5 Steps for Developing An Indoor Cycling Training Plan
Indoor cycling is a fantastic sport and being on the spin bike is a great environment to regularly be in. We all have goals and we don’t want to waste our time so we need to make the most of every second that we spend on the indoor bike. Many of us get a training program from a cycling coach or they create their own plan to suit their goals and needs. If you are planning on improving your riding indoors or riding outdoors it’s vital to have structured cycling workouts.
Where do we start when it comes to creating our own training program? Is it going to suit the goals you have? Do you have enough time to train to make it worthwhile. In this article, we’re going to run through five steps that will help you create a great indoor cycling program for yourself, that will suit your needs and help you towards your goals.
Step One: Choose a Goal For Cycling Indoors
The first step to getting your indoor cycling training plan is to think about what you eventually want to achieve out of it. Do you want to use a spin bike to lose weight? Do you want to become a stronger cyclist? Have your got an outdoor race or ride that you might be training for? The first step is to make yourself a goal to work towards.
Having a goal, in my opinion, is vital to anyone with a training plan. Indoor cycling isn’t always easy and you can benefit so much from having something to work towards. I find when I’m tired and in a power session for me, the things that keep me going is knowing what I’m doing it for.
Step Two: Take Preparation For Cycling Exercise
Now we need to start getting together some fundamentals to help you create an indoor training plan. The fundamentals are vital to making sure that your training plan is going to be a success and that you are going to be able to stick to it.
When I’m making a program for myself the first thing I think about is time. When do I have the time to train currently in my life. I make a weekly planner and then I see where I can allocate time to get on the bike.
We also need to think about equipment. Do you have everything you need for the programs that you have planned? If you add strength and conditioning then do you have the resistance bands or weights you might require. If you planning on doing power workouts do you have a smart trainer that can track your power? Is your heart rate monitor working and are you ready to use it.
Although it might not seem like your first thought we also have to think about nutrition. If your goal is to lose weight you might want to think about adding a diet plan to this and counting calories. If you are planning on getting strong are you going to have everything you need to fuel those cycling workouts and will you have enough protein for the best recovery possible?
Step Three: Decide What Indoor Cycling Workouts
Now you know how much time you have free each week and you have everything prepared for your first week of training what do you plan to do in that first week? Obviously, we all have different goals we are training for and each has different time spare, so for each person, this is going to be very unique. The first thing to do is look at the time you have spare and start slotting different types of workouts into the slots. Here’s are the types of training I would recommend you consider.
Endurance training is training at a light level of effort for either a short or long amount of time. The misconception is all endurance rides need to be long, they don’t it’s about the pace you are at. The reason we keep it light is so our body can improve its aerobic fitness. When putting in an endurance session you are going to want to keep the pace around 70% of your maximal effort and keep that same intensity throughout. Endurance is about low intensity and consistent pace. If you are planning on joining endurance athletes on there training you will need to spend a lot of time here.
Interval and Power Sessions
Interval and power sessions are where you are going to be really digging into those legs and the effort you’re going to have to give in close to, or at your maximum heart rate. In these sessions you are going to have to get creative. For example, an interval session could be an hour of 5 minutes of what you would class a high perceived exertion, then you could give and then 5 minutes of light riding, then repeat 5 times. A power session could be 30 minutes of everything you have. These sessions will build our fitness at the higher end of our capacity.
Strength and Mobility Sessions
Then you have your strength and mobility sessions. These are going to be off the bike and will hugely benefit you overall fitness and your cycling. I believe it’s important in any program to spend at least one session a week doing things off the bike. It’s essential to make sure you train all muscle groups not just the ones for cycling.
Rest days are often overlooked but they are vital to making sure your fitness can get to it’s best. Training indoors is a heavy load on the body and doing day after day of training sessions doesn’t give us adequate rest time to recover and let the body rebuild stronger.
Step Four: Plan Your Cycling Workout Week
I believe when you come to making an indoor cycling structured training plan you are going to want to be doing a little bit of everything to make sure you train each energy system in your body but the majority aimed at your goal. For example, if I wanted to be a stronger cyclist and my goal was short range power of 20 minutes or less my week might look like this.
- Monday: Interval Session
- Tuesday: Endurance Session
- Wednesday: Power Session
- Thursday: Rest Day
- Friday: Power Session
- Saturday: Strength and Mobility
- Sunday: Rest Day
As you can see here I have done all the different types of session but mainly focused on the session that are most beneficial to my goal. If you we’re planning on building your endurance then your training plan would look like this.
- Monday: Endurance Session
- Tuesday: Endurance Session
- Wednesday: Rest Day
- Thursday: Strength and Mobility
- Friday: Power Session
- Saturday: Endurance Session
- Sunday: Rest Day
As you can see here I have done each kind of session but focused on the goal of being a better endurance cyclist over anything else.
Step Five: Test and Create Progression
Once you have your training plan ready and you are feeling motivated you now need to test. Testing is vital so you know where you are starting and you can track your progress. I recommend once every month to six weeks to test your fitness to make sure that you are making progress.
A test I highly recommend if you have a power function is an FTP (Functional threshold power) test, this will see your average power over 20 minutes. Typically is seen in most cycling training plans and will push you to your maximum intensity. Testing is an important part of your training calendar and long term fitness goals.
If you find you’re not making progress then you need to start thinking about how you can either adjust the workouts to challenge you more or question is the structure you made the right structure for you and your goals. It’s the same concept of if you were on a diet to lose weight that every so often you jump on the scales. The main thing you are looking for everytime you test is some form of progression.
When you are training on your indoor turbo trainer or spin bike it’s vital to make the most of your training time and do training that benefits your current fitness. This is why we have training plans and structured training. Making your own training plan does take time and you will find some things will work and others won’t.
Once you teach yourself how to make your own training plan you will be able to make yourself super fit.If you are unsure of anything or feel the plan isn’t benefiting you then we highly recommend that you seek a professional coach and ask their advice on how you can improve further and progress your fitness.