Determining your training objectives

Determining your training objectives

When you know your strengths and weaknesses, and you know your goals, then you can start building your own training program. But what are your training objectives? According to The Cyclist’s Training Bible, by Joe Friel (a highly recommended and interesting book for every cyclist!), there are some typical strengths and weaknesses that can be linked to each type of cyclist. Whether you are a sprinter or a climber, these abilities may help you to structure your training program.

Basic vs. Advanced abilities

According to Friel, there are three basic abilities and three advanced abilities. The basic abilities are the foundation of the advanced abilities and therefore should be at a sufficient level before progressing to advanced ability training. The three basic abilities are: Aerobic Endurance, Muscular Force and Speed Skills. Each advanced ability builds on two of these basic abilities:

  • Muscular Endurance builds on Aerobic Endurance and Muscular Force.
  • Anaerobic Endurance builds on Aerobic Endurance and Speed Skills.
  • Sprint Power builds on Speed Skill and Muscular Force.

The common limiters

There are some common limiters for each type of rider or for each discipline. Of course, the pure sprinter should focus on the advanced ability ‘Sprint Power’.  In order to be able to produce enough power on the pedals, the rider should have sufficient muscular force and speed skills. The latter is the ability to move quickly and efficiently.

As mentioned earlier, the lactate threshold is the main parameter for a time trialist. A good time trialist is able to produce a high-power output at lactate threshold. Therefore, a high aerobic capacity or endurance is required in combination with a high muscular force. These basic abilities are required as a foundation for the muscular endurance which is considered the major limiter for the time trialist.

The limiter of a climber is dependent on the type of climber. Are you a typical puncher? Then you’ll need to focus on the Anaerobic Endurance. You’ll need to be able to sustain (very) high speeds for a somewhat longer period than a regular sprint. Are you more of a steady climber? Then you should probably focus more on the Muscular Endurance in order to maintain a steady pace for a long time.

Of course, riders come in all kinds of sizes and shapes and each one of them has his or her own limiter(s). You should always look for your own specific needs and circumstances in order to create the right training schedule for yourself based on your training objectives!

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  • Friel J. The Cyclist’s Training Bible. 5 ed: VeloPress; 2018.