This 8 week plan is designed for those who are choosing to train for your first 50km event OUTSIDE. This is why the plan is designed on distance, for beginners who may not have a heart rate monitor, or a power meter as a pacing tool.
I have also made a very similar plan that is based primarily on heart rate zones and distance if you would like a copy of that instead.
Today is all about just getting on your bike, and finding your feet. Literally. Find those pedals, get used to clipping in again, or for the first ever time for that matter), and just ride.
No need to aim for a particular speed, but we will aim for 5 kilometers in distance today. This equates to 3.1 miles.
The first 1km will be a gentle warm up. Feel your sit bones anchored on your saddle, find a comfortable hand position on the hoods, get your breathing right. Remember, inhale and push your belly out, exhale and suck your belly in.
The middle 3km of this ride will be a RPE 4 in effort. Basically Zone 2 heart rate, or Zone 2 Endurance pace if using a power meter. If you don't know what the RPE Scale is, go to www.weekendwarriorscoaching.com and read my blog on the RPE scale for endurance athletes.
The last 1km of this ride will be a gentle cooldown aiming for a comfortable cadence at an RPE 2 out of 10. Zone 1 Heart Rate or 'Recovery' pace.
Ok so today we will be diving straight in to an introduction to interval training.
I won't explain too much about the whys and hows of interval training, but it is arguably one of the most effective training tools for endurance athletes to get stronger and increase their perceived effort levels. In other words, GET FITTER.
Make sure you stay hydrated during this ride. You most likely will not need food for a 12km ride. However, just in case you feel like you are slipping in energy at any point, take a piece of fruit (ideally a banana) but try not to use it, as this will allow your body to adapt to riding for longer periods on it's stored fuel.
1km's at an easy pace on the flat
Make sure you are spinning efficiently (more on pedalling drills later in the program)
Here you are going to do 2km at an RPE 4 (Zone 3 Heart Rate or Power)
This will be followed by 1km and an RPE 2 (Zone 1/2 Hear Rate or Zone 1/2 Power)
Warm down at a recovery effort easy pace of RPE 1 to 2 for 1km
CONGRATULATIONS, you just made 10km!
Nothing too special about today's session. I hope you feel rested after yesterdays rest day, and are looking forward to getting back on the bike today.
Lets get back on the bike and ride to feel. Nothing too hard, just start feeling your way around different positions on the bike. Maybe try and get a little lower on the front end where possible and explore the drops if you feel comfortable.
Experiment with a different range of cadence. Maybe go as low as 60 RPM in sections and see how this feels. Then do a couple of high cadence spin ups to 100 + RPM and see how this feels.
For those of you who have the weekend off work, this is a day you can ride and forget about having to finish your session by a specific time. In other words, your mind will be more free, so i want you to really enjoy this ride.
RIDING WITH A GROUP
If you used to ride with a club or a group, this is the perfect time to join them for part of their ride (assuming their planned ride is longer than 12km)
Riding with a group can make things way more fun, and add a social element to your training. I recommend it for everyone. Alternatively, you could ask a friend or partner who also rides if they would like to come out on your ride with you.
RIDING ON YOUR OWN
If you are riding on your own today, make sure you take a bottle of fluid with you and some food in case you need it. Although, realistically, your body should be able to get through this ride without having to eat during the session. Save your recovery nutrition for when you're home if as a preference.
Some more interval training to sink your teeth in to.
Each interval is for half a kilometer at a mid-range effort. Don't go out too hard straight away. Try and pace yourself in to a higher effort. But don't hold back too much either!
Ideally, you want to be breathing heavier than normal, and find it hard to sustain a conversation at the end of each interval
Today i want you to experiment with some basic pedalling drills.
Once warmed up, try the following:
1. For 1 minute at a time, watch your right knee and make sure if is tracking in a straight line. Switch your focus to the left leg and repeat this four times on each leg.
2. Unclip your left leg and pedal with just your right leg for 1 minute. Focus on pushing/pulling/kicking forward and ensuring you are stressing the pedal stroke in all areas.
Repeat with the left leg
3. Perform some higher cadence intervals. For 10 seconds at a time, wind up your cadence to 100RPM or more, and make sure your upper body is still.
4. Lower cadence intervals. Try some 1 minute intervals at 50 to 60 RPM and concentrate. If this hurts your knees, do not continue
5. Try some out of the saddle efforts. Pedal smoothly for 1 minute, then shift up the gears and pedal at around 60 RPM out of the saddle for 30 seconds. Settle back down and pedal smoothly for 1 minute and repeat 10 times.
Ok, remember the intervals we did the day? Well, we're going to try it again... but a little harder this time.
Begin with an easy pace with a cadence between 80 and 90 RPM
The first interval is going to be 0.5 of a KM or 0.3 miles at an RPE 6. This should be a somewhat uncomfortable pace, but sustainable, and you will no doubt be breathing quite heavy. DONT let your form on the bike slip. Stay anchored on that saddle, and keep your upper body still. (Upper Zone 3, lower Zone 4 HR or Power)
Then recover at an RPE 2 (or Zone 1 HR or Power) for 0.5 km.
Repeat this 3 times, then cool down for the last kilometer.