This advanced 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 11 weeks prior to your A-priority road race.
This plan is intended for the cyclist who has many years of racing experience but is short on time to train with high volume. To start this plan you should be able to train about 12 hours a week. Over 11 weeks you will develop race fitness by doing weekly high-intensity workouts mixed with recovery rides. Weekly volume remains at about 12 hours per week (except for R&R periods in weeks 4 and 8). In this plan there is considerable emphasis on training intensity. Intensity is described in terms of heart rate and power giving you a choice for how to do the workouts. Strength workouts are also included each week.
The plan uses common cycling 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 (SM).
Warm-Up 5-10 minutes. Then do 2 sets of Strength Maintenance (SM) weight lifting. First set is light - 12 reps with 15 repetition max (RM - a load you can only lift 15 times) load. Second set is heavy - 3-6 reps with 6RM load. Cool down 5-10 minutes spinning on a stationary bike in an easy gear/resistance at high rpm. This should be a brief workout. For details turn to Chapter 12 in The Cyclist’s Training Bible. Or go here: http://www.trainingbible.com/bkp-all/pdf/Cycling_Strength_Program.pdf
Exercises: 1. Hip extension (squat, leg press or step up), 2. Seated row, 3. abdominal with twist, 4. upper body your choice (lat pull or chest press), 5. personal weakness (hamstring curl, knee extension, or heel raise), 6. standing row.
If you've not been lifting weights prior to starting this plan it's best not to start now. In this case take Mondays in this plan as rest days with no workouts.
BT: Cruise intervals.
On road or trainer. Warm-up for 10-20 minutes. Then do 4-5 x 6 minutes building to heart rate zone 3 to 4, or power zone 4 (see Coach's Comments below) with 90-second recoveries between the intervals. Power is the preferred gauge of intensity. Smooth pedaling. Cool down for the remainder of this ride. May be on road or time trial bike.
Do a 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.
OR, take the day off if very tired. Be ready for tomorrow which is the more critical workout.
BT: Anaerobic Hill Intervals.
Warm-up for 20-30 minutes gradually building intensity. Then go to a moderate to steep hill (6-8% grade) that takes 2-4 minutes to climb and complete about 15 minutes of total climbing time today (for example: 7x2, 5x3, or 4x4 minutes). The recovery after each climb is the time it takes to descend (less than the duration of the preceding climb). The effort for each climb should be HR zones 4-5b (it may take a couple of repeats to achieve these zones) or power zone 5 (power preferred). Alternate standing and sitting on each climb based on how you feel. Cadence is comfortably high. Cool down in zone 1 for the remainder of the ride.
IF NO HILL AVAILABLE: do the same workout only on flat terrain with 1-2 minutes of recovery between work intervals.
On a mostly flat to gently rolling course or indoor trainer warm-up for 15-20 minutes in zones 1-2 (HR or power). Then do several powerful, all-out, 8-pedal-revolution "jumps"--count one leg only or a total of 16 both-leg pedal strokes for each jump. Do some of these in the saddle and some standing on the pedals. Recover for at least 3 minutes after each jump. If form breaks down take a longer recovery or stop doing the jumps. Otherwise ride easily in zone 1. The purpose of the jump is to see how quickly you can reach max power. Using a power meter is perfect for this workout. Note the highest power for each jump. Heart rate is of no consequence on the jumps. 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 long (10-20 minutes) tempo 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 on a flat to gently rolling course. Get at least 50% of ride time in low heart rate zone 2 or power 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.