If you have signed up for a fondo this year, you will want to follow a training program. The purpose of having a program is to ensure that your training progresses slowly, but consistently enough to allow your body time to adapt to the training stress and grow stronger with each rest period. If your training plan is ride whenever you feel like it for as long and as hard as you can, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
There are many different ways to go about getting a training plan and all of them have various benefits attached to them. All of them will get you to your goal of completing a fondo but one may work better for your lifestyle than the others. Or you may find that a combination of them works best.
Personal Cycling Coach Hiring a personal coach to structure a detailed program is the perfect choice for someone who has specific goals and would like to optimize every hour of training. As the athlete, you can leave all of the thinking to the coach and simply ride. It is their job to analyze your heart rate and power zones, continually changing and adapting your program as you progress.
Cycling Club If lack of motivation is a key factor to the success of your training program, joining a club might motivate you more than someone emailing you to get out the door. Riding with a club also has the added advantage of teaching you how to ride in a group and you will find that you naturally push yourself to work harder when surrounded by other riders.
Online Training Program If time is a major roadblock to training, you might want to look for a more flexible option such as an online training program. Granfondo Canada has online training programs for each of their events so you plan your rides for whenever they work for you. These plans incorporate rest times and cross training suggestions.
Whatever method you choose; personal coach, club or online, any choice is better than no choice at all.
Once you have made your choice as to which type of training or program you are going to follow you can optimize your success by following these 5 simple rules.
- Don’t do more training than what is in the program. You can’t ride hard every time you go out. If you still have energy left over at the end of the ride or the end of the week it probably means that you didn’t push yourself hard enough in the intensity sessions or maybe is just means that being in pain wasn’t the intention of the workout. Instead of doing more distance or more training, enjoy the rest and push yourself to work harder the next week.
- Don’t skip rest weeks. This is your chance to recover and adapt to the training stress from the previous weeks. If you skip these rest periods you are simply beating your body up by training more. Eventually you will stop seeing any gains and will burn out or get injured. Remember the motto, “It is better to race under-trained and with energy than to race over-trained and tired.”
- Trust, listen and follow your coach or program. There is no sense in choosing a program or a coach if you don’t follow them, however, there is a lot of science and expertise so trust it.
- Log your training. By creating a log you can monitor your progress. If you are improving you will be motivated and have the confidence to continue. If you aren’t improving you can go back and decide what you should change going forward. You can use this log to develop your own personal training program or give it to your coach to assess and make changes for the next season.
- Be consistent. You can’t get fast in one week, month or even a year. It takes several years to build a strong cycling base so enjoy the journey.
Kristina Bangma is the head coach and owner of Kits Energy Training Inc. Email questions to Kristina@kitsenergy.com.