The basics of cycling training
Before you start exercising, there’re some basic principles to familiarize yourself with. What do you have to take into account when you start training? And what are heart rate and power zones? All is explained here.
The first important thing to do is to find continuity in your training. Before you start with intensity distributions, tapering or periodization, try to find a weekly schedule that works for you and the discipline to stick to this schedule. Instead of training one week for 10 hours and the next for only two. Secondly, don’t overcompensate but take enough rest in between your workouts. Resting after a training is essential to getting better. A workout fatigues the body and has to recover from that, after which your body realizes it should be better prepared the next time it has to start working. This is called supercompensaton. So, start a new workout after your body has recovered from the previous one and is slightly stronger then before. But don’t wait too long , because the training effect will have faded away. The exact moment to start a new workout depends on how fast your body recovers and how intensive the last workout was. The better you get, the faster you recover, the more training your body can handle and thus the better you’ll get.
Next, if you’re working towards a certain goal like a race, be sure to train specifically for that goal. Find out what you need to develop and train specifically for those ‘ingredients’. For example, do you need a lot of endurance of strength? In case of endurance, your workouts would mostly be long distance rides. Also, don’t focus on single workouts but on the complete combination of workouts. Make sure your training plan fits your goal, strengths, weaknesses and fitness level. Your fitness level defines the intensity on which you should train. Training based on heart rate or power zones can be really helpful in finding this right intensity. Every athlete has a certain heart rate or wattage (s)he can barely sustain for one hour. This is what we call your heart rate threshold or functional threshold power (FTP). You can have yourself tested at a sports facility to find out these numbers, but you could also do the 20-minute FTP exercise test we offer in our software for example.
With these basics there should be nothing in your way to pick a goal, identify the ingredients, make a plan and stick to it.
Read more about these matters and heart rate and power zones specifically on our blog.