Irelands finest battling in the Nat Champs

Irelands finest battling in the Nat Champs

Updated 26 February 2018

As I head into my 45th year coaching cyclists and other athletes I am contemplating some of the things that never change if you wish to be a very good cyclist or athlete.


I suppose I better put some context on the level of my 45 years of coaching Irish male and female Cyclists .

During that Time I have coached riders who won

3 Ras Tailteanns
25+ stages in An Ras
7 Ras Mumhans
couple of Junior Tours
Stage Placings in the Giro D’italia
Stage tour of Langkawi
Many places in international road races
Multiple National championships medals on road and track

And many more. results outside and inside Ireland !

What works

Here’s my experience of what works if you want to be a great or even good cyclist

Training hours and performance

This is the minimum amount of hours required weekly to be successful .

    • Sportive cyclists 4 to 6 hrs with a good level of general fitness
    • Junior 16-18years old endurance cyclist   Club level 6 to 8 hrs – national level 8 to 11 hours International level 10 to 16 hrs
  • Senior 18 years plus
    • Club level 5-8 hrs
    • National level open races 9-13
    •  International Stage Races/ Ironman sometimes 20+ hours
    • professional cyclist / Ironman (competitive) 20 -35 hrs

Mental Fitness

  • Be prepared to lead a sporting lifestyle. Good rest nutrition and sleep is essential.
  • Be a racer
  • Take personal responsibility for your performances.
  • Win lose or draw, learn to deliver a great performance and be happy with it.
  • Be tough and able to channel aggression
  • Be smart, don’t make unnecessary enemies in the bunch.
  • Be fair
  • Be smart enough to get a good coach and work WITH them

Related. Sports Psychology


Good appetite from cycling

Good appetite from cycling

If you are going to drive a car from Dublin to Belfast you fill it with petrol. Have the same approach with cycling training and racing.

  • Learn how to eat correctly for performance
  • Beware of the magic diets
  • Get nutritional advice from expert qualified people.
  • A fit, slightly heavy but healthy and happy cyclist will usually outperform someone who is undernourished.

Related:  Fuel and Perform

Bikes- Equipment- Clothing

_d2c3151-editedThere’s great equipment and clothing available now compared to not so many years ago.

  • A good set of wheels and tyres that get you to the finish.
  • Correct frame size and bike set up/ fit
  • Get to know a great mechanic in your local bike shop


There’s some fantastic technology available now. Garmins – Heart rate monitors – power meters – analytical software. If used well there are lots of possible benefits to be had.

However there is none of them that can match the technology that lies between your ears. So you need to use your brain to learn how to use the technology correctly.

Perceived exertion is still really important in regard to learning how to pace efforts. There is a danger with all the feedback from the computers that this ability could be lost.

Progression to being a professional cyclist

It’s very difficult to forecast who will go on to be a professional cyclist. However there are some traits that you see with the successful riders Experience tells me that


  • Future top cyclists should be able to combine studies and cycling successfully.
  • They should be self sufficient
  • Should understand and accept that if you want to be a great cyclist it will take hard work dedication
  • The discipline required to be a good cyclist should not feel like a sacrifice
  • They should be doing the sport for themselves and not to please a parent/s or coach.
  • Most important of all, that they enjoy the sport.


  • Should be able to win some good races in Ireland on limited training time.
  • The good ones adapt to higher levels of competition very quickly.

Have a great new season

Paddy Doran Level 3 High Performance cycling coach and Tutor at

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