Why structured training may help you
Many amateur cyclists are going out for a ride or training quite often. Just a short ride to check how fast you can go and hoping for a good average speed or an improvement of your Strava-segments. You will certainly get faster, however, not as fast as you could potentially go!
Last decades, a lot of research has been done executed in the field of sports. This resulted in a lot of new insights regarding training. Instead of riding hard every time and just making a lot of miles, some finesse and dosage have been added to the training structure. Maybe this is counterintuitive to you, but it will help you to improve beyond what you believed to be possible. Even as an amateur cyclist!
What do you want to achieve?
This is an essential question that you should ask yourself before you start. Do you want to train for a specific race or tour? Or do you just want to stay fit? Every race or tour has its own demands, and everyone reacts differently to training. Both have to do with the training principles specificity and individuality. It goes without saying that the average climber does not have his or her focus on his or her sprint capabilities. The same is true for the difference between a tour and a criterium. For a criterium you’ll have to be capable to accelerate a lot, while during a tour you’ll have to be capable to ride at a constant, sustainable pace. For some, this pace will be higher than for others. That’s why you should set achievable and personal goals based on your goal event and you as an individual!
The next question you should ask yourself, which is also an important one, is: am I willing to train according to a plan?
When you know your goal(s) and you have chosen to follow a training plan, it is important to ensure an appropriate structure and overload. What’s important for your goal event? What abilities do you need to train for? Make sure to build up in exercise duration, intensity and frequency. And never, ever, forget your rest and recovery! You can definitely train too hard.
Recovery is just as important
A common mistake is to forget about recovery. You need recovery, during and after your training! Training hard isn’t always the solution. But what is sufficient rest? This differs per individual. You may recover fast. In that case one rest day after a hard training ride may suffice. Do you recover slowly? In that case you may need two days to recover from a hard training effort. During this rest period, your body recovers and adapts to the training, making sure you improve. Therefore, this rest period is just as important as the training itself!
You can only apply an optimal training stimulus when you can give it your all. Half a training isn’t going to get you anywhere. Because of this, it’s also important to incorporate enough rest during a training, for example in between your intervals. Make sure you are able to give 100% every time. If necessary, extent your rest intervals.
Overload and maintenance
Periodization is an important concept in an athlete’s training plan. Simply stated, this is the overall structure of your training plan. Your training will resemble your goal event more and more, ensuring you that you will be ready for that event. During every period of your training plan, the focus will be on other capabilities.
However, don’t forget to maintain already trained capabilities as well. You won’t benefit from all your hard work when you already lost your gains before your goal event!
Advantages of structured training
Back to the advantages of a structured training plan. It offers you more certainty about your competency. You gave it a good thought and applied an appropriate training structure and overload with sufficient rest and recovery. You know you are able to cope with the demands of the goal event and are fit, yet well-rested.
Besides, due to the plan you have sufficient variation during your training sessions, probably making the sessions more enjoyable!
Let’s get started on your training plan!
Want to know your own VO2max or Training Threshold? Or do you need help with your training? Let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org or have a look at https://de-vitaliteitspraktijk.nl/inspanningstesten/conditietest/.