When talking about cycling training, most people think of a rigid preparation of tables full of repetitions and periodization, with training cycles that must be strictly followed and rules more similar to a dogma than to a workout.
When you decide to train for an important competition, such as a mountain bike marathon or gravel race, but also when you decide to begin a cycling adventure on your own, what you have to do is to define your goal and then decide the course your training will take to achieve the goal you established.
Just as in any other sport, when you create a bike workout plan, the first thing to do is to draw the basic lines you should then follow. These guidelines often adapt to the chosen discipline, and they will change based on the type of sport you actually practice.
The workout, therefore, must be scheduled in a smart way. The purpose is that of achieving your goals and to do this you will need a clear plan.
The main thing to understand when drawing up a bike workout plan is that getting in the saddle and pedaling is not enough to help you achieve the performance. Therefore, if your goal is that of attending a cycling competition or facing a long bike ride, you should learn how to create a bike workout plan.
Characteristics Of A Bike Workout Plan
Despite the fancy name, a bike workout plan is a training program used to indicate the type of workout that should be performed in each season and that should highlight the expected outcomes of the workout. For this reason, the bike workout plan must enclose all the details of the training sessions that must be accomplished in order to reach your intended goal.
Creating a bike workout plan is an excellent idea, as having your training sessions written down on paper will allow you to monitor your commitment and establish new goals to achieve before reaching the final objective.
A bike workout plan can also help you understand how realistic your goals are and how much time you need in order to accomplish them.
Apart from this, a bike workout plan also represents a first step in approaching your athletic training from a more scientific perspective. Having and following a workout plan can help you avoid gross errors and overtraining.
In conclusion, if you have some goals or objectives you want to achieve, both in the near future and in the long run, it is highly recommended to build your own workout plan. This will help you maximize your outputs and keep your motivation high.
You will also know what training you are doing and when, and above all why you are doing it.
For cycling, the best time to create your workout plan is in mid-autumn. Winter is usually a rest period for the cyclists, therefore you will have all the time to schedule and plan your activities for the next season, without making the error of creating a quick plan without carefully considering your objectives first.
Periods of A Bike Workout Plan
Typically, a workout plan is divided into four major periods:
- Transition period: at the beginning of a new season, your training will be in a transition period. In this period, especially when you are starting the workout after a winter break, you will feel drained of energy and the training will not be one of the most effective. For this reason, during this period it is recommended to plan low-intensity training sessions, mainly focused on alternative sports such as walking or running. The transition period should last about a month, paying attention to accelerate the rhythm from one week to the other.
- Construction period: after the transition period, it is time to build up your aerobic and anaerobic resistance and build up your muscular tonus and capability. The construction period is of a crucial importance as it will prepare you for the next intense workout stage. To improve your aerobic and anaerobic resistance, take long riding trips and schedule a workout plan at the gym. The construction period should last for about two months.
- Intensity period: without a doubt, this is the most important phase of your bike workout plan. In this phase, the amount of the workout should decrease, yet the training sessions must be intense. A good workout plan for this period is the interval training that we already discussed in detail. This period should last at least one month, although it is advisable to plan your intensity period for two months.
- Maintenance period: this phase should coincide with the beginning of the cycling season. In the maintenance period, you have to train to maintain the highest level of physical fitness required to achieve your goals. Design a smart workout plan that includes enough rest periods to avoid getting overloaded.
Now, let’s see how to draw up a great bike workout plan.
Guidelines To Create A Great Bike Workout Plan
One of the most frequent mistakes cyclists make when drawing up their own workout plan is downloading the professional workout tables from the internet in an attempt to imitate them.
However, this is the first step to losing enthusiasm, as a professional workload is untenable for a person who has to combine training with work, family, and social life. For this reason, the workout plan must always be based on your own lifestyle and drawn around it.
The other mistake to avoid is to set too high goals. Training to win an important competition, such as the Tour of France, in the first year of activity is the typical mistake that identifies with a too high goal. Just like following a professional plan, setting too high goals is unsustainable and will lead to loss of motivation, not to speak about depression in some rare cases.
Therefore, to create your own workout plan you have to first analyze yourself and evaluate your own defects and strengths. By doing so you will be able to identify goals in line with your life and ability as well as with the real time you have available.
Another thing to avoid is to follow your plan to letter even if it turns out that the training plan you draw is unsuitable for you. In this case, remember that sometimes things don’t go as we have planned them.
As such, you don’t have to insist and follow a training plan that maybe is too bland or too demanding. You should also be flexible and have a positive approach to the days when maybe you don’t really feel like training and you don’t have to start a crisis if you jumped a workout session.
A bike workout plan should be a guide, not a dogma. For this reason, the best thing to do is to establish a dynamic workout planning, which can be modified from time to time.
How To Make Your Own Training Plan
By now, you might be wondering how to create your own workout plan. There is nothing complicated about it, but you need to follow a few steps to design a training plan able to help you achieve your goals.
- Analyze the past season
The first step in drawing an effective workout plan is analyzing the performances you achieved in your last season. Evaluated your mistakes and strengths and try to improve them;
- Define your final goal
Your workout must have a clear goal. Whether it is a race, a trail, and trip, or even a getaway with friends, you must mark that date on a calendar. Setting a goal and a final date will help you stay focused on training.
- Find the right workout
Think about the activities you like best, cycling excluded. This can be walking, running, going to the gym, etc.
- Determine the hours
You should decide how many hours you want to spend each week on training. Ideally, you should mark the training days in a calendar and establish a rough hour to perform the workout.
- Divide the workout into the periods
Remember the four periods mentioned above? Divide your workout plan into the four periods, following the indicated length for each period.
- Define intermediate goals
It doesn’t really matter if those goals are losing a pound or shortening a race time. Set goals and work to achieve them. They will also help you stay focused and motivated since working for a distant goal alone is often frustrating.
- Divide your workout plan into weeks
Allocate to each week the number of workout hours you have decided to dedicate to this activity. If you decided to do several types of workout, decide what type of workout you should do in every week and write everything on the calendar. Remember that each week must have rest days or you should rest for one week after each three weeks of intensive training.
Following these steps, you will be able to draw the best bike workout plan for you. Once you’ve done it, follow it day after day and remember that reaching your objectives will turn into a rewarding activity!