Training is next to losing weight the most effective way to get better and faster. Well-documented studies about training come up with one conclusion that intensity of training is the most important factor. So most significant progress by training is reached with high intensity. That means training at a high speed, high HR and a high percentage of VO2 max and FTP.
First of all, the rider must have a good basic level of fitness before he can train with high intensity without problems. It is clear that training with a high intensity can be sustained for only a short time. Therefore, the training is always carried out in the form of intervals; short blocks with high speed are alternated with short blocks at low speed. That training with high intensity is the most effective, it follows logically from the fact that only then all energy supplying systems are trained and developed.
Not only fat burning and aerobic conversion of glycogen is trained at high intensity, but also the anaerobic and the ATP system. A large part of the cycling training takes place at a low speed and intensity. In this way meets the requirement of sufficient variation in training.
- Developing stamina and leg muscles, green zone.
Here the goal is that the body will slowly adapt to the load of the cycling performance. Both the cardiopulmonary system as the leg muscles will develop, cells are damaged by the training load and replaced with stronger cells / fibers / muscle.In order to achieve this transformation, it is necessary to make for months to years consistent many kilometers.
This training can and should be done at a moderate pace, around 70% HR max. In this way the training can be sustained for hours.
This training is also called the ‘long slow distance’ training.
- Building up lactate resistance, tempo hardness and increase FTP. Orange red zone.
The goal is to train the body to a high pace, slightly above the anaerobic threshold to be able to maintain long. Above the anaerobic threshold creates lactic acid from the anaerobic breakdown of glycogen. If the speed is much higher than the anaerobic threshold speed than the lactic acid content may be increased significantly. Causing the legs to feel tired and the intensity of the exercise can no longer be sustained. The training is intended to teach the bodies cope with high levels of lactic acid. Hence the term lactate resistance. Lactate is lactic acid.
The training is thus carried out with a high intensity, in the order of 85 – 90% HR max. Such training can be maintained only for a short time, from 5 minutes up to 1 hour.
- Increase aerobic capacity
This is a very important training goal, because our performance, in practice, is mainly determined by the VO2 max. In order to increase the VO2 max, it is necessary to work out close to the HR max, in the order of 90 – 100% HR max. This is possible only by intervals of a few minutes, which are alternated by a low intensity for the recovery. Intervals: 4 – 6 minutes. Recovery time: 2 – 3 minutes.
- Increase anaerobic capacity and speed
This workout intensity is so high, so the speed is so high, that the anaerobic system should make a substantial contribution for the energy supply. The training stimuli go beyond what the aerobic system can deliver. This is only possible with quick and short intervals, the HR max is reached and the intensity exceeds 100% of VO2 max. The anaerobic system is then stimulated to supply the required energy needed to work with intensity in excess of 100% of VO2 max.
Consider that 100% of VO2 max is reached in a short time trial of 10 minutes. The speed at this training form has to be higher than that of a short time trial.
- Increase cycle efficiency
This involves training of the body to drive efficiently at race speed. This involves optimizing things like cadence, so the choice of the gear, bicycle design and cycling position. The training is primarily aimed to let the body get used to the race speed, which caused a better cycle efficiency.
The training goals can be achieved with the right choice of training methods:
- Recovery training, gray zone
This form of training is the quietest form of training and aims to ensure that the recovery is accelerated. Fatigue disappears faster on mild exertion. Waste products are then quickly removed contributing to the recovery. The intensity must be low, less than 55% of the FTP. The training volume is between 30 and 90 minutes.
- Endurance training, green zone
This is undoubtedly the most popular form of training. Many riders ride with fun for hours at a leisurely pace on the road or in the woods. Meanwhile, they develop their stamina and their leg muscles. The short endurance of an hour or two is not too burdensome and could be done, in principle, daily. In preparation for the race season, it is desirable to include in the training program a weekly long endurance training, on the order of 4 to 6 hours. The pace of endurance training amounts to 55-75% of the FTP. To avoid too one-sided training stimuli, it is desirable to incorporate other training stimuli during the endurance training:
- Time trial of 5 minutes. Number 4 to 6.
- On hilly terrain. Last piece of climb or just over the top, maximal sprint of 10 seconds. Red.
- Three times tempo block of 10 minutes. Intensity tempo endurance. Orange
- Breakaways: 10 times breakaway maximum of 10 seconds. Intensity almost maximal, red.
- End of course a climax ride, with finals being imitated.
- With more riders many more variations are possible.
- Tempo – endurance training, orange zone.
The tempo – endurance training is an intensive form of endurance training. The intensity is 75-90% of the FTP, goal is improving of the aerobic performance. This training is preferably in multiple blocks. For example, 4 x 20 minutes with 10 minutes in easy endurance tempo (EET). Total duration of this training one to two hours.
- Extensive and intensive interval training, red zone
This is the most effective form of training for competitive cyclists. Two forms are distinguished:
- Medium intensive interval, 90-105% FTP.
- High intensive interval, 105-120% FTP.
Medium intensive intervals are appropriate for the improvement of the aerobic capacity and VO2 max. Duration of the intervals: 3 to 20 minutes. For example, 5 x 5 minutes at 90% FTP, with recovery of 3 minutes.
The high intense intervals are provided for enhancing the anaerobic capacity or speed and last for up to 2 minutes. The total size of the interval training is always restricted. The total size of the interval blocks is between 10 and 60 minutes. The recovery period is determined on the basis of the recovery of the HR to 70% HR max. Depending on the target also a complete and incomplete recovery is possible. This kind of training is heavy and can only be performed one or two times a week.
During interval training race speed is reached or even surpassed so that a training effect is also achieved with respect to the cycling efficiency.
- Sprint training
This is a form of intensive interval training with short time intervals and a high power output over this period. For example 10 x 10 seconds maximal sprints with a break of three minutes. After every 10 seconds sprint the average power that was delivered is checked. The duration of the intervals for sprint training is 5 to 30 seconds.
- Time trial training
This type of interval training is trained around the FTP. For short time trials up to 10 minutes more anaerobic intervals between 100 and 110% FTP need to be done. For longer time trials up to an hour, it is important to get the FTP as high as possible. Intervals there for are, just below the 95 – 100% FTP, the most suitable.
- Power training on the bike
The aim is to increase the strength of the buttock and leg muscles. Furthermore, it is important to pay adequate attention to the torso muscles, the so-called core-stability training to prevent injuries. Power training is taking place in building up the season and can continue throughout the season in a maintenance program. Forms of strength training on the bike include a slope or viaduct training with a heavy gear and a cadence between 50 – 70 revolutions per minute and then standing for 15 – 20 seconds, for an explosive effort. Also sitting to be carried out, but longer namely for 1 to 5 minutes. The explosive power and endurance power can be enhanced so.
- Training behind a motorcycle
Training behind a motorcycle is often done. You train with high speed and high cadence. The body can then used to the high race speed. This type of training can be combined with intense intervals by occasionally breakaways from the wheel of the motorcycle.
- Ergo meter or indoor trainer
Very suitable to do interval training. By controlling the gear an efficient interval program can be completed, followed by recovery. Particularly suitable for use in bad weather and cold.
To sum up, it is of great importance to train extremely varied and make sure that all the energy systems are stimulated sufficiently. To be faster, it is most important to train enough speed also.
Always provide sufficient recovery from workouts so that you are rested and refreshed ready to start the next training, which can run at high intensity.