How Frequently Should I Train?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Well, a lot depends on what type of event you're training for - added to your fitness level and training load.  It's not just a matter of cycling a set number of miles per week, but how you approach the science of training your body to achieve its maximum potential.

Intensity matters

If you cycle 500 km in a week, you won't get the same training value as you'd get from cycling the same distance as 150 km Interval Training.  And an intense one hour session will give you a much better training value than a 3 hour easy ride.

For example, if you ride at maximum speed giving optimal oxygen uptake for 5 x 5 minutes, you'll get a better physical effect on your body than a 3 hour tour with a training intensity of about 50% VO2 max.

Aerobic intervals

Try to fit in one day each week where you ride anaerobic intervals.  You could do 45-second uphill sprints at top speed and maximum intensity, with at least 5 minutes active pause in between, repeated 4 or 5 times.

Tough anaerobic training requires full restitution time, so try to schedule your anaerobic training day after your strenuous cycling days.

Three day training
If you only have three days a week available to train, they can be just as effective. You can cut out ‘light' and ‘intermediate' days and concentrate on having good quality training in all 3 sessions.

I suggest two structured days for between 2-3 hours with intervals, so together you get 30 minutes high-intensity training at 90-95% training heart rate and 30 minutes endurance training at approximately 80% training heart rate.

The last day you could do a longer ride and include some fartlek, high-intensity training in combination with shorter and longer bouts, where the maximum speed is tested or some uphill sprinting if time's tight.

So the main point to remember is to organise your training time to be spread out in planned sessions throughout the week, because one long trip followed by several days of rest isn't going to allow your body to reach its full, winning potential!

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