Planning your year in the saddle

A band showing brand colours of CicloZone, an indoor cycling app

With the pandemic wreaking havoc on usual training routines, your 2021 fitness plans might have suffered from a bumpy start, or no start at all.

However, whether you’re an experienced cyclist or looking for a new way of building your fitness, rest assured it is not too late to create a training plan for the year ahead.

As we head into spring, lockdown restrictions start to ease and some form of normality beckons, now is the time to jump start your fitness and plan your year in the saddle.

Why plan?

Having a training plan is crucial for any cyclist who wants to be faster, fitter and go further, whatever your current level of cycling experience is. Having a plan enables you to make your objective tangible, fuel your motivation and give you a sense of purpose. Without one, you will likely plateau or even give up with no end goal in sight. And don’t forget that training goals should always be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-based.

Having a structured, goal-based training plan will combine threshold, endurance, baseline and high-end speed/intervals sessions, pushing your body to adapt to increase strength and efficiency. What actually improves your fitness is this adaptation process, which happens during recovery periods, as opposed to the exercise itself.

So how do you go about creating your own plan?

Organise your schedule

Before you choose or start your goal, there is one step that precedes this – you need to organise your schedule. Ask yourself how much time you realistically have available to train and when you are available to train.

Get your diary sorted factoring in other exercise activity, social plans, work schedules, etc. Honesty is the key here – if you don’t know what time you’ve got, it makes it difficult to be realistic about your goals.

Personalise your plan

The good thing about planning your training means you can be as flexible as you like, and also tailor training days around your lifestyle.

There will be personal factors that need to come into the equation, such as age. If you’re older, adding in more recovery time might be required. If you already have base fitness, then smarter hours in the saddle might be better for you than longer ones, which is where science-driven, personalised workouts like CicloZone add real value.

The FTP factor

Your plan should consist of a mix of low, medium and high-intensity sessions based on your Functional Threshold Power to activate the body’s different energy systems for the optimal amount of time to deliver performance gains.

Indoor classes  enable you to work on form, technique and cadence; matching your objectives to a variety of sessions will allow you to get the most from them, optimising your fitness levels.

Knowing your FTP allows you to work out how much power you need to generate, for how long, to work out effectively. Simply take the short FTP class within the CicloZone app and the app will do the rest. 

Ride, record, rest, repeat

Keep a training diary to log and analyse your progress and don’t forget to build in rest or active recovery sessions to maximise results. CicloZone records your performance data so you can track progress ride-by-ride, whether you’re a subscriber or FreeRide member. Keep at it and it won’t be long until you’ve built a routine that fits naturally into your lifestyle, giving you a strong foundation for success. 

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