Basic Training Part 2

So last week we learned the basics of what a basic training plan should involve.  This week were going to start to apply it to a typical cyclist, who is short on time and has other commitments such as his family and work.


Cartoon CyclistBob is 36 years old, he’s married and has 2 young children aged 1 1/2 years and 3 1/2 years.  He works 40 hours a week but he is lucky enough to be able to cycle his 12 mile commute.

Bob has been riding for a number of years, he’s quite fit but he feels he’s not able to progress any further without commiting to training over the winter.

So he’s a pretty regular guy.  He’d like to give road racing a go, or maybe time trials, he’s done plenty of sportives in the past.  He’s not lucking to become a top rider in his area or take things too seriously as he has lots of other commitments for his time.  Bob would just like to be competitive with his age group.

So where do we start…

Based on what we learned last week, we’re going to build Bob a basic winter training plan which will build up his aerobic fitness over the winter.  The most fundemental key to this is that Bob will be doing his training at an intensity that will build his endurance.  So that means he won’t be doing anything where he get seriously out of breath or can taste the blood in his mouth!

Heart Rate Monitor

To make it easier to guage your effort when training, I recommend you buy yourself a Heart Rate Monitor.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it is handy if you can mount it on your handlebars though.  I won’t go into too much detail but you can pick one up for around £40 these days.  If you would like more help concerning heart rate monitors please email me at

Heart Rate Zones

There are dozens of ways of working out what heart rate zones to train at but we are trying to keep it simple and for the purposes of endurance training it doesn’t need to be mega accurate anyway.  So I suggest you work it out as follows.


How to work it out

220 – Age = your maximum HR

Recovery Zone 1 = 50 – 60% of Max HR

Endurance Zone 2 = 61 – 70% of Max HR

Tempo Zone 3 = 71 – 80% of Max HR

Aerobic Capacity Zone 4 = 81 – 90% of Max HR

Anearobic Zone 5 = 90 – 100% of Max HR


Max HR 220 – 36 = 184

Zone 1 92 – 110

Zone 2 111 – 128

Zone 3 129 – 147

Zone 4 148 – 165

Zone 5 166 – 184

Zones 4 and 5

Don’t worry too much about Zones 4 and 5. Zone 4 is basically the intensity that you can maintain before you start becoming out of breath and your legs really start burning, you can manage this intensity for a longiish period of time, like a time trial.  Zone 5 is when your legs are really burning and your breathing is at its maximum and you can’t sustain it for long, this is the intensity you would be sprinting at or doing a short climb.

Zone 3

Is what I like to call Tempo.  Its basically when your riding at a decent speed, spinning away, but it still doesn’t feel like a very big effort.

Zone 2

This will be the zone which you do the bulk of your endurance work.  You should be able to manage riding at this intensity for a long period of time depending on your fitness.

Zone 1

This is your recovery zone.  It should feel like almost no effort.  You should almost feel guilty about how slow your going, but thats how it should feel.  This is the intensity you should do when recovering from a hard or long training session the day before.

Now we have our training zones, we are ready to start designing a program based around our cyclist Bob.

Bobs Training Plan

Bobs training plan will be based around a 3 week cycle.  He will spend the first two weeks building up his training volume and on his third week we’ll reduce his volume so he can recover.

Weekly Training Hours

First we need an idea of the amount of time Bob can commit around his work and family commitments.  Bob is able to do 2 hours riding everyday, 5 days a week which forms part of his usual commute to work, plus he’s able to go out for a longer ride of up to 4 hours on a Saturday morning if he gets up early enough.  He can also add a few extra training hours during the week if he sets off for work an hour early.  So this gives us a maximum weekly training hours of 16 hours.  We’re not going to use the maximum available time every week or poor old Bob would be knackered so we’ll start with less and build up.

So his hours will work like this

 Weekly Training Hours Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Base Period 1  12  13  6.5
Base Period 2  13  14  7
Base Period 3  14  15  7.5
Base Period 4  15  16  8

We’ve run out of time this week but starting next week we’ll plan out his first Base training period. Base 1…

One response to “Basic Training Part 2”

  1. […] Last week we started to plan out Bob’s training plan.  We have an idea how many hours that Bob can put into his training and we put it into a chart last week, which looked like this – […]

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