Training for Cycling Time Trials

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9. Twelve Monthly : Structured Periods

This is the process of breaking down the year into 13 four weekly phases, each phase with its own specific objectives. The year extends from October to the following September. The phases involve a progressive increase in intensity and time from October until April. From April onwards there is a gradual reduction in training time whilst maintaining racing fitness (and peaking for specific events).

This is illustrated in the following table:

TRAINING PERIODS THROUGH THE YEAR

 

 

PERIOD

% OF YEAR

WEEKS

OBJECTIVE

1

OCTOBER
NOVEMBER
DECEMBER
JANUARY

AEROBIC BASE 1
AEROBIC BASE 2/STRENGTH
AEROBIC BASE 3/STRENGTH
AEROBIC BASE 4/POWER

6%
7%
8%
9%

1 to 4
5 to 8
9 to 12
13 to 16

To build a solid base of stamina and endurance with increasing strength.

2

FEBRUARY
MARCH/APRIL
APRIL

INTENSITY 1/POWER
INTENSITY 2/SPEED
INTENSITY 3/SPEED

9%
10%
11%

17 to 20
21 to 24
25 to 28

To add lactate tolerance, power and race pace effort.

3

MAY/JUNE
JUNE/JULY

INTENSITY 4/ PEAKING
PEAKING/TAPERING

9%
8%

29 to 32
33 to 36

To build intensity to a peak by adding speed sprints.

4

JULY
AUGUST
AUGUST/SEPT

RACE 1
RACE 2
RACE 3

7%
7%
6%

37 to 40
41 to 44
45 to 48

To reduce training time whilst sustaining intensity to maintain racing effort.

5

SEPTEMBER

RECOVERY

3%

49 to 52

To allow time to recover from season.

The table shows the competitive year broken down into 5 major phases. Within each four weekly period the load is built to a peak in the third week and an easier fourth week follows.

The objectives of each of the five major phases are:

Phase 1. Aerobic  Base.
This phase lasts for up to 16 weeks (four 4-week periods). The phase starts with 70% stamina work. High pedalling cadences are used to encourage the development of good technique. The remaining 30% are largely endurance work but some time is spent developing strength. At this stage the strength sessions can be carried out off the bike (maybe in the gym).

Over the twenty weeks the intensity and time is gradually increased. Endurance effort is extended and some strength sessions are transferred to the bike. Towards the end of the phase, race pace efforts and higher intensity intervals are introduced.

Phase 2. Intensity.
During this phase (12 weeks) there is an increase in stress both in time and intensity. Stamina and endurance work occupy 50 to 60% of time whilst race pace, power intervals and lactate tolerance sessions are introduced and gradually increased in intensity. Towards the end of the period some early races may be entered (and used as high intensity training).

The aim is to increase the ability to sustain high intensity effort (as in competition) for longer periods.

 Phase 3. Peak/Tapering
This phase lasts between 4 and 8 weeks. Although there is some reduction in training time the intensity is very high, particularly lactate tolerance and speed sessions.

The aim is to refine technique and energy systems at high speed.

Phase 4. Racing  
 
This phase (the one itís all about) lasts from 12 to 16 weeks. The aim is to maintain optimum racing capability. 50% of the work will be based on stamina to retain the aerobic base but active recovery routines are essential.

Phase 5. Recovery.
This period, probably 4 weeks is low intensity with reduced time. Alternative physical activities may be incorporated. The aim is to allow the body (and mind) to recover from the racing season.

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