Pre-Season Training for Beginner/Intermediate Road Racer

Learn other coaching tips from Colorado Cycling Coaches

Once again Ben Ollet of Ollett Coaching has provided us with a Pre-season Training Plan. Ben has published other great training plans for us like Training for a Successful Cyclocross Season: The Basics. Ben knows his stuff, he is the coach for Georgia Gould, Barry Wicks, Heather Irmiger and Amy Dombroski... that's a pretty good list. If you've never had a coach before or a plan then you REALLY need to consider it and don't wait until a few weeks before your great event! Chris Carmichael is correct in saying, "Don't just train, train right!" Contact Ollett Coaching today and tell him you saw this on 303cycling! Now on with the
Pre-Season Training Basics for the Beginner/Intermediate Road Racer


Pre-Season Training Basics for the Beginner/Intermediate Road Racer

The off-season is winding down and the start of official training will be here before you know it. Before you start up with long rides and big hours, take some time to plan. Winter is a great time to work on your weaknesses, so be sure to include them in your planning. It’s difficult to summarize these ideas into a short article, so feel free to email me at ben@ollettcoaching if you have further questions. Here are some basic ideas for the beginner to intermediate cyclist:

1) Structure and Rest
Create a detailed plan for your training. Establish a goal for each block of training, and make sure your training rides reflect that goal. Be sure to plan enough rest into your program. I’d generally recommend an extra day of rest over an extra day of training. A 1:1 work to rest ratio is a good place to start. That means that for every hard day, you need an easy day to recover. You can play around with this ratio to an extent with different types of overload training, but eventually you'll need to come back to the 1:1 ratio. Fitness gains are made as you recover, so if you neglect recovery, you won’t be ready for your hard days. If you’re not rested for your hard days, you’ll have mediocre workouts. If you continue this pattern, your fitness won’t improve and you’ll find yourself in a general state of fatigue. So, if you find yourself tired and unable to generate quality workouts, it doesn’t mean that you’re a wimp. Most likely, you need some extra rest.

3) Quality Over Quantity
Make the most of your time on the bike. The traditional slow base miles plan is a waste of time for most people. Don't get caught up in the hours per week game. Quality hours are the important part. If you’re short on time, I recommend a tempo pace (or Friel’s Zone 3) rather than the traditional base pace.

4) Sleep
Sleep is the most important aspect of recovery, so make an effort to get as much sleep as you can. Hours of sleep are a good thing to keep track of in your training log. If you have responsibilities that prevent you from sleeping as much as you should, you need to plan in an extra day of rest to give your body time to recover.

5) Weight-Bearing Activity
There is ample research available demonstrating the poor bone density in many cyclists. This is primarily a result of a lack of any weight-bearing activity. So, as an advocate of good health, I recommend running year-round. Blasphemy you say…well, I disagree. If you run consistently, your legs will adapt and it won’t cause the crippling soreness that so many cyclists experience in their first and only off-season run. As a minimum, I recommend 3 runs per week, 20-30 mins in length. Your bones will thank you. For further explanation, read Monique Ryan’s article on bone density in cyclists.

6) Bad/Cold Weather Ideas
Winter doesn’t have to mean hours of suffering in your basement on a stationary trainer. I personally believe that every trainer ride takes one year off of your life, so I adhere to a strict no-stationary-exercise policy. There are plenty of other exercise options when the weather is bad including: running, hiking, swimming, backcountry skiing, and Nordic skiing. Or another option is to ride a mountain bike on the road - you’ll go slower and stay warmer.

The 8-10hr/week Early Season Training Program – 1:1 Work to Rest Ratio:

M: easy jog 20 mins (active recovery)
T: 1.5hrs – 2x30min tempo (Zone 3) efforts
W: 20-30min easy jog (active recovery)
Th: 1.5hrs – 3x15min LT (Zone 4) efforts
F: 20-30min easy jog (active recovery)
Sa: 2-3hrs Hard Group Ride
Su: 2-3 hrs w/ 60-80 mins tempo (Zone 3)
M: off
T: easy jog 20-30 mins (active recovery)
W: 1.5-2hrs 3x20min LT efforts
Th: easy jog 20-30 mins (active recovery)
F: easy jog 20-30mins (active recovery)
Sa: 2.5hrs steady just below tempo
Su: 2.5-3hrs Hard Group Ride

Many thanks to Ben at Ollett Coaching for taking the time to make this training plan and explain it! Want more help or a customized plan that fits your needs and time constrains, contact ben at ollettcoaching dot com. Make sure you Print this Now

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3 Comments

You always need to be fit

You always need to be fit for any kind of sport. It is amazing how much regular training and constant workouts are essential to keep in shape for anytime races. I am not a hardcore bicycling fan but I do bicycle on and off and enjoy it. It is amazing how one routine skipped can be harmful to you and your practice of sport.
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Advocating short runs 3x per

Advocating short runs 3x per week doesn't seem nearly as crazy as half the s*** people are doing (or claim to be doing) this time of year to get an edge.

From what I've seen, the nuttier the training or training methodologies October-December, the less chance that guy has of being around come May.