Please help me find a cycling specific training plan.
August 18, 2008 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Please help me find a cycling specific training plan.

I am currently gathering information on training plans. There are two sites I am looking at specifically: and Cyclo-CLUB. Unfortunately, I haven't found any useful reviews of either site's products. Does anyone have any experience with either site's plans?

I'm also open to any suggestions: books, coaches, other sites, and so forth. What I am looking for specifically are training plans that include strength and core training specifically for cyclists. I am already following an on the bike training plan, so any additional cycling workouts would be useful, but not necessarily critical.

One last word, since it's bound to come up, Joe Friel's Cyclist's Training Bible is an excellent resource that I already own. As useful as it is, it does not contain a training plan. Instead, it contains the tools to build your own training plan. Though I am a dedicated and a motivated athlete, I have found am much more likely to succeed if I have a clearly defined plan than if I am left to choose my own adventure. I tend to over train and not get enough variety or sport specific training if left to my own devices. As such I am looking for a ready to use training plan.

Thank you for your help.
posted by sequential to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Three questions -
● What type of cycling are you planning to do - road bikes, velodrome racing, mountain bikes, century rides?
● What is the focus of your bike time - endurance work, climbs, sprints?
● How much time to you have available to cross-train - 1 workout per week, 20 minutes per day?

Those questions are key to helping you find the right resources.
posted by 26.2 at 10:57 PM on August 18, 2008

A few of my friends who I know through racing use Cycle-Smart and rave about it. I make up my own training plans, so I haven't used them myself. They're fairly race-oriented, so you might not want to spend the money if you're training for centuries or touring.

Two nice things about them: they have a bunch of free articles available on their website, so you can kind of get a sense of their philosophy. Even if you don't choose their coaching services, you might find those articles useful. Also, you can buy a one-off training plan for not all that much money, see how you like it, and then switch to their monthly coaching plans if you do like it. (Click on the 'coaching' link on their site and you can see what they offer/prices/etc.)
posted by dseaton at 3:10 AM on August 19, 2008

Response by poster: What type of cycling: road cycling

What is my focus: reducing my century time from 5 hours 48 minutes as a personal best to comfortably below 5 hours

How much time do I have available: keeping periodization in mind, I am happy to continue to spend two or more hours a day in the gym and on the bike, plus long days.
posted by sequential at 4:41 AM on August 19, 2008

Check out Aside from tracking workouts and nutrition and getting detailed charts/graphs/reports on various things, you can purchase and import training plans into their system.

Joe Friel has some plans for sale there. I purchased a Hal Higdon plan and imported it into my TrainingPeaks calendar, and aside from seeing what my weekly volume will be week over week, I can get e-mail reminders the night before detailing the next day's plan.

If you ride with a power meter, heart rate monitor, or GPS device, TrainingPeaks has a small program you can install to let your device send data to the site. It's a lot easier for me to plug in my Forerunner and upload everything with a couple of clicks than it is to tab through dozens of fields entering values for distance, time, etc.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:22 AM on August 19, 2008

I believe USA cycling offers a regional list of certified coaches on their website. Might be worth a look. I could also recommend a great certified coach i've used who can either come up with a tailored one time plan or provide ongoing coaching services. PM me if interested and I'll get you contact info.
posted by csimpkins at 10:51 AM on August 19, 2008

Response by poster: Just wanted to make a quick note based on my very limited experience with Training Peaks. The site is overwhelming. There are a plethora of sport specific training plans. I am having trouble evaluating which plan would work best for me at the moment and it's not clear how I'm going to go about doing this. The training plans here are more expensive than the same plans at Active Trainer. (Some of the same plan authors offer the same plans on both sites.) It's not clear what the benefit is.

The site in general has a reasonably steep learning curve. The set up is time consuming, but appears to be very useful. There is a beta version of the site which is much simpler to use, but not all features and data are available in the beta.

If you're familiar with Friel's work as a triathlete or cyclist, the site makes a lot of sense after getting over the learning curve. You have to develop an ATP first. An ATP includes having at least one A event for the year. I have not imported a training plan yet, but there are also free weekly plans that can be imported with ease. These plans are based on your limiters. The one problem with these plans is that the workout details are, well, sometimes light on details. Doing "3-4 sets of AA" isn't all that useful unless you have Friel's books. Even then, it's a bit of a guessing game as to which of the exercises are right.

There is a plethora of on bike exercises, many of which translate easily to indoor riding. In fact, many of them are only viable on a track or on a trainer. Variety is a good thing. It's not clear that there is such a variety in the strength, flexibility, or core portions of the plans offered.

I'll write more when I have more time, but for those of you who have expressed interest in this thread through favorites, I recommend checking the site out.
posted by sequential at 11:50 AM on August 19, 2008

Agreed that TP can seem overwhelming at first, especially the nutrition logger. I've only played with their beta version (they're in the process of upgrading the whole site to a more "2.0" look and feel), and it does seem easier to use, but I've been using TP for about a year now, so maybe I'm just used to it.

I'm familiar with Friel's method, and I used his method to develop a training plan to train for a tri. Muscular endurance was my limiter, but I don't think I added enough of those workouts in my build phase.

TP is a little more expensive than some sites, but it's less expensive than online coaching, and much less expensive than personal coaching. There's nothing to stop you from purchasing a plan from Active Trainer and manually importing the workouts into TP. At the end of the day, TP is really just a huge tracking and scheduling tool that can tell you what workouts you have coming up, what workouts you've completed, the same for nutrition, and then there's the reporting aspect. It works well for me, but if I could afford 1:1 coaching that is where I'd spend my money. I have a friend who's paying for coaching right now and it's by far the wisest investment of your dollars if you want to go faster.

If you have specific questions about TP they have an online forum.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 2:51 PM on August 19, 2008

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