Structure Your Training to Ride Faster with our 3 Key Sessions.
As many of us juggle family, work, social gatherings, events and much more on a daily basis, it becomes hard to find “you” time.
That time spent on the bike focused on YOUR goals and what you want to achieve (perhaps to Ride Faster?).
Many of us define ourselves as cyclists or triathletes, but when training time gets sacrificed for so much else happening in life, sometimes we need to assess what the Minimum Effective Dose is…
“The minimum effective dose (MED) is deﬁned simply: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome” – Tim Ferris, The Four Hour Body
By Minimum Effective Dose, we are essentially looking at the minimum you can do.
We can all appreciate that cycling for 20+ hours per week like the pros will make you quicker. But the people we deal with at HURTBOX are most likely like you.
So we need to assess what the essential parts of a cycling program are, and get rid of the excess.
Much of this will stem from what you are aiming to achieve.
I went through a stage of always pushing harder out on the road, riding with quicker people and for a while, it made me a better cyclist.
But it came to a point where I needed to work out what I wanted to achieve. Group riding is fantastic and clinging onto someone else’s back wheel is a sure fire way to push you out of your comfort zone and ride faster than you would on your own.
However it wasn’t pushing me towards improving in the way I needed to.
I wanted to ride 112 miles solo as quickly as possible (for an Ironman).
This wasn’t going to happen whilst I hung onto someone’s back wheel. I needed to train my body to ride hard without chasing someone else, I had to train my mind to get strong and I also had to get smart about pacing myself.
For you, if your goals are to ride a long distance Sportive, maybe improve your time in a time trial or even complete the bike leg of your triathlon quicker – then these all require you to focus on the above points like I had to.
If, however you are looking at Cycle Races/Crit races, then you will need to include group cycling in my list below as the skills for this are best learnt on the job.
The Essential Session List:
- You will always need a Long Ride in your plan.
Long is a relative term and will be dictated by your chosen event or challenge. I train many cyclists who solely focus on 10 and 25 mile time trials as well as competitive triathletes completing sprint distances (20 kilometres on the bike).
These are events which will be over in around 20-60 minutes. So their long ride will be dramatically shorter than those I’ll train who are competing at Ironman events (112 mile bike) or cycling events like the L’Etape (which is 178km in 2017).
This type of session will be done at an easy/social pace. Its the type of ride where you can stop for a coffee and cake as it won’t affect the training benefit of the session that dramatically. You won’t be stopping for cake of coffee on the two sessions listed below..!
Once you know what you are targeting, it makes planning how long your long rides need to be much easier.
- Short Intervals to boost your power.
Improving your threshold is of vital importance. Your threshold is measured by a single 20 minute effort when Heart Rate and Power is recorded.
Now, you don’t need to complete a test (we do hold them at HURTBOX), but with training this is an area that we want to improve. If you can improve your threshold number, your performance overall will improve.
One sure fire way to improve your threshold is to train above it on a frequent basis.
I’ll pop it into context, if you are currently going out and riding at an average speed of 15mph, if we have you complete weekly intervals where you are riding above this point (say 18 mph).
Then, when you next go out for a steady ride at 15mph, it’ll feel significantly easier, and chances are you’ll start to feel more comfortable riding at 16mph.
At this point… Then we can start riding your intervals a little bit quicker!
In the studio, we ride and measure power and we have a couple of sessions types that tick this box. One of the most famous ones is the DATUM session (pictured below).
These short intervals (usually around 30s to 3 minutes) are pretty nasty but without a doubt have been one of the contributing factors to the results we’ve been getting in the studio.
- Uncomfortably Comfortable Long Intervals.
These ones always sound like a good idea. They often mean riding at around race pace and are best placed to get you used to how you are going to feel on race day.
As you’ll be riding below your threshold the session will feel a little more comfortable (at least to begin with) but we are targeting your endurance here too with intervals of around 6+ minutes. Mentally they are tough but luckily for us we’ve got a great team of coaches and riders to help motivate even the most unmotivated to get through the session!
So, to summarise:
Session One – Ride Long Distances and get used to the duration you’ll be aiming for on your race/event/challenge.
Session Two – Ride short and intense intervals above your threshold to help improve your performance to ride faster not only on the flat but climbing too.
Session Three – Ride longer slightly less intense intervals to get yourself uncomfortably comfortable and train the mind as well as the body.
P.S. Structure your training, relax in the knowledge that your training WILL make you ride faster and be a stronger cyclist by joining our VIP program, check out the details >> HERE <<