How to make your own training plan
It might seem complicated, but in fact, anyone can make their own training plan
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Whether you are a total beginner or an experienced cyclist, learning how to create your own training plan is an invaluable skill to have. It’s easy to overcomplicate a training plan, but in reality, it’s just about building a bit of structure into your riding schedule.
Define your goals
The reason you're writing a training plan is to achieve a goal. Make sure you define your goal and keep sight of it as you train. Write down your goals clearly at the top of your training plan, and also try putting them somewhere visible. By putting your goals into writing, it will give you a clear focus of what you're trying to achieve. It will also help when writing your training plan as you can design and tailor your training in advance to suit your goals.
Schedule an initial fitness test
They might not be a lot of fun, but it’s wise to get in a fitness test before you write your training plan. This’ll give you a clear idea of your current fitness and highlight the areas where you need to improve. There are loads of tests you can carry out, but if you want to keep things simple, just find a climb or a stretch of road near you that you can time yourself on. Make sure you keep a record of all your results!
Plan around your life
If you're just starting out, you don't have to make things overly complicated. You could use your diary, your phone, or even a spreadsheet to make a weekly training plan. The best way to start is by writing down all your major events you have coming up, such as work holidays and special events. Mark these down to begin with so you can get a rough idea of what you need to organise your training around.
With those major events in mind, decide when you'll be able to fit in your longer sessions. For example, every Sunday, you could go out for a long road ride with your local cycling club. Then, it’s a case of slotting in some shorter training sessions throughout the week.
Train in separate phases
If you do the same set of sessions for months on end, your training will plateau and you’ll probably get pretty bored. To keep progressing, split your training into phases. If you’re writing a plan for the next few months, split it into monthly zones, with a different focus for each month.
That’s not to say that you should only do one type of training in each month, but each month can be ‘weighted’ towards a certain skill or type of fitness. So one month could be about developing top end power, another could be about developing base fitness, or another could be about recovery and conditioning.
As you move through the weeks towards your goals, add progression into your training by gradually increasing the duration and the intensity of each session, perhaps every week or two.
Track your progress
If you're able to work with a power meter or a static trainer, it’s super useful to work out your FTP (functional threshold power). This is one of the best ways of measuring your fitness level, so keeping tabs on your FTP will give you a really clear idea of how your training is going. When you're writing your training plan, try to schedule in a fitness test every two to three weeks to see how things are going. Try to complete it under similar conditions, so plan in some rest days before your tests and make sure you give each one a hundred percent.
Stretch, sleep and rest
Recovery, sleep, stretching, and injury prevention exercises, such as core workouts, are a vital part of training. Do not underestimate their importance. If you're struggling to fit these in, have a look at your training planner and carve out some time for them. If this means taking a bike session out, then so be it. It's important to get the balance right between training and rest. Use your training planner as a tool to get this right. Find what works for you.
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