Saturday, 7 January 2012

Training Plans

It is the beginning of the year, the beginning of the season, and the time for setting Goals. I did a post on Goals 2 weeks ago, and in the words of Joe Friel,” A goal without a Plan is a wish.”

I have encountered so many people that say they want to do the Argus, or start cycling, or lose weight, or get fit, and they go out and buy the bike and the kit, cycle for anywhere between 2 weeks and 2 months and then ….stop!! If they have committed to an event they will most likely force themselves to roll the bike out the front door 1-2 weeks before the event to train. Those that have not committed to an event will probably leave the bike (in storage) for much longer.

Merdia 905 - still in action

I bought a Merida Road 905 in 2006 to start a healthy, cyclist lifestyle. I only rode it for 2 months, before it was left to rest against the wall in the garage. It was in October 2009 that I next took that bike out for a ride. Then my goal became SMART, and I backed it up with a training plan, and 2 years later I am still passionately living the fit, cyclist lifestyle, and becoming increasingly competitive as the weeks past.

My first training plan in 2009 was developed on an Excel spreadsheet, days in rows and weeks in columns. I got my workouts from generic plans that are freely available in mags and on the net (sample plan), and I tailored them to my available time and capability. The most important element in those first 12 weeks was just to ride my bike, regularly (at least 3 times per week). That spring I was consistently hitting 5-8 hrs per week. After doing this for a few weeks my cycling became habit. It became a norm to ride to work 2-3 times per week, to wake up at 5am in the morning, leave the house at 5.30, and to go out for 2-3 hr rides on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

I used to update my Excel training plan on a daily basis by highlighting the completed workout in green, and record workout duration. It became a huge motivator to daily view my ever greening spreadsheet, and to miss a workout meant a red highlight, which became a real no no.

During that first 12 weeks my goals were adjusted to include the completion of my first Argus Cycle Race in March 2010. This gave rise to a new Excel Training Plan being developed in January 2010, and this time Interval workouts were included. Weekly average training time also increased to 8-10 hours per week.

When it comes to regular +8 hour training weeks out on the road away from home, family support becomes a critical element. My cycling progression would not have been possible without the support of my Family, Faridah, Raees and Mishkah.

In Winter of 2010 when daylight hours became shorter, I picked up a book, Time crunched cyclist, and used it to develop my Winter training plan. Well worth checking out.

In October 2010 I upped my game considerably, and new that my Training Plans needed to be more focused and decided to sign up with Michael from Bike Max Power and Training Peaks. I also read Joe Friels, Training Bible. A must read for the serious cyclist.

In November 2011 I invested in a Power Meter, and my workouts became Power and Heart rate based.

My training plans and workouts have evolved and become a lot more focused since when I started in 2009. This all in alignment with my cycling goals and objectives.

Many a time I see cyclists that don’t develop training plans, goals, data log and track, and performance measure, and I wonder …….. Is this all necessary?

Do you think you can become the best you can be without a plan?

1 comment:

  1. I agree, Friel's Training Bible and blog are a must read for every serious cyclist.