A Better Bike Game Plan

Say goodbye to endless sweat sessions on the saddle—here’s an effective approach to get faster logging fewer hours.

The classic training concept of “periodisation” means going from general workouts to race-specific training sessions throughout the course of a season, but that can often be misconstrued and lead to long, low-intensity rides to nowhere, physically and physiologically.

Apply the concept of periodisation to your cycling as it was truly intended: getting your high-intensity work in early and adding in the endurance aspect later.

Why no marathon spins on the trainer? They certainly sound impressive, but you can achieve a lot of the same benefits (and likely get even faster) in less time.

Who should follow this plan? If you’re new to endurance training, focus on building your aerobic base by accumulating kilometres on a variety of ride types. You will most likely improve by simply spending time on your bike. If you have trained for a few years, consistently or with an intermittent focus, you are probably ready for a plan like this.

Know Before You Start:

The length of the plan will vary depending on the date of your chosen target race or event.

Start Phase I a minimum of 14 weeks prior to your “A” race if you’re coming into the plan with good aerobic fitness (which means you would skip the pre-season phases).

1) Depending on your other training, you may need to back off to easy intensity every fourth week or so.

2) The consistent increases in this plan assume that cycling constitutes most of the intensity of your training load.

3) At the start of each new phase, week 1 should target the least amount of time in the specified range for recovery. For example, in Phase II, even if you previously built up to a main set of 45 minutes, drop it back to 30 minutes in week five.

4) You should begin this plan with a Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test so you can accurately track progress.

5) It’s ideal to do the midweek rides on a trainer to perform the intervals with fewer interruptions. As weather allows, get in at least a few outdoor rides (always good to practice handling skills) and focus on staying in aero indoors.