Based on my limiters and goals covered in previous posts I set about putting a training plan together and training cycles. As I stated in my previous post I used Joe Friel’s excellent Cyclists Training Bible. Joe Friel divides a training plan into Transition, Preparation, , , and . In this 4th and last post on my goals and planning I will complete my coverage of my off season preparation.

Transition: Is the period before training begins. I had put in a decent racing season last year so I took 2.5 weeks off from all training and relaxed, spent time with family. I also used this time to catch up on some of the things I ignored during the racing season. The transition period can be as long as 6 weeks.

Preparation: Is all about getting the body ready for training. This last season I stayed off the bike during the preparation period of 3 weeks and ran. Yes I ran primarily on the treadmill. I have read over and over the last few years that since the sport of cycling is not a load bearing sport that we should run in the off season to up bone density because we also loose calcium over the season due to the nature of our endurance based activities. Now this year I am reading that bone loss should no longer be considered an issue as long as I am eating right. The running was also a way for me to add volume to my training plan for the purposes of developing my aerobic fitness and burn fat. I was not trying to run a a marathon so I worked up to a regular 5K run 2-3 times a week.

I also spent this time getting use to the equipment in the gym and its layout as I signed up at a new gym this year. The weight lifting was very light at first and as I progressed I decided to seek out the help of a strength coach. After speaking with the strength coach I was told not to take any supplements other than a multivitamin and the occasional ibuprofen for 1 month. This was done in an effort to prepare my body for a much more regimented supplement schedule. I will cover my experiences with supplements in a later post.

My transition week:

  • Monday AM- Stretch, Lunch-Run, PM-Stretch/Light Core
  • Tuesday AM-Stretch, PM-Stretch
  • Wednesday AM- Stretch, Lunch-Run, PM-Stretch/Light Core
  • Thursday AM-Stretch, PM-Stretch
  • Friday AM- Stretch, Lunch-Run, PM-Stretch
  • Saturday AM-Stretch, PM-Stretch
  • Sunday AM-Stretch, PM-Stretch

Training: There are 3-4 levels of Training in each off season training plan that last from 8-12 weeks. Each phase adds even more training volume than the previous. The transition period is about getting your body ready for these longer but less intense workouts. My training included, running, lifting and rides that focused on building endurance. These rides were from 1 – 4 hours in length. I have read that if you are training to you should never ride more than an hour longer than your longest otherwise you are wasting your time. I would say for the most part this is accurate but there are training programs that use over compensation to improve performance.

My base training volume was intense to say the least. I was working on my core, running, riding, and lifting. For the most part I had something on my plate every day. For those of you that have used a structured plan you may say that the above was a recipe for burnout. I was close very close. It wasn’t that the work I was doing was so hard but that there was so much of it. I will change this for the next off season how yet I cant say but I will change it.

My typical base week:

  • Monday AM- Stretch/Core, Lunch-Run, PM-Stretch
  • Tuesday AM-Stretch + Leg Speed Intervals, Lunch-Strength Training, PM 1-2.5 hours or aerobic riding on the trainer
  • Wednesday AM- Stretch/Core, Lunch-Run, PM-Stretch
  • Thursday AM-Stretch + Leg Speed Intervals, Lunch-Strength Training, PM 1-2.5 hours or aerobic riding on the trainer
  • Friday AM- Stretch/Core, Lunch-Run, PM-Stretch/Recovery Ride
  • Saturday AM or PM Stretch, 1.5-2.5 hour tempo ride at sub threshold HR on rollers
  • Sunday AM or PM Stretch, 2-4 hour long steady aerobic ride preferably outdoors or trainer

: There are 2-3 levels of build that cover 6-12 weeks of very hard and intense work. The volume drops off, the intensity on the bike increases, the weight at the gym increases then lightens with more reps, and plyometrics replace running.

I went into the build phase with the mentality of a gym rat and was still pushing big weights when I should have been lifting lighter weights with more reps. I changed this after 3 weeks into the build phase. I also changed my gym schedule to include time on a spin bike. I also completed an on bike field test at the end of each build phase. My resting Heart Rate had dropped 20 beats and my Max HR increased by 8 beats over last year! I do not expect to see my Max HR increase much more than where it is now. Each field test was done on rollers following a protocol that had been given to me by the team coach.

My typical build week:

  • Monday AM- Stretch/Core, PM-Stretch (Recovery day)
  • Tuesday AM-Stretch/Core + Leg Speed Intervals, Lunch-Strength Training, PM .5-1.2 hours of intervals on the trainer
  • Wednesday AM- Stretch/Core/Plyometrics, Lunch-Sprint Intervals, PM-Stretch
  • Thursday AM-Stretch/Core + Leg Speed Intervals, Lunch-Strength Training, PM .5-1.2 hours of intervals on the trainer
  • Friday AM- Stretch/Core/Plyometrics, Lunch-Sprint Intervals, PM-Stretch
  • Saturday AM or PM Stretch, 1.5-2.5 hour tempo ride at sub threshold HR on rollers
  • Sunday AM or PM Stretch, 2-4 hour long steady aerobic ride preferably outdoors or trainer

: Its now time to put it all together. In the phase of 2-4 weeks I focused on my strengths and began to . Volume is reduced but now I let my new fitness shine by pushing harder on shorter training days and taking more recovery time.

My typical Peak week:

  • Monday AM- Stretch, PM-Stretch (Recovery day)
  • Tuesday AM-Stretch, Lunch-Strength Training, PM .5-1 hours of intervals on the trainer
  • Wednesday AM- Stretch, PM-Stretch (Recovery day)
  • Thursday AM-Stretch, Lunch-Strength Training, PM .5-1 hours of intervals on the trainer
  • Friday AM- Stretch, PM-Stretch (Recovery day) if racing on Sat easy .5 ride with 2 hard 1 minute efforts.
  • Saturday AM and PM Stretch, 1.5 hour tempo ride just below threshold or race or fast group ride
  • Sunday AM and PM Stretch, 2-3.5 hour long steady aerobic ride preferably outdoors or trainer or race

Race Season: Peaking is more like voodoo rather than an exact science. I followed the formula but I knew from past experience that I would not peak in mid May but more like mid June. So I would have what could be called a long peak or a 3rd build phase. My race period ran March until the end of June. I was a little concerned about how to schedule training so I called the team coach and was given a very simple in season training program. Mon Recover, Tue Fast Group Ride, Wed Recover, Thu Intervals, Fri Recover unless their is a race, Sat Race or fast Group ride Sunday Race or Long Easy solo ride.

This schedule concerned me a bit so I called a teammate that is becoming a coach. Long story short I am his first athlete. We tweaked the above suggested program. Below is what we did.

My typical Race week:

  • Monday AM- Stretch, Lunch-Strength Training, PM-Stretch (Recovery day if raced on Sunday)
  • Tuesday AM-Stretch/Super Spin Intervals, PM 1.5-2.5 hours of fast group rides or local crit races
  • Wednesday AM- Stretch, Lunch-Strength Training, PM-Stretch
  • Thursday AM-Stretch/Super Spin Intervals, PM 1.5-2.5 hours of solo training
  • Friday AM- Stretch, PM-Stretch (Recovery day) if racing on Sat easy .5 ride with 2 hard 1 minute efforts.
  • Saturday AM and PM Stretch, 1.5 hour tempo ride just below threshold or race or team training ride
  • Sunday AM and PM Stretch, 2-3.5 hour long steady aerobic ride preferably outdoors or trainer or race

Transition: By now I am feeling cooked and this is where I am in my 2009 season. I had planned on taking a week off and I put it off and put it off. Big mistake! I am now down for the count. I won’t go into the details but now I need to take more tim down then I expected. It will be 2-3 weeks down. This should still allow me to peak one more time this season some time Mid august to Early Sept. If I wasn’t expected to take a hard rest I would be out with the family or catching up on work around the house.

Thank you following this rather long winded post but I was on a roll. I promise that future posts wont be this long! These posts are also for my coach to help him gain insite into my thoughts on training. In the future I hope to offer a downloadable training log.

Get out and ride!