This criterium Build-Peak-Race periods training plan was designed by Joe Friel to prepare the OVER-50 cyclist for an A-priority 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 12 weeks prior to your A-priority race.
This plan is intended for the over-age-50 cyclist who has been racing for two or more years. This plan differs from the "UNDER-50" plan with a similar title in that it includes a rest and recovery week every third week instead of every fourth week as in the under-50 plan. To start this plan you should be able to train about 12 hours a week. The weekly training volume varies from about 11 to 9 hours depending on periodization. The emphasis is on power for sprinting, but there is variety each week to develop all of the necessary, race-specific abilities. Optional training races (C-priority) are included throughout the plan. Strength maintenance workouts are included once each week (if you did not lift weights in the preceding base period it's best to NOT lift while following this plan).
The plan uses common 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 criterium race. You may use either a heart rate monitor or a power meter to gauge workout intensity. 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 13 in The Triathlete's Training Bible. Or go here: http://www.trainingbible.com/bkp-all/pdf/Triathlon_Strength_Program.pdf. (If you didn’t lift in the base period then omit this workout and take a day off.)
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. If form breaks down take a longer recovery or stop doing the jumps. 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. Recover for 1-3 minutes between jumps. Cool down in zone 1 for the remainder of the ride.
On a mostly flat road or indoor trainer warm-up for about 10-15 minutes. Then ride steadily for 30 to 40 minutes in the heart rate high zone 2 to low zone 3, or in power zone 3 (power preferred). Pedal at a comfortably high cadence. Smooth pedaling. Cool down in zone 1 for the remainder of the ride.
BT: After warming-up 15-20 minutes do 3 x 10-15 seconds all out (zone 7 with power meter) sprints with 30-second recoveries between them followed immediately by 3 minutes steady to heart rate 5b zone (may not be achieved until the end of 3 minutes – that’s ok) or zone 5 with a power meter. Take 3-5 minutes of easy spinning for recovery and then repeat this sprints-steady effort pattern 2 more times. High cadence throughout. Aero position for the high-intensity portions. Cool down in zone 1 for the remainder of the ride.
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.
Race or Group Ride.
Do one of the following optional workouts.
OPTION #1. BT: Race. Do a local criterium. If racing tomorrow instead reverse these Saturday-Sunday workouts. Ride before and after the race to get in the planned time today including warm-up, race, and cool down.
OPTION #2. BT: Group ride. Ride how you feel today: If tired, sit in at heart rate or power zones 1-3; if fresh ride with race efforts in all zones. Be smart. Start the ride conservatively to monitor how you are feeling. Test yourslef if feeling good.
OPTION #3. BT: Racelike Ride Solo.
Warm-up by gradually increasing the effort for 15-20 minutes. Then randomly do long tempo efforts (10-20 minutes) 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. Mix these as you feel like it. And recover between these as you feel like it. Cool down for a few minutes.
Aerobic Threshold (AeT) Steady State.
BT: Warm up 20-30 minutes. Then ride 1 hour steady at about 30 beats per minute (+/- 2bpm) below the lowest HR in your 5a zone (LTHR). Observe power at this effort if you have a power meter. What was your normalized power (NP) for the steady state portion? Divide NP by average HR for the hour to find your efficiency factor (EF). Over time, as you repeat this workout, your EF should rise. If no power meter still do the workout. There will be no way of analyzing results after. Long, easy cool down.