goals, but this is a fairly good steer for that distance.
Weeks one to three
During these weeks you need to use Mondays for preparation (week 1), recovery day (week 2), and rest (week 3). On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you should complete a 1hr ride each day, with the exception of week 2 where you’ll do a 90-minute ride.
On Thursdays, the first week should be two short sessions of 30 to 40 minutes each, with weeks 2 and 3 focusing on areas of weakness. Fridays are your rest days during these three weeks, while Saturdays are endurance training moving from 30 – 40% of the event distance in week 1, to 50 – 60% in week 3.
On Sundays, complete a 1hr ride of either higher than normal cadence or in a bigger gear. Mix it up.
Weeks four to six
Mondays start with a rest in week 4 followed by a 1hr to 1h30 light spin in week 5 and a 1hr ride in week 6. For Tuesdays, start week 4 with a 45-minute ride and on week 5 go for a 2hr ride while in week 6 pull back to a 1h30 ride. For all these Tuesday rides, go at the top of zone 2 effort.
On Wednesdays, focus on a 1hr to 1h30 ride working on areas of weakness or interval training. For Thursdays, start week 4 with rest followed by two shorter sessions for one hour each in week 5. Week 6 is a choice day, to focus on any area of weakness.
The first Friday of this set should be a rest day, followed by a light 1hr light spin in weeks 5 and 6. Saturdays are all about endurance, where you’ll range from riding 25% of the race distance in week 4 all the way up to 70% in week 6. For Sundays, complete the Saturday ride if it was missed. Otherwise a 2hr ride.
Week seven to nine
Monday – recovery day in week 7 of 1hr light spin, with a rest day for weeks 8 and 9. On Tuesdays, start off with a light day in week 7 followed by a 1hr ride in week 8 and a 45 to 60-minute morning ride in week 9.
Wednesdays you’ll need to do slightly longer rides, starting with a 2hr ride in week 7 and a 1hr ride in weeks 8 and 9. On Thursdays, you’ll need to work on an area of weakness in week 7, rest in week 8, and do two short sessions of 30 to 40 minutes in week 9.
Fridays – rest! Saturdays, back to endurance training starting with 60 to 70% of the event distance in week 7, 40% in week 8, and 50% in week 9. On Sundays, do the Saturday ride if you missed it. Otherwise a 2hr ride.
Weeks ten to twelve
Start with a recovery day on the first Monday, followed by rest for the last two. On Tuesdays, do a 1hr ride in week 10, two short sessions in week 11 of 30 to 40 minutes each, and a 1hr ride in week 12.
On Wednesdays you should start the 10th week with a 1hr30 ride, followed by a 1hr ride in weeks 11 and 12. Thursdays are a mix of working on weakness in week 10, resting in week 11, and doing a 1hr light spin in week 12. Fridays, rest!
Back to endurance on Saturdays, starting off with 40% event distance in week 10, 30 – 40% in week 11, and either resting or focusing on weakness in week 12 to get race ready.
Get race ready
By focusing on the above training plan, you should be able to complete a ride up to 160 kilometres by the 12th week and be ready for the race. If you follow the plan well, you’ll develop strength in a variety of areas and train your body to handle long distances, climbs and how to manage your fluid intake.
As always, think carefully about your nutrition.
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