Last weekend at the team's winter training camp, we hosted Wonderful Pistachios employees for a weekend of skills clinics and training. It was an exciting weekend with some great riding and bonding and everyone left in high spirits, motivated to ride more and become better all around cyclists. The problem with these camps is that in the weeks after it is over, a lot of the adrenaline and excitement wears off and the whole thing fades to a distant memory.
To avoid this, I was asked to provide the attendees with a simple training plan that they could follow throughout the year as they prepare for whatever cycling events they want to participate in. As I sat down to write this out in the most simple and easy to follow format possible.
The first thing to know about this plan is that it is almost identical to the plan that I followed myself as a racer and that I am currently using to coach members of the Wonderful Pistachios Pro Cycling Team. I think it is somewhat of a misconception that different riders need vastly different training programs. The fact is that there are certain energy systems that need to be trained in a certain order and in a certain time frame. To train these systems, there are about six basic interval workouts that will work for you whether you are a recreational rider training for your first century or a track racer training for Nationals.
It's not big differences that need to be made to train different types of athletes for different types of events but extremely small ones. An extra interval here, one more day of recovery there, slight adjustments in cadence or number of intervals, etc. We're not going to get into any of that here.
Give yourself three months to get into shape. Three months for me is always the ideal amount of time to get myself or one of my athletes into peak shape for an event. With three good months of training I am confident that I could get just about any rider into the best shape of their life.
This breaks down to three four-week cycles that each include three weeks of hard training and one week of rest. A more experienced athlete might do an extra week of hard training while an older or less experienced rider might trim it down to two weeks on, one week off but three on and one off will work for most riders.