CYCLING PERFORMANCE TIPS - ride frequency
CYCLING PERFORMANCE TIPS
Frequency and Intensity of Rides
You've calculated your average weekly mileage for the last 2 or 3 weeks, got your
training mileage logs ready, and are committed to hold yourself
to an increase in your mileage of no more than the allotted 10 to 15% per week.
(Example). But how should this mileage be divided throughout the
week?? From our basic physiology we learned that both
frequency and intensity needed to be balanced along with duration (distance)
to achieve our personal best. Here are a few guidelines.
- It's important to ride at least 5 days a week, and take at least one day
- one high mileage day - working up your mileage by 10 to 15% per week until it
equals your event distance
- one slow recovery day - longer than the intermediate mileage days, shorter than
the high mileage day
- 3 intermediate mileage days
- 1 or 2 rest days - off the bike or short recovery rides. Depending on your level
of training (or evidence of overtraining) the seventh day is an additional intermediate
mileage day or an additional rest day.
- The longest mileage day is keyed to the length of your event or ride and ridden at
the pace you hope to maintain for the event. Many coaches suggest you work up to the
length (or even 125% of the length) of the event while others are comfortable if you
can ride 75% of the event distance comfortably.
- This is usually a Saturday ride, with Sunday as a backup for bad weather or other
unexpected circumstance that might derail your training program.
- The last high mileage day of your training program should be at least 75% of the
length of the planned event.
- If you are training for a single day event or ride, your longest training ride should
be at least 10 to 14 days before the event. Then cut back on the mileage of your rides
the 3 days immediately before the event - short, low intensity rides (spinning) to keep
your muscles from tightening up. This recommendation is not as important for multiday
endurance type rides, but common sense suggests that taking a few days off (short
spinning rides only) immediately before the event will facilitate maximum muscle recovery
and glycogen repletion.
- Follow the high mileage day with a rest day or a short mileage day - at most 1/4 of
the length of your long ride and ridden at a leisurely pace to help loosen up your muscles
after the long ride of the week.
- The three intermediate mileage (midway between the short ride and the long ride of
the week) days should be ridden at a good training pace (85 to 90% of your
maximum heart rate). At least one should be an
interval training ride. A second interval training day each
week is optional.
- There should be an additional long mileage, recovery day (longer than the intermediate
mileage days, shorter than the high mileage day) during the training week.
- You can estimate the length (number of weeks needed) for your training program by
using your "average" long ride from your 500 mile base training period,
increasing it by 10 - 15% a week, and repeating this until you arrive at a figure that is
equal to or greater than 75% (3/4) of the length of the event for which you are training.
The number of repetitions needed to get to the 75 % number are the number of weeks you
need to train.
- Be flexible and adjust your program to your lifestyle. A rigid program is destined
Here is an example of the process - Example.
As far as pace of your rides:
- the pace of the longest ride of the week should match the planned pace of your
- the short "recovery" ride should be a leisurely pace at no more than 50-60% of
your maximum heart rate
- two of the intermediate rides should be at the planned event pace
- one of the intermediate rides (preferably prior to a planned day off the bike for
a 5 day training week), should be at a brisk pace 2 - 3 mph faster than your planned
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