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Collegiate Road Racing Plan


Coach Jeff Winkler

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12 Weeks

Plan Specs

cycling road cycling intermediate advanced power based hr based

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Plan Description

The plan is designed to start at the beginning of the year (January) and take you to your "A" race. Adjust the start date (or end date) so the plan completes in the week of your "A" race. If you are actively training before this plan begins I would recommend a "light week" before the plan begins.

This plan assumes you have a power meter and heart rate monitor. This will make it much easier to execute the structured workouts and maintain a good level of effort on longer endurance rides. That said, most of the workouts can be approximated by use of heart rate and subjective feel. For short intervals, ignore your heart rate and just go as hard as you can for the duration. Over time you'll improve your pacing so you don't blow up before the finish.

Some rides can be replaced with group or team rides. To get the best effect, make similar efforts in the group rides. The efforts don't need to be exactly the same duration or effort level, but try to stress the same systems. If the group ride is going to be mellow or steady, that is a good substitute for the longer endurance rides on the schedule.

This plan is 12 weeks long and is designed to end with your Conference Championships or National Championships (late April to early May). The training volume is 10-12 hours per week including both on and off-the-bike time. Although this plan is intended for "A" and "B" level riders, there is no reason why lower category riders couldn't benefit from it as well.

If at any point during the plan you reach a level of deep or extreme fatigue, rest and recovery is the best course of action. The goal should not be to complete the plan "to the letter", but rather use the plan to push you to your limit and help you improve. If you are unsure whether you are too fatigued for a particular workout, the best course of action is to get on the bike and give it a go. If after a normal warm-up and a couple efforts you are unable to execute the workout or are feeling really tired, just spin home and take it easy. Take a day or two easy and then get back on the plan. Don't try to make up for missed workouts, this will almost certainly introduce too much load as you "double up". A plan is just a plan, circumstances always require deviation from even the best plan from time-to-time.

Best of luck with your racing season!


Average Weekly Breakdown

Workouts Weekly Average Longest Workout
8:02 hrs 4:00 hrs
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Workouts Per Week Weekly Average Longest Workout
8:02 hrs 4:00 hrs
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Jeff Winkler

Winkler Cycling

Over the past 25 years, I have coached athletes to multiple State and National Championship titles in the disciplines of Road, MTB and Cyclocross. I have worked with all levels of individual racers from novice to professional and have coached collegiate, club and amateur teams.

Sample Day 1

TESTING: Field Test (short power baselines)

See details in graph.

Don't get stressed about these. Simply psyche yourself up to go hard. Nothing more than hard efforts, do you best and ignore any judgment of the outcome.

Sample Day 2

Active Recovery

This is a relatively easy ride, but longer and slightly more intense than a pure recovery ride.

Heart Rate, Average Power, Normalized Power should be in the lower half of Zone 2. This means that the ride is steady and most of the time you are in low Zone.

This is a good ride to go out with friends and be social, no hammering!

Sample Day 3

TESTING: Field Test (2x8min efforts)

30-45min progressive warm-up (as if you were warming up for a short TT)
2 x 8min ON at "best effort" with 10min OFF at Z1-2
30mins at Z2

Threshold Power can be estimated by multiplying the best 8min Average Power by 90%. Compare this value to the value calculated in the upcoming 30min field test. These value may not be the same.

As you might expect, a larger anaerobic contribution is made in the shorter field test. The longer test may also be affected by a limitation of muscular endurance (not necessarily aerobic capacity). If there is a "big" difference between these numbers, it might be best to use the lower value until you have a little more training under your belt.

Deciding which value to use as your threshold is a matter of some debate (and yet another standard is to do a 60min field test and use your average power from that effort). Don't get distracted from the purpose of the field test, it is primarily to establish reasonable training zones, not establish an 100% accurate "best effort" for some arbitrary duration.

Sample Day 4

(training weekend) 1.5hr easy spin

Mellow spin to loosen up legs. Primary goal is recovery, not training.

Sample Day 5

TESTING: Field Test (30min effort HR/W)

30min progressive warm-up (as if you were warming up for 10-20km TT)

30min best effort. The goal is the best steady output you can hold for the duration. Don't start out strong and then fade. Try to use a stretch of road with minimal interruptions. A gradual climb is good if you have one (3-5% steady grade).

Your average Heart Rate for the last 20mins is a good estimation of your Threshold Heart Rate.

To estimate your FTP for Power Zones:
1. Take your "best" 20min Average Power during the test and multiple by 95%.
2. Put this number in TrainingPeaks as your Threshold Power.
3. Use the Coggan formula for setting your zones.

Note: while 95% of your 20min Power "may" not accurately reflect the Average Power you could sustain for 60 minutes (FTP), this doesn't mean it is NOT a good number from which to calculate training zones. In my opinion, training zones calculated from this higher "threshold" value are better attuned to your limits.

Sample Day 6

AEROBIC: Low Zone 2 (by HR 65-70% Max HR)

Basic Zone 2 ride, but dictated by HR rather than power. This will allow for proper intensity regardless of fatigue levels.

Sample Day 32

(race weekend) Easy spin w/ a couple openers

The primary goal is to flush and recent travel and "wake up" your muscles. This preps the legs for the hard efforts to come.

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