Cycling training comes with intense demands and to improve their ability levels, cyclists need to adopt a number of different techniques that will allow them to improve their performance while training. Incorporating a range of areas in their training schedule will allow most cyclists to better cope with any challenges that they may be faced with. Here is a look at these areas:
For the most part, road cycling centers on endurance skills. To get best results this approach should also focus on training at endurance intensity. A good undertaking would be to ride at endurance intensity for an hour to two hours, riding at 35- 45 % below the maximum heart rate. Doing so as part of the training process will allow cyclist to boost their aerobic activity while burning fat more effectively.
While hot days may seem the obvious choice for going for long rides, from a training perspective, winter days make for the best opportunity to build up endurance. As part of their training regimen, beginner riders can go for an hour’s ride twice a week at 55-65% of their maximum heart rate while including one intense interval session in their training program. Advanced riders can do the same while three two hour rides at 55-65% of their maximum heart rate. At the same time, they should also include one intense interval session in their training program as well.
Hill training needs to be an integral part of every cyclist’s schedule if he wants to get really fit. This type of training is highly powerful and targets strengthening the legs immensely. To make hill training more effective, indoor options like gym sessions that focus on building leg and back strength can help but care should be taken not to put too much bulk on as this will only slow you down when riding your bicycle.
One very important aspect of hill training is to avoid standing up in the saddle as this position requires more energy when pedalling the cycle. If too much energy is spent doing this, then the cyclist will not have much strength left for the rest of the ride.
Beginner riders are recommended to select a hill that may take two minutes to ascend while riding in a comfortable gear. Do two climbing repeats with two minute recovery periods in between. And advanced riders should choose a hill that allows them to climb up in four minutes when seated comfortably. Repeat climbs three to five times with four minute recovery times in between.
Recovery is as crucial an aspect of getting fit as are the different types of exercises. Proper recovery gives the body a chance to repair damaged muscles, refuel the body and get ready for the next level of physical challenge. As a result it is equally important to include some recovery rides within the training sessions. Recovery training should be done at a comfortable pace and on an easier terrain. Ideal recovery ride timings for beginners should be around an hour once a week while experts can do the same for two hours once a week.
While other training approaches revolve around maximum heart rate readings, threshold training is based around lactate threshold. Instead of focusing on the maximum heart rate, the lactate threshold serves as an invisible barrier which is reached when a cyclist can pace at their fastest for 30 minutes without feeling as if their legs were on fire.
Lactate Threshold, or LT is partially shaped by genetics but is also quite trainable. When the cyclist systematically pushes their limit, they can help their body become more efficient. For beginner riders, working at half an hour at a constant intensity of 81-85 % of their maximum heart rate once a week is a suitable target while advanced riders can train at twenty minutes at a constant intensity of 85-90% of their heart rate. This can be repeated three times a week for maximum results.
In contrast to other types of training where the rides are long and exerting, interval training requires working in short, regular bursts. These shorter episodes fluctuate between altering from high to low speeds and this practice is important for maximizing aerobic capacity while also building up cardiovascular fitness. Together the two help boost the VO2 max for athletes.
VO2 max is the maximal oxygen that athletes can use and helps determine their athletic capacity. Of course, each individual will have a different measure of VO2 and interval training can help maximize that potential. As athletes improve their VO2, they also increase their strength and endurance simultaneously.
As part of their interval training, beginner riders can aim for three intervals at three minutes each working at high intensity. These intervals may then be followed by three minute recovery periods in between. Interval training sessions may be carried out once a week.
Likewise advanced riders may also engage in one interval training session per week that includes three intervals of working at high intensity for five minutes, each followed by a three minute recovery period.
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