Cycling Interval Training Using Your Home Exercise Bike
These apply whether you are a seasoned rider or a beginner, whether you are a top triathlete or a new rider contemplating some testing sportives. We have learned our training methods through many hours and days riding with some of the world’s top riders. Here is a brief summary of the points that we feel really matter.
It’s important to keep a training and eating diary too, for every day’s activity and calorie consumption. But just track your weight once each week. We suggest Monday mornings, because if you feel you are behind on your weight-loss goals, then you can normally put in a really strong Sunday ride and then be really careful with Sunday lunch and tea-time food quantity and calories! You can think of these as golden rules – and if you try to just break ONLY one rule per week, then you WILL become a fitter cyclist. Just one rule though. If some rules seem too simple for you that’s fine – just keep a mental note of the rules that work for you. Then we suggest that you move on to the more Advanced pages in:
So here goes:
1. Rest every third day
2. Do not train when you feel hungry or unwell.
3. Forget the gym
4. Set gradual goals and keep to them
5. Keep high pedaling cadence on low gears
6. Save the big ring for competition and interval sprint training
7. Train alternate days for leg rides, tempo and intervals
8. Take ALL your body’s signals VERY Seriously
9. Never increase on your previous week’s workloads, in training hours or kilometres, by more than 20 percent on the previous week (including competition)
10. Build a roster of favourite routes with minimal traffic, over one, two, three hour circuits – or more; some hilly and some flat.
Take ALL your body’s signals VERY Seriously – as a serious cyclist or triathlete, you are really pushing your body. Regularly you are pushing your heart and lungs and legs into areas of fatigue that normally improve your fitness, but sometimes cause levels of strain or fatigue that you should heed and respect. Overtrain, and your body will pay you back. Don’t stretch and warm up properly before interval training and you can easily pull a muscle. Check your waking, morning pulse and recognise when it is higher than average. Then make that day a rest day. Respond to aching knees or strains by immediately checking your riding position with an experienced coach; plus remember to check the alignment of your pedal cleats and riding shoes.
If you regularly suffer chronic lower back pain, learn the relevant yoga stretches, for before and after your rides. In training, spend more time riding out of the saddle and lower your gears. But see your doctor, chiropractor and sports physiotherapist — and deal with the causes rather than the symptoms. Also try to get at least 30 minutes of massage therapy when your muscles are sore, to improve blood flow to the sore muscle tissue and release micro-adhesions associated with muscle repair. This can be a painful technique to reduce soreness. Ask your senior teammates or doctor to recommend a good sports physiotherapist.
Make sure you get at least eight to 10 hours of sleep to help with muscle recovery. Muscles that have been adequately repaired will not be sore. The body repairs itself at night and important hormones are triggered to signal repair to muscle tissue. Failing to get eight to 10 hours will decrease the hormonal response and recovery will be slower. This means the muscle tissue will be sore for a longer duration.
Never increase on your previous week’s workloads, in training hours or kilometres, by more than 20 percent on the previous week (including competition) – a no brainer. Gradual improvement is the key. Increase on the previous week at a higher level and you will be straining your system too far. Remember there is no quick fix. So you have to plan backwards from your distance or racing goals, to make sure you keep to this rule and start your build- up early enough.
Build a roster of favourite routes with minimal traffic, over one, two, three hour circuits – or more; some hilly and some flat. Again, variety is key. Circuits are preferred to out-and-back. Just find routes that you feel good and comfortable on. And never risk busy roads for the sake of some easy flat kilometres. Sometimes do your easy day on a hilly circuit. Sometimes use those hills for your interval training. Observe the routes that sportives follow or top races use. These are often testing and fun. Measure your own preferred variations on these courses, for distance and time. Then, on your tempo rides, try to improve your times. Combine this with Cycling Interval Training Using Your Home Exercise Bike for the perfect endurance training programme.