Starting a training program

You've signed up to The Ascent program, have set yourself a cycling goal, perhaps it is to ride in one of Bicycle Networks events. Now what? 

Time to get out on the bike and train.  And don't worry, we've got you covered, as our friends at Bike it Better and Cycling Inform offer training programs into all of our events. 

But what if you've never used a training program? Cazz from Bike It Better answers the most common questions.


Firstly, what is a Training Program?

A Training Program is a planned schedule for you to follow, with activities listed on particular days, in order to gradually build up your fitness for an upcoming event. Many cycling training programs are based around a 4-week block, with the final week being an ‘Active Recovery’ week.

The first 3 weeks are designed to incrementally push you beyond your fitness limitations, and the 4th week allows your body to adapt to the increased level of fitness and recover from the stresses of training. This is not an excuse put your feet up for a week – it is important to keep moving during this week, hence the use of the word ‘active’!

If you are planning on having a regular massage (a great idea!) as part of your training routine, it would be ideal to schedule it in during the Active Recovery week.
Why use a Training Program :

By training consistently and gradually increasing the load on your body over an extended time, you will achieve better results, and most likely enjoy the event more as you will be better prepared. It takes time for your body to adapt to training and increase fitness – cramming all your training into a short space of time before an event doesn’t pay off!

 

How do I fit in training around my busy schedule?

If you are unable to follow a training Program exactly as written, you may need to adjust the program to suit your schedule and work around your other commitments. However, you should aim to have 2 ride sessions during the week and a longer ride on the weekend, and try to have a day of active recovery or gym training in between ride sessions.

If you miss a session, just go onto the next session in the schedule; don’t try to cram two sessions into one day as this may overload your body and affect your ability to progress with the training program.

In case of poor weather or time limitations:

If the weather is bad, or you are unable to get out on the bike during the week, you may opt to complete the weekday sessions indoors, either on an indoor trainer or a spin bike at the gym. 
Try to use a spin bike at the gym rather than an exercise bike, as this will more closely mimic your position on your road bike – allowing your body to adapt to being in this position for extended periods of time.

Indoor sessions can be rather boring, so to make them more interesting, try watching a cycling-specific training video. There are many to be found on YouTube (some good, some less so…), and other websites which offer exciting videos including training suggestions and exciting race footage.

However, you should try to complete as many ride sessions on your road bike as possible as this will give you the most realistic preparation for the event.

 

Does the program include other types of training?

The Ascent Training Program recommends at least one ‘core strength’ session per week. This is important for building up the muscles which stabilise your position on the bike, as well as contributing to your power output. Most gyms offer classes which focus on core strength, and if you are unsure, consult a personal trainer.

The program also recommends at least one ‘yoga’ session per week. This is important to help stretch your muscles after long sessions on the bike, and improve your balance and flexibility – many gyms offer yoga or similar movement classes which are of great benefit to cyclists.

 

Would you like a more detailed, personalized program ?

Contact Bike it Better for a personalized training program which includes specific training workouts for building your endurance, strength, power and speed. If you have a heart rate monitor, this can also be incorporated to focus your training to achieve better and faster results. Personalized training programs also include direct access to Cazz for advice, along with a knowledgebase of training tips and information.

Visit www.bikeitbetter.com or email info@bikeitbetter.com for more information.