I’m happy to announce a new training plan here on Training4cyclists.com. It is a bike training plan developed for serious road cyclists with ambitions to ride a little faster.
This training plan will improve your performance within 6 weeks. It’s going to be a tough training plan to complete so don’t enter this training plan if you feel unsure. It’s a demanding training plan, but its is not unrealistic to complete.
Actually, the 6-week training plan is designed to increase your chances of completing the training plan as intended.
Please bookmark this training plan:
Week 1: Tiny increments in training volume
Week 2: Sub-threshold intervals for aerobic performance
Week 3: Add more training volume
Week 4: Keep momentum
Week 5: Reaching a new level
Week 6: New training routine
The 6-Week Training Plan is made for riders who train on avg. 7hrs per week. The goal is to increase your training volume over next 6 weeks. Small increments in training volume each week will make a significant improvement when they are all added together. These increments are almost invisible and you won’t notice anything the first two to three weeks. But these increments work as you continue to add more depth to your training volume.
When your training volume per week goes up, you’ll reach a higher level of aerobic performance. As mentioned before, adding more hours is one of the most effective methods to improve cycling performance.
This training plan will make you faster and fitter, and ultimately increase your chances of winning a cycling race.
If you train less than 7 hrs / week, you should adjust your training volume accordingly. Training sessions in orange are the most important parts in this training plan while training session written in yellow can be removed if you need to reduce total training time.
If you train more than 7 hrs / week, you should add more hours to the training plan. In week 1 you can add more volume on all days.
If you are used to a training volume of more than 12+ hrs / week, the 6-week training plan might very likely help you too, but personally I would suggest a more specific training plan based on your current fitness and ambitions. Also, if you have a significant training volume, you should consider to implement some kind of periodization (recovery weeks etc.).
Intervals based on performance test
Before you enter this training plan, you’ll need to estimate or measure your current power output at threshold power. For practical purposes this can be done with a 30-min performance test where your average power. This 30min performance test might at least in theory overestimate your ‘functional threshold power’.
However, from a practical point of view a 30-min test is a secure and proven method used to calculate intervals. During the performance test it might be necessary to adjust your pace slightly, but that’s how performance tests are. Also, remember that a 30-min performance test is a great training session in itself.
You can find more information about training intensities here.
Example, Thursday week 1:
1.5 hours – 2 x 10min Sub-threshold
20min warm-up (start slowly and work your heart rate up in small steps to about 80%)
10min Sub-threshold (80-87% of maximum heart rate / 80-90% of threshold power)
5 to 10min recovery ( <65% of maximum heart rate / <55% of threshold power). If you need more recovery time for any reason, no problem.
10min Sub-threshold (80-87% of maximum heart rate / 80-90% of threshold power)
30min Endurance training (65-80% of maximum heart rate / 55-80% of threshold power)
10min cool down (<65% of maximum heart rate / <55% of threshold power)
Sub-threshold intervals are a safe and great method to develop a solid aerobic engine. Because they are performed at an intensity safely below threshold power, you can perform impressive amounts of these without overshooting.
Also, there is no reason to stress too much about length of recovery between intervals. Most often 5 to 10 minutes would be fine, but you will also achieve great results with shorter or longer recovery.
I have defined sub-threshold intensity as 80 to 87% of your maximum heart rate indicating that you can make these intervals quite easy as well as quite difficult. There is room for personal fitting. It’s clear that there is quite a difference between 80 and 87% of maximum heart rate.
Some days you will appreciate a light 80% workout and some days you will push yourself to the limit with a 87% workout.
Use your best judgement to decide the right intensity.
If you use a power meter as pacing tool, I suggest you aim for 80 to 90% of threshold power during sub-threshold intervals. Again, it is worth to remember that there is a significant difference between 80 and 90 %.
It is clear that pacing with a power meter is much easier, but in most cases it is possible to learn how to get the right pace for threshold intervals using a heart rate monitor or simply just your gut feeling. Experienced riders know how to pace themselves in a sub-threshold interval because they have performed tons of them.
However, in the end it is up to you to decide how hard you want to push yourself through these intervals.
Adding more hours to your training volume is a secure way to improve performance. However, if you want to benefit from the tiny increments in week 1, you’ll have to do at least the same in week 2. The magic from these small adjustments to your weekly workload will only happen if you do your best to push a little harder.
In week 2 there are also some minor adjustments to the sub-threshold interval volume. Generally, I believe sub-threshold intervals should be an integral part of any serious training plan. If you want to to build aerobic endurance, it’s difficult to find reasons not to use sub-threshold intervals once in a while.
When you train at this rather safe intensity slightly lower than threshold power, you are able to work for longer time with minimal anaerobic metabolism. In fact this is really great for your chances to reach better performance because you can perform impressive amounts of these intervals without overshooting.
Thus, riding sub-threshold intervals will improve your aerobic performance, but have almost no impact on your anaerobic endurance and minimal impact on your recovery time.
This 6-week training plan has a goal to increase your training volume from 7 to 9 hours per week. By making this increment in small steps there is a better chance that you will succeed. Therefore, the goal for week 3 is to reach a total training volume of 8hrs. As always, interval training days have the highest priority. If necessary, it is possible to switch training days, but it is suggested to have at least one day off or an easy training session between the three ‘orange’ training days.
In week 3 there is a new interval session: threshold power intervals. These intervals are by definition significantly harder than sub-threshold intervals, but they will also have a deeper impact on your progress.
What are power sprints?
A power sprint is my little input to your neural system because they are so great to make neural adaptations. From a very low speed (0 to 5 km/hr) you should make a very explosive acceleration for about 10 seconds. Use gear ratio 53 / 14-17 teeth.
You can do both seated and standing sprints. You are allowed to use your upper body as well as your legs. You will need a full recovery (at least 5 min) before every power sprint.
By doing these power sprints twice a week you’ll become stronger and make powerful launches of attacks and sprints. Also, there might actually be a little benefit for your endurance as well.
It takes time to adapt to new training routines, but this 6-week training plan makes so small tweaks to your current training volume that it is almost invincible. However, over time your body will notice that there is rising need of recovery. Therefore, it is very important that you keep momentum and use your motivation to pay more attention to your diet. Weight loss is not a focus point, but you need to give your body the best fuel for serious cycling training.
It is important to first adapt to your new training volume before you implement too many interval training sessions and cycling races. It is possible to increase both training volume and intensity at the same time, but there is also a greater risk of overshooting. Still, adding small amounts of VO2 max sessions will be good for your progress so I suggest you implement some VO2 max training in week 5. This is also a very important step towards being fully acclimatized to a higher training volume.
In the final week you’ll manage a total training volume of 9 hrs including both power sprints, sub-threshold power intervals, threshold power intervals, VO2 max training and endurance rides of more than 3hrs.
Depending on your ambitions you could take a few easy training days after week 6 and then I expect you to be significant stronger than before entering this training plan.
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