Training Strategy

Back in 1993, I started Time Trialling as a member of the Charlotteville Cycling Club. Nothing too strenuous, just 10s and 25s with a single 50 miler once a year as part of an inter-club competition between the Charlotteville and 2 other cycling clubs. For training, I was just doing the miles, nothing scientific. Just riding my bike on the road as much as my home/work life would allow me.

After a while, my results in local Time Trials were no longer improving at the rate they had previously. I can’t actually remember any of my times as I have since thrown out all my training logs (Tip #1 – Never throw away your training logs).

In the spring of 1994, Cycling Weekly published an article on Heart Rate training according to Peter Keen, Chris Boardman’s trainer at the time. His training method was based four levels of training intensity as controlled by working at a specified heart rate, in beats per minute (BPM), relative to your maximum heart rate (MHR). This article prompted my to buy a Heart Rate Monitor in order to try this out. Within weeks of training to Peter Keen’s 4 levels of training, my time trial results had improved quite considerably. After a couple of seasons, my Personal Bests at 10 and 25 miles, which were all achieved in 1996, are 21:01 and 55:40 respectively.

In 1998, I stopped competing and just rode my bike for pleasure and fitness. It’s a few years down the line now and with my ‘Tour de France or bust’ expedition just 9 months away, I need to come up with some sort of training strategy. I’ve just had 2 months off the bike due to a Hernia Repair Operation. My intention is to get back on the bike (Turbo Trainer to begin with) in the New Year and get some base fitness back. It’s mazing how 2 months of inactivity can set you back so much. Luckily, I’ve only put on 6lbs which I’m not too worried about. I tend to put on a bit of weight in the winter anyway, as I presume everyone does. I think it’s all to do with needing an extra layer of insulation in order to get your through the colder seasons.

Searching the web for training advice tells me that there are now 6 levels of training. Why do things have to change? I may ignore current trends in training and stick with Peter Keen’s tried and tested (for me anyway) 4 levels. After all, I don’t want to win Time Trials, I just want to increase my aerobic threshold in order to be able to ride the distances I plan to ride in September.

Anyone with advice to hand out, please feel free to comment.

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4 thoughts on “Training Strategy

  1. Until I found the 6 training zones I was using the 5 training zones. I was only using one of those zones. The fat burning one. I hope to train more efficiently in 2011 and will give the 6 zone method a go.

  2. Hello JFP. I like to keep it simple. Joe Beer promotes a simple 3 zone system which I adopted wef October. Current base work is mainly Z1 (=Z2 on most scales). See http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/cycling-training-building-success. One thing that strikes me is when you take into account the number of variables that affect HR (e.g. temperature drift, tiredness, wellness etc.) if you have 6 zones they are very narrow. Good luck with your quest by the way, a dream for mosts cyclists. Iain

    • Hi Ian. I too like to keep things simple. As I said, I’m not trying to break any speed records. All I’m trying to do is increase my aerobic threshold in order to ride for extended periods of time while staying within my comfort zone.
      Joe Beer’s system does seem to be a simpler system, although it’s mainly due to the fact that Z1 is equivalent to Peter Keen’s Level 2 and below. Z2 and Z3 are equivalent to Levels 3 and 4 respectively.
      As it happens, these are actually the only three levels I used to train at. I never trained at either Level 1 or Lower Level 2.
      Thanks again for the link.

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