Time Challenged Cyclist - Undulating Periodization Base and Build - 20-week plan - Classic Zones

Average Weekly Training Hours 07:33
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 07:33
Training Load By Week

The Time-Challenged Cyclist: Undulating Periodization Base and Build Phases


written by Tim Cusick, TrainingPeaks WKO4 product leader and master coach with Velocious Cycling Adventures

WKO4 structured training plan

Plan overview
Let’s face it: finding the time to train can be a challenge. Life, kids, and work leave a lot of cyclists with about 6-8 hours a week to train. This isn’t much, but it doesn’t mean you can’t still get in great shape and accomplish your event or riding goals. This training plan breaks the mold of the traditional linear periodization system (constantly adding more and more time to training as a way of building fitness) by introducing a system of undulating periodization consisting of variable micro-cycles that consistently introduce new exercise stimuli to the body to improve fitness and performance.

The theory is simple: the body likes a pattern but also needs change to continue to improve. This plan features five unique, four-week macrocycles that undulate your training. This means that your body has four weeks to adapt and get used to a certain pattern and format of training before you move on to something different, requiring your body to constantly be in an adaptive state.

The plan kicks off with a traditional aerobic base-building cycle, then quickly progresses to more challenging cycles of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), intensive aerobic building, and max aerobic intervals before ending with a second cycle of HIIT.

Included with your plan:
- Instruction sheet (attached to the first day of the plan)
- Testing protocol
- Coaching tips and encouragement

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More plans
Tim Cusick has written dozens of training plans for many different areas of cycling: road, gravel, time trial, mountain bike, cyclocross, indoor training, and more. Click here for a full list of his current plans by sport type.

Questions?
Click here to view a list of frequently asked questions about our training plans. If you don't find your answer there, please email Coach Kathy Watts.

Sample Day 1
1:00:00
55TSS
DAY 1 VO2MAX TEST

WU:
10-15 minutes warm up, progressing to Zone 2
TARGET: PW Z2/HR Z2/PE 4-5
CADENCE: Self selected with 2 x 1 minute Fast Pedals to wake up legs
-------
MS1:
3 x 90-second opener intervals
TARGET: VO2Max (PW Z5/HR Z5/REP 6-7)
REST: 3 minutes easy riding after first two, then 3-5 minutes after last interval to recover before MS2.
-------
MS2: 5-Minute Hard Effort
This 5-minute effort should be done at maximum. Start the effort at a high pace, but not so hard that you cannot finish strong. Really hammer out the last 45 seconds. The goal is to generate a max 5-minute VO2Max test.
Ride all remaining time in your Endurance zone.
-------
CD:
Cool down 5-15 minutes
TARGET: PW Z1/HR Z1/PE 2-3
CADENCE: small chain ring

Sample Day 2
1:00:00
60TSS
DAY 2 FTP TEST

WU:
10-15 minutes warm up, progressing to Zone 2
TARGET: PW Z2/HR Z2/PE 4-5
CADENCE: Self selected with 2 x 1 minute Fast Pedals to wake up legs
-------
MS1:
3 x 90-Second Opener Intervals
TARGET: VO2Max (PW Z5/HR Z5/REP 6-7)
REST: 3 minutes easy riding after first two, then 3-5 minutes after last interval to recover before MS2.
-------
MS2:
20-Minute Time Trial
Try to do this on a road that is fairly flat and allows you to put out strong, steady power for the entire 20-minute effort. Don’t start too hard! You can do this on a steady climb or into a headwind to help produce steady power throughout the 20-minute effort. Once complete, ride any remaining time in your Endurance zone.
-------
CD:
Cool down 5-15 minutes
TARGET: PW Z1/HR Z1/PE 2-3
CADENCE: small chain ring

Sample Day 3
1:00:00
55TSS
DAY 3 ANAEROBIC CAPACITY TEST

WU:
10-15 minutes warm up, progressing to Zone 2
TARGET: PW Z2/HR Z2/PE 4-5
CADENCE: Self selected with 2 x 1 minute Fast Pedals to wake up legs
-------
MS1:
1 x 5-Minute Opener Interval
TARGET: FTP (PW Z4/HR Z4/RPE 6-7)
REST: 5 minutes of easy riding, then complete MS2
CADENCE: Self selected
------
MS2: 1-Minute Test
Find a quiet road, flat or with a slight uphill grade. Start from about 20 mph out of the saddle HAMMERING (self-selected cadence); go as hard as you can go in the beginning! Sit as you need to and try to push out the entire minute. This is hard! Once complete, spin for 5 minutes and then repeat the test.
Ride any remaining time in your Endurance zone.
-------
CD:
Cool down 5-15 minutes
TARGET: PW Z1/HR Z1/PE 2-3
CADENCE: small chain ring

Sample Day 4
1:00:00
60TSS
DAY 4 NP SPRINT TEST

WU:
10-15 minutes warm up, progressing to Zone 2
TARGET: PW Z2/HR Z2/PE 4-5
CADENCE: Self selected with 2 x 1 minute Fast Pedals to wake up legs
-------
NP Sprint Intervals
Find a quiet road that allows for sprints up to 250 yards, then do the following NP Sprint Sets.
-------
MS1:
6 x 50-yard Small Ring Sprints (39:16)
Start each sprint rolling at about 12 mph in little ring and then spin up to fast pedal power (target cadence 120 and above). Rest 2-3 minutes between sprint efforts. Recover with 5-10 minutes of easy spinning and then complete MS2.
-------
MS2:
Ride all remaining time in your endurance zone.
TARGET: Endurance (PW Z2/HR Z2/PE 3-4)
CADENCE: Self selected
-------
CD:
Cool down 5-15 minutes
TARGET: PW Z1/HR Z1/PE 2-3
CADENCE: small chain ring

Sample Day 6
1:30:00
69.3TSS
ENDURANCE RIDE W/HC 1 MIN SPEED DRILLS

WU:
10-15 minutes warm up, progressing to Zone 2
TARGET: PW Z2/HR Z2/PE 4-5
CADENCE: Self selected with 2 x 1 minute Fast Pedals to wake up legs
------
MS:
Ride prescribed time in Endurance zone
TARGET: Endurance (PW Z2/HR Z2/PE 4-5)
CADENCE: 85-105 RPM. Vary cadence throughout ride and work on pedaling form.
CADENCE DRILLS: 10 x 1 min high cadence (HC) speed pedaling (110+ RPM), leaving 1-2 minutes between HC efforts
TERRAIN: Flat to rolling
------
CD:
Cool down 5-15 minutes
TARGET: PW Z1/HR Z1/PE 2-3
CADENCE: small chain ring

Sample Day 7
2:00:00
93.9TSS
ENDURANCE RIDE

WU:
10-15 minutes warm up, progressing to Zone 2
TARGET: PW Z2/HR Z2/PE 4-5
CADENCE: Self selected with 2 x 1 minute Fast Pedals to wake up legs
------
MS:
Ride prescribed time in Endurance zone.
TARGET: Endurance (PW Z2/HR Z2/PE 4-5)
CADENCE: 85-105 rpm. Vary cadence throughout ride and work on pedaling form.
TERRAIN: Flat to rolling
------
CD:
Cool down 5-15 minutes
TARGET: PW Z1/HR Z1/PE 2-3
CADENCE: small chain ring

Sample Day 9
1:15:00
57TSS
ENDURANCE RIDE

WU:
10-15 minutes warm up, progressing to Zone 2
TARGET: PW Z2/HR Z2/PE 4-5
CADENCE: Self selected with 2 x 1 minute Fast Pedals to wake up legs
------
MS:
Ride prescribed time in Endurance zone.
TARGET: Endurance (PW Z2/HR Z2/PE 4-5)
CADENCE: 85-105 rpm. Vary cadence throughout ride and work on pedaling form.
TERRAIN: Flat to rolling
------
CD:
Cool down 5-15 minutes
TARGET: PW Z1/HR Z1/PE 2-3
CADENCE: small chain ring

Tim Cusick
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Velocious Endurance Coaching

Tim Cusick is the TrainingPeaks WKO4 product leader and the owner of Velocious Endurance Coaching. His expertise in training, racing, and data analytics offers a unique approach to training that guides his clients to amazing success. He currently coaches world champion Amber Neben, road pro Emma Grant, and numerous other pros and age group racers. Tim has 100 plans in all cycling disciplines! Need help picking a plan? Fill out our survey here: https://goo.gl/forms/bkGSAYA9VzV9tsq22.