We've a Training Plan for You

By Yafei Zhu, Ride Fit™ Customer Support and Tilda Loftin, Ride Fit™ Coaching Advisor and Co-Owner of Vital Effort Fitness

Like many of our recent blog articles, the idea for this post came from a customer inquiry. So, a big thanks to Ole from Denmark who asked, "I have just set-up my training bike and I'm considering purchasing your Beginners Combo Pack. I have downloaded the training guide but did not see any training schedules. Do your videos come with a training plan?"

If you've downloaded the latest version of the Ride Fit™ Training Guide (and we very much hope you have), you'll know we currently don't include any training plans. I explained to Ole that one reason for this was that the wide-ranging abilities of our individual customers make it almost impossible to offer a limited number of training plans that fit all needs. I pointed out, however, that one of the cool things about the Ride Fit™ series is that the rides are "calibrated", which is to say assuming you maintain the same gearing/resistance mappings from title to title then the workouts get progressively harder as you transition from Beginners, through Intermediate to Advanced. However, Ole's question set us thinking!

From the wording of Ole's e-mail, I got the feeling that perhaps he was not long into cycling and asked what his training goals were. I advised that, if he was relatively new to the sport and looking to build base conditioning then the Beginners Pack would be ideal. I suggested using the three Beginners rides spread out over a week and to initially ride this combination of workouts for four to six weeks. Then to build strength and endurance, add the Intermediate Combo Pack and now workout four times per week, including at least two Beginners rides for the next four weeks. Finally, for the last four weeks, drop one of the Beginners rides and add an additional Intermediate ride into the schedule.

It was not long before Ole replied that he was indeed relatively new to cycling, which he had started a year ago after his wife took up the sport. He went onto say that shortly after starting he'd suffered a knee injury probably caused by overtraining. Since then a heart-related issue had kept him off the bike until March but now he was ready to start training in earnest. He added our suggested three-month plan was just what he was looking for as he wanted to prepare for a cycling event next year to benefit the Danish Heart Illness Association.

Of course, you should never start any form of fitness training program without first consulting with your doctor and Ole said he was working closely with his physicians to make sure of the appropriate transition back into the sport. While his heart problem was not in anyway related to his first venture into cycling, it does clearly illustrate to us all the importance of this advice since underlying medical issues may be present and only your doctor can advise you relating to risk factors. Further, we see many times that perhaps a little too much enthusiasm at the beginning of a new exercise program can often lead to overtraining and possibly injury. Therefore, we strongly recommend establishing solid base conditioning before stepping up the effort level.

Also, as Ride Fit™ noted in a blog article, "Ditchling Beacon Hill - I Will Do This, Part 1" written for one of my favorite UK health and fitness blogs, Fitcetera, the inclusion of strength training is essential for cyclists. Not only does strength training build muscle mass that increases performance, it also reduces your risk of injury and helps prevent osteoporosis in later life. We recommend you do weight training 2 - 3 times a week for 20 - 30 minutes. Do 8 - 15 repetitions in 2 - 3 sets all year around. The main focus should be on your lower body and core but a few upper body exercises for general fitness can also be added. Our favorite strength exercises include:

Lower body exercises - Squats, lunges, heel raises, hip adduction/abduction;
Core exercises - Plank, side plank, crunches, back extensions, hip raises;
Upper body exercises - Seated row, lat pull-down, chest press, biceps/triceps.
Finally, we also strongly recommend the use of heart rate monitors during any form of cardio exercise. The Ride Fit™ Training Guide provides some basic information on these great training tools. For the purpose of base conditioning, you should be working at or below the top of heart rate Zone 3 - please see the training guide relating to the definition of this parameter.

So there you have it, a Ride Fit™ training plan targeted at those getting into cycling, whether indoors or out.

Tags: indoor cycling, spinning, spin, free training plan, beginners training plan, strength training with cardio.

Tilda Loftin
Tilda Loftin is a certified personal fitness trainer, certified massage therapist and co-owner of Vital Effort Fitness. She is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, USA Track & Field Level 1 Coach, is a spinning, core, water-aerobics and boot camp instructor, and specializes in triathlon/run coaching, personal fitness training, and pre/post natal training. Tilda is a four times ironman finisher, marathon finisher, Swedish Classic finisher (90k cross-country skiing, 300k cycling, 2 miles swim, 20 miles cross-country run) and qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.