Make ev­ery ride count

Pe­ri­odi­s­a­tion is the an­swer to get­ting more miles in when you’re busy, says Liam Holo­han

Cycling Plus - - FRONT PAGE -

“In many ways, work­ing with pro­fes­sional ath­letes is eas­ier when it comes to the pre­scrip­tion of train­ing. Each week they have a blank slate from which to work from,” says Liam Holo­han. “All day, ev­ery day, is avail­able to them for train­ing.” The chal­lenge comes for the ‘time-crunched cy­clist’, who must also fit in fam­ily life and a nor­mal job to their week.

“When it comes to train­ing, you can only con­trol two things; vol­ume and in­ten­sity; or, how much and how hard. For a lot of ama­teur cy­clists, this ra­tio never changes. They do the same train­ing in Novem­ber as they do in July. The key to be­ing on form on the day of your tar­get event is pe­ri­odi­s­a­tion. Essen­tially, this is how you or­gan­ise your sea­son, or macro-cy­cle.”

01 CLAS­SI­CAL PE­RIOD

There are many types of pe­ri­odi­s­a­tion. Clas­sic, or lin­ear pe­ri­odi­s­a­tion, is what most cy­clists have heard of: that’s long, steady miles in the win­ter, in­ter­vals in the spring, race in the sum­mer. This is a great way to train, as long as you have the time. An ath­lete who only has 10 hours a week will find that they’re not pro­gress­ing with such low vol­ume and in­ten­sity.

02 RE­VERSE GEAR

Re­verse pe­ri­odi­s­a­tion works the other way around; low vol­ume, high in­ten­sity in the win­ter, more vol­ume, less in­ten­sity in the sum­mer. On those dark evenings, you could utilise the turbo to do some higher in­ten­sity work. When sum­mer and the lighter nights roll round you could up the vol­ume and get out on the road mid-week. The only trou­ble with this is that the speci­ficity prin­ci­ple states that the train­ing has to repli­cate the de­mands of the event. So, if you’re road rac­ing, the train­ing gets less like a road race as you get closer to the sea­son. But for a gran fondo, or sportive rider, the train­ing gets in­creas­ingly like the event. Re­verse pe­ri­odi­s­a­tion is great for that type of rider.

03 USE WEEKS EF­FEC­TIVELY

One method I would rec­om­mend is un­du­lat­ing pe­ri­odi­s­a­tion. This means that dur­ing each meso­cy­cle of train­ing the vol­ume and in­ten­sity take turns in pri­or­ity, week on week. You’d use the weeks where you’ve more time avail­able to fo­cus on the vol­ume; then, when you’re time crunched, fo­cus on in­ten­sity. This also keeps the train­ing var­ied.

04 DUMP THE JUNK

CLAS­SIC OR LIN­EAR PER IODIS AT ION IS A GR E AT WAY TO TRAIN AS LONG AS YOU HAVE THE TIME

A term I have heard a lot is ‘junk miles’. It means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple. Here’s my def­i­ni­tion: Ask your­self, ‘How is this ses­sion help­ing me achieve my goal?’ If you can’t an­swer this with con­vic­tion then it’s junk and that time could be put to a much bet­ter use.

05 MISS THE TRAIN

You can cut out dead time on a com­mute. If you can work train­ing into this time, it will put less of a drain on fam­ily and work time. Don’t just use this tip for your work com­mute. If you’ve a fam­ily trip planned, why not ride there?

06 CATCH THE COACH

Com­mit to work­ing with a cy­cling coach – even re­motely as it will help you pri­ori­tise your time more ef­fec­tively, they’ll ex­am­ine your life­style, work and fam­ily com­mit­ments to timetable ses­sions for you, and iden­tify win­dows of op­por­tu­nity for you to train. A good coach will en­sure that you’re con­tin­u­ing to im­prove, look­ing for the point of di­min­ish­ing re­turns with each train­ing stim­u­lus.

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