Heart Rate Version - Full Plan
Powermeter Version - Full Plan
The Cycling plan is a general cycling program geared to help triathletes and cyclists improve their Critical Power over a 16 week period.
The Critical Power (CP) is based on the work of Monod and Scherrer developed on 1965 and refer to a power level that could be sustained for “a very long time without fatigue.”
Though this model has it limitations, it allows you to predict with reasonably accuracy the average power that the athlete could sustain up to 60 minutes via short maximal efforts (longer than 3 minutes and shorter than 30minutes); CP intimately relates to Maximum Lactate Steady State (MLSS).
MLSS is defined as the highest steady state exercise level one can maintain while also maintaining equilibrium between the elimination of blood lactate and the diffusion of lactate into the blood. The reason why this is important is because MLSS is an excellent tool for assessing fitness level, predicting endurance performance, and designing training programs.
More often than not athletes/coaches use the term Lactate Threshold though in most instances they are referring to MLSS. A great read to understand the difference between these terms is Philip Skiba’s Understanding Threshold.
The use of the CP model enables the athlete to perform non-invasive testing to determine their CP which in order to perform specific training to increase it and track performance over time.
By knowing your CP athletes can also develop pacing and fueling strategies and predict performance. Also, this is perhaps, the most important training adaptations for all endurance athletes racing from sprints to Ironman; the bottom line is: if you increase your CP it will allow you to go faster!
This is general plan that can be followed by most athletes. It can is adjusted based on your current fitness level which is determined via the testing weeks. Based on that the athletes can progress based on their needs but it is important to remember:
While the plan is designed to increase your critical power and using a power meter will make following the plan a somehow easier, it is not necessary. The plan has a version for those
training with a power meter and one for those training either using a Heart Rate Monitor (HR) or using Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE).
Bear mind using HR has its limitations hence read the important notes sections to learn how to adjust some of the sessions to match your needs and make it easier to follow.
The plan can be perform indoors (on a trainer, rollers, etc.) or outdoors. The durations of most sessions is relatively short (~1 hr) because the sessions are rather intense and it assumes most of this sessions will be perform indoors. If you do some of your riding outdoors you can adjust some of the sessions by doing the intervals longer and the intensity easier.
For the program you need a bike/trainer-roller or it can be done on a spinning bike (or another variation), after all, any training is better than no training! You will need a power meter, HR or just do it by RPE. If indoors, you will also need a cooling system (fans, windows, AC, all) as failing to do so can hinder your ability to perform. Finally it is wise to have plenty of fluids handy and a towel.
This plan is only supported by the Winter Cycling Training Group - Join the group to ask questions.
WU:10' @ 65-70%FT + 5' alternating 20 " @ 110-115% FT40" @ 65-70% + 5'@ 75% T
MS:20x30" (30" 65-70% FT ) @ 95-97% + 5' @ 70-75%
CD: 5-10'@ 60-65%FT
Do Warm up as 10 min at 65-70% of your Critical Power (CP), then ride 5 min alternating 20 seconds at 110-115% of your CP followed by 40 seconds at 65-70%, after you complete that do 5 min at 75% of CP.
Move to the Main Set: do 20 sets of 30 seconds at 95-97% of CP with 30 seconds at 65-70% of CP asrecovery (Total 20 min), when completed do 5 minutes at 70-75% of CP.
Cool down: ride 5 to 10 min at 60-65% of CP --- You are Done!
WU:10'@ 68-73%+ 5' alternating 30" @ 95-100%30" @ 68-73% + 5'@ 80%
MS:20x30" (30" 68-73% ) @ 95-100% + 5' @75-80%
Do Warm up as 10 min at 68-73% of your Threshold Heart Rate (THR), then ride 5 min alternating 20 seconds at 106% or higher of your THR followed by 40 seconds at 68-73%, after you complete that do 5 min at 80% of THR
Move to the Main Set: do 20 sets of 30 seconds at 95-100% of THR with 30 seconds at 68-73% of THR as recovery (Total 20 min), when completed do 5 minutes at 80% of THR.
Cool down: ride 5 to 10 min at 65% or lower of THR --- You are Done!
With Power - 20 and 5 Minute Maximal Tests
*On testing days, make sure to fuel properly and be relatively rested. It would be wise to take it easy the day before. Always test under the same or very similar conditions – same tire pressure, same time of the day, if indoors, same resistance. If outdoors, use the same venue, etc.
For both tests; remember that the goal for the test is to ride as hard as possible but at the same time at a pace which allows you to complete the entire test. It is wiser to start easy and build up your effort finishing strong.
A simple pacing strategy is:
Make sure you calibrate you power meter before the test, your trainer set up is in the same (or very similar conditions for all testing), enough fluids, a towel and the most important; you have to have fan(s) or some sort of cooling system as over heating can impact your testing negatively.
The average power for both tests is what we'll use to calculate your Critical Power and your training levels will be percentages of that. It is very important that you should finish knowing you gave it everything you had.
Remember that the goal of the test is for you to ride as fast as possible but at a pace which allows you to complete the entire 30 min test. Record your heart rate for the entire test and the average is what you’ll use to calculate your Threshold Heart Rate (THR). It is very important that you should finish knowing you gave it everything you had. Make sure your trainer is properly set up; you have a cooling system, enough fluids and a towel.