This is a road cyclist Build-Peak-Race periods training plan designed by Joe Friel to prepare you for an A-priority road race in the last week of the plan. It is based on his book, The Cyclist's Training Bible. This plan is best started 12 weeks prior to your A-priority road race. It differs from the similarly titled "UNDER-50" plan in that there is a rest and recovery week every third week instead of every fourth week as in the UNDER-50 plan. Over-age-50 athletes who still recover quickly may use the UNDER-50 plan. You must have a heart rate monitor to use this plan (there is a similarly titled plan for power meter users.)
This plan is intended for the over-age-50 cyclist who has been racing for one or more years. To start this plan you should be able to train about 12 hours a week. Over the plan's 12 weeks you will increase your weekly racelike intensity while weekly volume remains at about 12 hours (except for rest & recovery weeks every third week). There is an emphasis on high-intensity training to prepare you for the race. Optional strength workouts are included each week to maintain your gains made in the Base period (if you didn't lift in the Base period omit the strength workouts).
It was designed using the TrainingPeaks "workout builder" format. This means that the daily workouts may be uploaded to a device (heart rate monitor, power meter, trainer, app, etc) so that you may closely follow the details of the ride during the workouts. For more information on compatible devices and apps and how to export the workouts from this plan to them go to http://help.trainingpeaks.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000325647-Structured-Workout-Export. (Uploading the sessions is not required to use this plan.)
The plan uses common cycling language to describe the workouts and is easy to follow. By the end of 12 weeks you will have excellent fitness and be ready for your A-priority road race.
Your bike heart rate training zones should be set before starting the plan. (For a detailed description of how to set your zones go to http://www.trainingbible.com/joesblog/2009/11/quick-guide-to-setting-zones.html.)
When purchasing this plan if you check the box to share your email address with Joe Friel when prompted you will receive two follow-up emails from him with more information about your plan and you will also be able to contact him should you run into a problem. Your email address won't be used for anything else. Also, after your event please provide feedback on how this plan worked out for you.
Strength Maintenance (if you didn't lift weights in the immediately preceding Base period omit all strength workouts in this plan).
Warm-up 5-10 minutes on a stationary bike. Then complete 2 sets of strength maintenance (SM) weight lifting following the guidelines from Joe's book, The Cyclist's Training Bible. The first set for this workout is light (12 reps with a load you could lift 15 or more times). The second set is heavy (3-5 reps with a load you could lift 6 times). You'll only do 2 sets. Complete both sets of each exercise before moving to the next exercise. Cool down for 5 minutes by spinning in an easy gear/resistance at high rpm. For details go to Chapter 12 in The Cyclist's Training Bible (or go to http://www.trainingbible.com/bkp-all/pdf/Cycling_Strength_Program.pdf).
Ride in heart rate zones 1-2, but mostly 1 zone. Flat course or indoor trainer. Low effort--light on pedals. Comfortably high rpm.
BT: Hill Cruise Intervals. Warm-up about 20 minutes. Climb a 6-8 minute hill (4-6% grade), 4-5 times building to heart rate zone 4 by the top (you may only get to z3 depending on your fitness--more fit, lower HR). Get about 30 minutes of high-intensity climbing today. Stay seated upright on each. Smooth pedaling. Short cool down.
Very easy recovery spin on a mostly flat course (or on indoor trainer) in small chain ring. Heart rate in zone 1. Light on the pedals. Comfortably high rpm focusing on pedaling skills.
Warm-up 20 minutes & then do 6-8 x 8 pedal stroke sprints (count 1 leg only—in other words do 16 pedal strokes counting both legs). Do these on a flat to slight uphill. Emphasize FORM--not power. Try both standing and sitting positions. Take a 4 minute recovery after each form sprint. Neither heart rate nor power is a concern for this workout--only form (back flat, head low, butt on or over nose of saddle, hands in drops). Cool down for the remainder of the ride.
BT: Group ride. Ride how you feel today: If tired, sit in at heart rate zones 1-3; if fresh, ride race efforts in all zones. Ride smart. Or do the following alternative workouts.
+++OPTION #2 IF NO GROUP RIDE:
Long Climbs/High-Intensity Ride.
BT: Ride as hilly a course as is available to you, preferably one with some long (6+ minute) climbs and varying grades. On the short climbs ride aggressively going into heart rate zones 4 and 5. On long climbs practice both seated and standing positions. If you don't have a course that takes 2.5 hours, repeat sections of your hilly route. Cool down for a few minutes.
+++OPTION #3 IF NO HILLS:
Racelike Ride Solo.
BT: Warm up by gradually increasing the effort for 15-20 minutes. Then randomly do long (10-20 minutes) tempo efforts in heart rate zone 3, muscular endurance efforts of 5-10 minutes (heart rate zone 4), anaerobic endurance efforts of 30 seconds to 1 minute in zones 5a to 5b, and short sprints at max effort. Recover between these as you feel like it but emphasize endurance. Cool down for a few minutes.
BT: Do a C-priority race today. If you decide to do a B-priority race instead you will need to reduce the training load for the 3 days prior to the race.
Base Maintenance Ride.
Ride on a flat to gently rolling course. Get at least 50% of ride time in heart rate zone 2. Avoid 3-5 zones. Keep the 2-zone effort steady and continuous. After the ride confirm that you got at least 50% of the ride in zone 2.