What is the most effective training for cycling events? In my opinion which is based of nearly fifty years of coaching and training racing cyclists and my own days of racing.. The Answer is whatever works to get you to your most important races in top class condition! .This means to be at your very best mentally and physically for your big events
Now your big event might be the national Track sprint championships 10 seconds of flat out speed and very tactical and quick reactions required. Or Kilometre TT, BMX or downhill MTB. all of these events require max Strength/ Power / Speed
This could be the national road race or Cyclox or MTB cross country championships. This will be endurance often with sprints and other short intensive efforts included during the events to make or cover breakaway attempts..The biggest demands for these events are aerobic endurance. With some ability to accelerate and cycle at higher speed for sections of the events.
Or lets go to the Ironman and to the great challenges of the Cycling Sportives, which range from 50 kms to 200 kms through the mountains. These are classed as endurance events which require the ability to keep going for a long time st a constant speed and generally don’t have the higher intensity efforts included like the first group of endurance events would have.
So what is the most effective training?
So to get back to the question. What is the most effective training? As you can see from the previous chapters its whatever training that will get you to your very best for your best discipline / event.
What about training for a bit of everything?
But I want to be an all rounder and race on the track and road! That;s fine if that’s what you want and its actually a great thing for a young cyclist to do for their development..That approach will give a young cyclist great bike handing and knowledge about different aspects of cycling and is strongly recommended.
Beware of mediocrity
However,In an older more mature cyclist, the bit of everything approach can lead to mediocrity. Instead of hitting big 100% peak performances its more likely that you will be operating at much less most of the time.So at a certain time if you are ambitious and want to make a mark or just achieve your very best potential you need to figure out the best route to go.
What type of cyclist are you?
You could very well have world class potential in the sprint or endurance events but be wasting time in another event. I believe that there have been Irish cyclists in Endurance events that could have been very good track sprint cyclists if they had focused completely on that and vice versa.
To see what type of cyclist that you might be check out my blog on the subject
When you decide
Usually the best time to move to specialization in a specific event is around 17 to 18 years of age. When you decide where your best potential lies, train for it!
Learn everything that you can about it and train according. Try to work with a good coach who understands the discipline/s.
Take a holistic Approach
Study your event, and look at every aspect of it. Study Periodisation of training- Training methods and sessions – Lifestyle – Nutrition – Recovery – Mental fitness.
If you get most of these right you could make big strides in the event that you choose.
Getting a coach
Getting a really good coach is probably the most effective thing that you can do. A good coach will help avoid the setbacks that occur when taking on a new discipline. They should also be able to to improve your performance and results.over time.
Where to find a coach
First of all look within your club. Is there a club coach. You might be lucky and have a great coach in your club who is willing to work with you.
Pay for coaching
Choose your coach very carefully if you (or parents) intend paying. There are a lot of people coaching cyclists and a lot of them might neither have the qualification nor experience to coach you correctly. Word of mouth is often a good way to find a coach, so ask around and you will find out who are good coaches.
What you should look for is a coach who consistently improves the cyclists that they work with. Its not really important whether the cyclists are world class or club cyclists. The important thing is that the majority of them make good improvements working with the coach and are happy how they are dealt with.
Enjoy your Cycling