Why Structured Training?

Basically there are 3 ways to train.

1) After the end of the racing season you take a short break, then you start riding the bike and gradually increase the mileage and effort as the weather improves and race yourself fit. 

The problem with this method is that you will never reach your true potential due to the body constantly being stressed.  There is also a good chance of overtraining or burn out.  How many clubmates do you know who get to a certain point in the season and then declare that they have had enough?

2)  The riders who don't bother to take a break at the end of the season but continue to train just as hard all year round.  You know the type of rider, he races up every hill, sprints for every road sign or wants to wind the pace up to 25 mph + on the Sunday Club Run in October and November.  Again there is a good chance that this rider will disappear half way through the season, thats if he races at all!

3)  The third way to train is Periodization.  This type of training was developed in the 1960's by Dr Tudor O. Bompa.  "The process of structuring training into periods".  This is how the professionals and top elite cyclists will train.  After a full racing season they will take roughly from 2 - 6 weeks break.  This does not necesarily have to be completely away from the bike, it could and usually does involve some form of "cross training".  They will then sit down with their coach, decide on their goals and targets for the following season and then plan their season aiming to peak for their specific targets and goals.  This is how "YOU" will train with coach4bike.co.uk

The Principles of Periodization Training.

Individualization:  Each one of us is an individual and as such we respond differently to training and recover at different rates.  Just copying how another rider trains does not mean you will both reach the same level of fitness at a given time.  The training plan needs to be tailored for you.

Progression:  The amount of training done must be gradually increased and also include rest and recovery periods.  This will allow the body to adapt and avoid overtraining or injury.  Again the increases need to be tailored to the individual but are usually increments of 5% - 15% per phase.

Overload:  This happens during training.  By steadily increasing the training load, the body is stressed causing fatigue, (this helps the body to cope better with the phyisological and psychological stresses experienced during racing).  This will be followed by recovery and then eventually a greater level of fitness known as overcompensation.  Rest is vitally important otherwise instead of improving, fitness will be lost due to a state of overtraining.

Specificity:  The type of training and levels you train at must be similar to the types of stresses encountered in racing.  The adaptation brought on by training will be specific to the type of training done.