Step 10 – Train for a Race

 

A unique perspective on racing and training was recently shared with me by a professional cyclist, the philosophy was that racing was his reward for all the training that he had done. This changed my outlook on racing, the point being is that training should be the hardest part of any race.race training road cycling

For this to ring true however you will need a dose of commitment along with a good helping of discipline, these two mixed with a structured training plan will have you racing fast in no time.

The first step to a successful race is finding a race with a realistic goal, training for a 100km race in two weeks time is not going to work. Most good training plans should span around three months plus and include a mix of endurance work, hill work and intervals.

The first stop for your training is to invest in a heart rate monitor, this will help you train at predetermined heart rate zones, these zones are based on your maximum heart rate which as a rough estimate can be calculate as 220 less your age. Eg: 220 – 30 years = max HR 190 beats per minute.

Before I continue I need to do the responsible thing and advice you to seek advice from a medical professional before taking part in any training program.

Building a base is the most important part of your training program and before you get too excited the acronym is not what you think, T.I.T.S stands for Time In The Saddle and there is no substitute. This part of your training program sees you cover long distances at a low heart rate of 65% to 75% of your max. This zone is your aerobic zone and promotes good cardio vascular fitness.

Most races include a fair amount of climbing, so road cycling traininghill training will help you prepare for races and also build leg strength. Find a moderately steep hill that is at least 4 kilometers long that you can train on regularly. In the early stages of your plan start with four repeats of four minutes (4 x 4min) and as you progress up these intervals by adding another interval, then a week or two later increase the time until you peak with six repeats at 6 minutes (6 x 6min). In your plan include a weekly ride that is slightly shorter than your endurance ride but include as many long hills as possible into this session.

Intervals will prepare you for race conditions where you are required to accelerate to keep up with the pace of the race. These same intervals will also improve your fitness by conditioning your body to recover from exertions more efficiently. Start with a warm up of around 15km, then take your heart rate up to 85% to 90% of your maximum for four minutes, rest for two minutes, repeat this 6 times and then recover with a slow ride of 10km.

These training sessions will provide you with a good racing base if you train consistently, if you find you are starting to excel in your racing or want an even more detailed plan then I suggest using a professional coach to take your training to the next level.

Good luck with the racing and as always…

Enjoy the Ride.

Step 9 – Start Racing

29 Responses to “Step 10 – Train for a Race”

  1. William N.

    Nov 17. 2014

    Think I need some more hill work, I did a race this weekend and I suffered on the hills. Great experience though.

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim

      Aug 14. 2015

      I may have neglected to mention that it never gets easier but you do get faster 😉

      Reply to this comment
  2. Tim A

    Dec 15. 2014

    What’s a VO2 max?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim

      Aug 14. 2015

      When you exercise your body produces lactic acid as a result of your muscles burning energy, when you exercise too hard that you muscles produce more Lactic than you body can flush then you have reached your VO2 max.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Thorny

    Dec 16. 2014

    I am training for a race in 3 months time and my fitness is doing great but I am a little stressed about the group riding, is there anything I should know?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim

      Aug 14. 2015

      In my post on safe riding and cycling rules I cover a number of practices which should be used on a daily ride but also while racing, these are sure to keep you safe. Check it out here: http://tour-de-bike.com/bike-safety/

      Additionally you should try to ride with a big group while training as this will give you a better idea of how large groups behave. The peloton is an entity on its own that can only be learned by riding in it.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Mateo Brinkley

    Dec 20. 2014

    I am training to a program that was given to me by a friend and I am exhausted all the time, is this right?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim

      Aug 14. 2015

      Training properly does take its toll on the body and yes you should be tired but if you are using a program that was designed for a more advanced and fitter rider you might be over-training and burning yourself out.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Kenneth R

    Feb 09. 2015

    How many long sessions, intervals etc should I do a week?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim

      Aug 14. 2015

      This all depends on your fitness levels and goals but you should have one long ride, one intervals session, a hill session and one recovery ride per week. I would recommend that your long ride is at least 75% of the distance of the race you are intending to do.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Genvieve

    Apr 14. 2015

    Training with structure is so important, just pedaling the same route over and over will bring you fitness yes but the intervals and hill training will give you great racing strength and fitness.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Lou Alaniz

    Apr 21. 2015

    And there I thought I could just sit down to do this sport.

    Reply to this comment
  8. kylie

    Jun 04. 2015

    Along with an earlier point with a structured plan you will need to throw in a good amount of consistency, doing a long ride with an interval two weeks apart won’t increase your cycling strength.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Roger L

    Jun 08. 2015

    What nutrition should I use when training?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim

      Aug 14. 2015

      You should be training on what you will use when you’re racing, this will let your body get used to the ingredients in your drink and food. NEVER try something new on race day.

      Reply to this comment
  10. Fred T.

    Jun 12. 2015

    I know this might be off topic but I will ask anyway, I have increased my training and now I am getting pain down the outside of my left knee, is this common?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim

      Aug 14. 2015

      The trick to increasing training is to do so slowly, I’m not sure how much you increased it but it could be the cause. It sounds like you might have some ITB (check online for further insight) tenderness which is common in cycling. I would recommend a visit to a Physio or sports physician.

      Reply to this comment
  11. James

    Jun 12. 2015

    I was looking at training programs online and read a few articles around power based training, what is your opinion on these.

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim

      Aug 14. 2015

      Power meters are great tools for training but are generally quite expensive. If you are planning on racing a lot it will be useful but if you are a weekend warrior with one or two races lined up for the year it will be a waste.

      Reply to this comment
  12. Harrison

    Jun 23. 2015

    I did hill repeats this morning and I hurt so bad. Its hours later and my legs are still jelly.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Duane

    Jun 26. 2015

    Thanks for the awesome steps and advice that you have given, I have followed your posts from the first and they have been extremely helpful. Highly appreciated!

    Reply to this comment
  14. Lawrence E.

    Jul 12. 2015

    Can I mix running and cycling training?

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim

      Aug 14. 2015

      It is actually a great idea, cross training can only benefit. The nature of cycling is that it is a non impact sport and lack of impact on bones believe it or not can cause a loss in bone density. Running will definitely have some benefit to your cycling.

      Reply to this comment
  15. dav

    Aug 07. 2015

    I am super excited as I have my first race coming up this weekend, hope I have trained enough.

    Reply to this comment
    • Tim

      Aug 14. 2015

      We always wonder if we have trained enough so don’t stress, good luck for the race.

      Reply to this comment
  16. Steve

    Aug 11. 2015

    As part of my training I throw in a 90 minute session on a spin bike once a week, it is a great workout as it is a solid 90 mins of riding, no downhill’s or easy flats.

    Reply to this comment

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