If you are a fairly casual cyclist the idea of a training plan is probably not at the forefront of your mind. However, if you wish to test your body out further and take part in a race, or you’re interested in endurance cycling, then you won’t simply be able to hop onto your bike and get right into it.
In many cases, you will need to have a decent plan in place to get your body where it needs to be before you try something new. Here we take a look at cycling training plans and the benefits they can bring.
So What Are The Benefits?
The main benefit of taking part in any cycling training plan is that the plan itself is geared towards an eventual aim. If you want to build the muscle needed to increase your speed, a good plan can show you how. Conversely, if it’s stamina that you’re after, a plan will be able to provide the structure you need to build that endurance. These two training plans would look very different!
It’s that structure which helps more than anything else. Rather than just going out for a ride, a good plan will target the core areas that you need to improve to achieve whatever goal you are aiming for.
Do Online Training Plans Work?
In short, yes they do! Any training plan is better than no plan at all. As long as you understand the terminology being used and can use some common sense to adjust the plan as necessary, you should be able to make use of an online cycling plan to increase fitness and strength.
If you are new to the world of cycling, it may be a good idea to consult a cycling coach to help you cut through the jargon and get the most from a plan. If you are not interested in getting a coach or don’t feel you would like to pay that much, group rides are a fabulous source of knowledge. There are so many people in a group rides that have had a coach in the past, or have gone through training plans. You can learn something from everyone. The more you talk about cycling with others the more you will learn.
Training Plans vs Coaches?
While a cycling training plan is going to be able to help you improve in whatever aspect you want to improve, using a trainer is likely going to be able to help you achieve the results you want much faster. A coach will be able to create a plan that is tailored to you, in addition to helping you if you start to struggle. As such, they can place focus on the areas that need attention, rather than creating an overall plan that doesn’t take your current fitness levels into account.
A cycling coach will be able to tell you something in 5 minutes that on your own may take you months to learn, if at all. If you hire a good coach then you will trust what he/she will have to say, do it and see the benefits and learn from that experience. There are so many things to learn as a beginner cyclist: proper nutrition, hydration, effort, rest and so many other topics. You try and be a sponge and soak up as much as you can when your coach speaks as they are a wealth of knowledge. Obtaining a cycling coach is like a jump start on your cycling goals.
A training plan is a good start, but how do you even know that that specific plan is right for you?
Do I Need A Plan?
If you simply use your bike for the occasional commute, or to head out for a ride on the weekends, the odds are that you aren’t going to need a cycling training plan as you are simply using the bike to get around or for leisure purposes.
However, if you have designs to get into competitive cycling, be it a short race or endurance, a good training plan will help you to prepare your body for the trials that it is going to be facing.