Modify Your Cadence and Gearing Patterns
Physiological adaptation occurs when the body encounters stresses it has not had to deal with previously. If you do the same workouts again and again, your body gets used to them no matter how hard they are, which can lead to a performance plateau.
One way to build diversity into your regimen is to alter your cadence and gearing patterns. For example, if you typically perform lactate threshold intervals in a relatively small gear at 95-100 rpm, you can better facilitate the adaptation process by doing some of those intervals in a bigger gear at 80-85 rpm. Likewise, if the cadence for your long ride is typically 90-95 rpm, spend some time pedaling a bigger gear at 80-85 rpm.
More: Cycling Cadence 101
Push Through a Personal Barrier
In other words, do something you have never done before. For example, if your current long ride is three hours, build up to four hours. If you normally do one long ride during a mesocycle (e.g., four weeks), try two long rides. If you typically climb your favorite hill three times, climb it four times. If your personal best up that hill is 12 minutes, set a seasonal goal to break 12 minutes. If your longest lactate threshold interval is 15 minutes, increase it to 20 minutes. If you currently ride four days a week, try riding five days a week. If you typically perform two-day high-intensity training blocks, try a three-day block. If you are a multisport athlete who normally performs one brick in a microcycle (e.g., one week), perform two bricks in your next microcycle.
Anything you do that you have never done before will help facilitate the physiological adaptation process. But be careful, this can be a recipe for overtraining if you do not allow for sufficient recovery.
More: Characteristics of Good, Challenging Goals
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