This road cyclist Build-Peak-Race periods training plan was designed by Joe Friel to prepare you for an A-priority road race in the last week of the plan. It is based on the the principles described in his book, The Cyclist's Training Bible. It is best started about 11 weeks prior to your A-priority road race. Either heart rate or power may be used to gauge intensity.
This plan is intended for the under-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 11 weeks you will increase your weekly intensity while weekly volume remains at about 12 hours (except for rest & recovery weeks every fourth 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).
The plan uses common language to describe the workouts and is easy to follow. By the end of 11 weeks you will have excellent fitness and be ready for your A-priority road race.
Your bike training zones (heart rate and/or power) 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.)
Strength Maintenance (if you didn't lift in the Base period omit strength workouts).
Warm-up 5-10 minutes on a stationary bike. Then complete 2 sets of strength maintenance (SM) weight lifting using the exercises listed under Comments below. The first set is light (12 reps with a load you could lift 15 times). The second set is heavy (3-5 reps with a load you could lift 6 times). 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 zone 1 or power zones 1-2, mostly zone 1. Flat to gently rolling course. Low effort--light on pedals. Comfortably high rpm.
CHOOSE ONE OF THESE OPTIONS:
OPTION #1. BT: Hill Cruise Intervals. Warm-up for 15-20 minutes gradually building intensity. Then go to a moderate to steep hill (6-8% grade) and complete about 30 minutes of climbing with repeats. The climbs can each be from 4 to 6 minutes long. Do enough repeats to equal about 30 minutes of climbing today. The recovery after each climb is the time it takes to descend (less than the duration of the preceeding climb). The effort for each climb should be in HR zones 3-4 or power zone 4 (power preferred). Stay seated on each climb to build muscular force.
***IF NO HILL AVAILABLE:
OPTION #2. BT: Cruise Intervals. On a mostly flat course with no stop streets and light traffic or on an indoor trainer warm-up about 15-20 minutes. Then ride 4-5 x 6-minute intervals building to heart rate zones 3-4 or power zone 4 (power preferred) with 2.5-minute recoveries rest in between. Cool down for the remainder of the ride in zone 1.
Very easy recovery spin on a mostly flat course (or on indoor trainer) in small chain ring. Heart rate or power in zone 1 only. Light on the pedals. Comfortably high rpm focusing on smooth pedaling skills. Upper body "quiet" with legs spinning easily.
Warm-up 10-20 minutes & then do 6-8 x 6-10 pedal stroke sprints (count 1 leg only—in other words do 12-20 counting both legs). Do these on a flat to slight uphill for the sprints. Emphasize FORM--not power. Try both standing and sitting positions. Take a 3-4 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 in zone 1 for the remainder of the ride.
BT: Group ride. Ride how you feel today: If tired, sit in at heart rate or power 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 long (6+ minute) climbs and varying grades. On the short climbs ride aggressively going into HR zone 4 or power zone 5. On long climbs practice both seated and standing. 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 tempo long (10-20 minutes) efforts in zone 3 (HR or power), muscular endurance efforts of 5-10 minutes (HR or power zone 4), anaerobic endurance efforts in zone 5 (HR or power), and sprints at max effort. Recover between these as you feel like it but emphasize endurance. Cool down for a few minutes.
Base Maintenance Ride.
Ride in heart rate or power zones 1-3, mostly zone 2 on a flat to gently rolling course. Low effort. Easy pedaling with a comfortably high cadence.