How often do professional cyclists train

Effective road bike training: The secret tips from the professionals

Racing bike training: Of course, professional cyclists have a lot more time and significantly better resources available for their training than the average consumer. Nevertheless, we can also draw considerable benefit from the knowledge of the professionals if we take a closer look at the content of their training.

Racing bike: That's how fit the Tour de France participants are

The Tour de France winners, who sit in the saddle every day for 2-3 weeks, are among the fittest athletes on the planet. If you test the drivers, you will quickly find out that they have an incredibly high oxygen uptake capacity (VO2max) of 80–85 ml / kg-1 / min-1. (1)

Lots of moderate-intensity exercise

Following the record of 49,700 kilometers he set for training, the Czech driver Ondrej Sosenka spoke in an interview about his preparation of “a lot of training at medium intensity, supplemented by strength units. I have tried not to exceed my anaerobic threshold too often. "(2) How nice it would be to be able to observe your exact procedure ...

Road bike training: how far do you have to go to get better?

The training required for a professional who makes a living on two wheels, however, is no big secret in summary: It is as hellishly extensive! Approximately 20,000–40,000 km are driven each year. When we scour articles by scientists, few report the details of the professional athletes. Up-to-date data is mentioned here and there, but scientific knowledge about it rarely appears in black and white.

Most of the information about the cycling elite can be found in interviews, the websites of the teams and drivers, and hearsay from the professional environment. A little indication of the wattage that a rider generates uphill, or how many hours he sits in the saddle at a time. However, there is much less secrecy among the British time trial elite. Top drivers often reveal information about what they are doing, presumably because few have relied entirely on their own knowledge.

How do racing cyclists train?

For this reason, secrecy is not seen as closely. Athletes in other sports do not reveal their secrets to success, and anyway, why should they? Assuming that despite everything, it takes the right genetics and long, hard training to get to the top, why let your competitors know what you're up to? It is true that some information circulates when drivers change teams and independent trainers work with drivers from different countries and from different teams.

But, as an aspiring amateur, wouldn't it be nice if you got some inside knowledge? Tips from above can help amateurs improve to reach their personal genetic limit. However, we have to keep in mind that knowledge of professional training alone is not enough to automatically turn us amateurs into tour winners, hour record holders or top time trialists.

Unfortunately, we did not have the best genetic qualifications. The goal of every athlete is to maximize their genetic potential, i.e. to get 99.99% of what we have. So let's see what little golden chips the elite drivers and scientists trickle down on us to maximize our performance.

Road bike training: training plans and training principles

There is a famous quote about the best in a sport: "Winners do what losers are not prepared for." Rearrange the sentence a little and you get something to work with: "Do what the winners do, and you won't be a loser. ”The catch, however, is that you have to take on the whole package and believe in all aspects - you can't just pick what you want to believe in.

Road bike training: how do you train properly?

Despite the fact that amateur riders cannot invest nearly as much time in training as the professionals, the bottom line is that the proportions and principles of training must be strictly adhered to. The professionals probably drive 4-6 hours a day - most days of the week. In other words, they sit in the saddle 25-35 hours a week. The websites of the professional teams provide direct information (albeit unconfirmed) about the plans of the professionals. Matthias Kessler z. B. spoke in December 2005 on of the "constant 5 hours" that he would spend on the bike every day. (3)

However, the time available to you largely depends on your job. And since there is no shortcut to your best performance, you cannot simply bypass the time you need in the saddle and then jump into interval training 3 to 4 times a week. Read this sentence again: There are no quick answers, no secret abbreviations, no wondrous intensities that allow you to become a top driver with just a few hours of training.

Controlled basic training in racing cycling

The most serious difference in a duel between professionals and amateurs is the discipline. During their basic training, professional teams drive at a controlled level, which is checked after the session using heart rate analysis and performance measurement systems. The amateur, on the other hand, usually uses an emotional analysis of the training session, such as fatigue level or whether he was able to drive faster or slower than usual.

Sports scientists have developed a method to divide training into 3 “zones”, each with its own intensity and a different physiological training effect. Yes, there have been zones or percentages circulating among athletes in the past, such as the Karvonen method for determining heart rate or the RAMP test. However, these are often theoretical models and there is no actual evidence that professionals use these methods themselves.

The "Training Impulse" method (TRIMP)

The "Training Impulse" method (TRIMP) works by analyzing the heart rate (HR) of professionals to find out what works best and thus how amateurs should train. TRIMP Zones 1, 2 and 3 are calculated by pinpointing 2 markers of the heart and breathing while the driver is taking a RAMP test.

Zone 1 can be referred to as a low intensity zone, zone 2 as a medium intensity or “threshold zone”, and zone 3 as a “lactate accumulation zone” or high intensity zone. By connecting a driver to a mouthpiece and very expensive oxygen and carbon dioxide equipment, an analysis of the breathing is possible. Zones 1, 2 and 3 can be determined by evaluating the critical metabolic thresholds on the basis of these "input and output" respiration data. Obviously, this type of test cannot be easily performed at home by every amateur. Fortunately, analysis of different sports suggests similar points where the zones are. (4,5,6)

What is the best pulse for road bike training?

In particular, the evaluation of the data from Tour de France riders has shown that the upper limits of Zone 1 and Zone 2 are 79% and 89% of the maximum heart rate, respectively. (5) Even those riders who only walked 4,000 m (at> 60 km / h) on a track build an annual basis of 30,000 km and more, "mainly low intensity and long distances". (7)

The TRIMP analysis from the data of professional cyclists suggests that amateurs do more than 65% of their weekly training volume in zone 1. This means that the heart rate stays below 80% of your HRmax for over 70-80% of the weekly program. Interesting that this is exactly what some amateurs stick to during the winter months (ironically called "regeneration"), but that is exactly what the pros do all year round.

Even on the big tours like the Tour de France, more than 75% of the race is driven in zone 1. (5) One thing that one can observe again and again among amateur time trialists, triathletes, road racers, runners and duathletes is that the basic training is made too hard.

Interval training in road cycling: the right balance between stress and regeneration

Part 2 of the professional training puzzle is specific interval training. Keep the first principle in mind, which is to create a solid foundation and strike a balance between interval workouts and workouts in zone 1. This will keep the balance between exercise and recovery. Remember the above quota: “More than 65%” of the program will feel light, so you won't be spending more than 20-30% of the weekly amount doing interval training.

Interval units on the racing bike

The interval units might sound quite extensive at first, but many amateurs unknowingly incorporate additional anaerobic sections into their basic or endurance training (over 80% of HRmax). As a result, the total time spent on interval units is beyond the limit of 20-30%. For this reason, subjective comments and feelings are not a substitute for heart rate analysis (HR) after training.

The key to interval training is getting the right intensity for the right amount of time, and then resting accordingly. Carrying out a few beloved intervals is no guarantee that they will be of any benefit (e.g. "1 minute on - 1 minute off", where the driver first drives at full throttle for 60 seconds and then cycles gently for 60 seconds) .

Heart rate monitor in road bike training

This begs the question of how to define hard or light driving when no heart rate or power meter is used. Many athletes today have heart rate monitors and, increasingly, devices for measuring performance on their exercise bikes or racing bikes. This means that amateurs could control the intensity of their interval training either with a heart rate monitor or with the help of the power meter. You have to make sure that driving time, intensity and rest phase are in a balanced relationship.

Professional cyclist sessions are tough, but that's perfectly fine because the rest of your program has been easy. Interval training in racing bike training is a very effective form of training. It should therefore not be thrown in when time is short to “get fit quickly.” (8) However, it has the disadvantage that it weakens the immune system and gets you in shape too early can if you operate it too persistently during your actual build-up phase (around October to January).

Road bike training: How fit are you really?

How do you describe your fitness to another driver when he asks you about it? Often it is a completely subjective shot in the dark, based on your feelings or on how many drivers you overtook in the last group training session. Professional teams cannot afford to guess. You have to rely on bare numbers to determine who is in shape, if the workout is working out, and who is in need of recovery.

Data have shown that a submaximal RAMP test is a sensitive indicator of the training status in road bike training, which a top male athlete is in during a training or competition phase. (17) The status can be determined on one of the countless exercise bikes that the Measure performance. Voilà, here you have your own laboratory that will tell you how your progress is going. If you notice a slowdown in the heartbeat at the same output power, you will become fitter. Conversely, bad shape, illness or fatigue are revealed by an increased pulse rate for the same performance.

How do I measure my fitness on the road bike?

This is a “at home” clinical test that can predict performance so you know when you are getting in shape. As a warm-up session the day before the race, the RAMP test gives you an indication of how the race will go the next day. Of course, your head also plays an important role in your competition results, but the engine has to be properly oiled to maintain the chance of a personal best or a place on the podium.

None of the 3 lessons can be considered a quick fix. But taken together, they will build your form, monitor it, and bring you to the climax. Exactly when you want it. It's no surprise that top athletes get in shape just when their big race is coming up - it was planned that way.

Joe Beer

Road bike training: references

1. Journal of Applied Physiology, 2005, Vol. 98 (6), pp. 2191-2196
2. Pro Cycling Magazine, 2005, Issue 8
3., archive (accessed on December 5, 2005)
4. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercises, 2005, Vol. 37 (3), pp. 496-504
5. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercises, 2003, Vol. 35 (5), pp. 872-878
6. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports Online, October 2004
7. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercises, 2002, Vol. 34 (6), pp. 1029-1036
8. Journal of Applied Physiology, 2005, Vol. 98, pp. 1983-1984
9. Velo News Magazine, 1996, pp. 68-70
10. Australian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 1987, Vol. 19 (1), pp.10-14
11. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercises, 1999, Vol. 31 (5), pp. 736-741
12. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 1997, Vol 75, pp 298-304
13. Wright, Dr. G. (2004), Cycling Magazine Weekly, pp. 18-20
14. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 1996, Vol. 21 (3), pp. 197-208
15. Data from the Team Telekom coaching rubric, Jan. 2005
16. Road Cycling, An IOC Medical Commission Publication, 2000, Blackwell Science
17. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercises, 1993, Vol. 25 (9), pp. 1062-1069