Do you have big dreams and aspirations for cycling? The best way to conquer your cycling goals is to have an organized training plan. Although some bikers rely on professional coaches to create plans for them, you don’t necessarily have to do this to be successful. Instead, you can easily create your own indoor cycling training plan! To help you get started here is our convenient five-step process.
1. Assess your current physical condition and available time.
If you’re building a structured cycling training plan, all you need is a notebook, calendar, or your smartphone to get started.
First, you’ll need to take stock of the weekly time you have available to dedicate to your training. Since you probably have other commitments like work, family events, and other hobbies, you’ll have to determine precisely how much time you can dedicate to cycling and what that might look like weekly. Consider any upcoming trips, events, or commitments that may take time away from your training.
For example, if you have a family gathering every Tuesday night and work during the earlier hours of the day, you can plan for Tuesdays to be one of your rest days. Likewise, if you have a couple of free hours every Saturday morning, you might want to block off that time for your training.
Next, honestly evaluate your current physical condition and abilities. This is an important step that will help you set realistic and achievable goals, so don’t skip it! Fortunately, you don’t need to conduct an in-depth analysis or anything. Just think about your overall targets (losing weight, improving cardiovascular health, increasing speed or endurance, etc.) and start there.
For instance, let’s say you want to improve your cycling speed. Try biking a set number of miles as quickly as possible and record your time. This simple test will give you a baseline for your starting performance level. Later on, you can complete the same test and compare the results to see how you’ve improved.
2. How do I set goals for my cycling plan?
As we mentioned above, you probably already have general targets in mind. Otherwise, you wouldn’t want to create a cycling training program for yourself. However, if you haven’t already, it’s helpful to develop a clear hierarchy of specific goals. Research studies support the idea that doing this will keep you motivated and make it easier to schedule weekly workouts to achieve your long-term cycling goals.1
If you’re unsure what your goals are, ask yourself why you’re training. Do you want to compete in an upcoming event? Are you trying to lose weight? Did you make a bet with a friend? Whatever it is, find your “why” and write it down.
Have more than one goal? That’s fine too! Just prioritize your goals and consider that when you work through the next step. You can prioritize by labeling each goal #1, #2, #3, and so on, or with A, B, C, etc.
3. How do I organize my cycling plan?
Next, create a consistent weekly training schedule for yourself, depending on your availability. Aim to train in sets of three to four-week blocks followed by a recovery week. This ensures gradual, consistent progress with minimal risk of injury.
To get started, plan out your first training block. It should include your first three weeks of training with a recovery week built in at the end. Each week should be a mixture of high-intensity rides, endurance rides, and rest, but the frequency at which you schedule those will depend on your goals and is entirely up to you.
Cross-training should also be a part of your routine. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), specific cross-training exercises like lunge jumps, step-ups, and Romanian deadlifts can help cyclists develop full-body strength for better overall physical performance.2
Overall, the great thing about creating your own training plan is that you have the flexibility to do what you want and change things up as often as you need to! Try not to overcomplicate it and keep things simple. Here’s an example of a weekly cycling training plan for reference:
- Monday: Hill training
- Tuesday: Rest day
- Wednesday: HIIT interval cycling
- Thursday: Cross-training (weights, running, yoga, swimming, etc.)
- Friday: Long ride
- Saturday: Rest day
- Sunday: HIIT interval cycling
Keep in mind that it’s best not to repeat the same workouts over and over. Not only will you get bored, but your body will adjust to the challenge, and you may not see progress as quickly as you’d like. Use Vingo to add new and fun rides to your weekly routine and create a list of 15 to 20 go-to rides you can refer to when you create your schedule. That way, your training will stay fresh, fun, and challenging!
Everyone’s training plan will look different. The most important thing is to make sure it’s realistic, so you’re more likely to stick with it.
4. How do I track my progress and modify it?
As you train, make sure to track your progress. This step is crucial because it will inform your decision-making as you design your training blocks. The type of stats you track will vary depending on your goals, but ideally, you’ll monitor things like:
- How many miles you cycle
- How long it takes you to cycle a certain distance
- Your heart rate
- The intensity of your rides
- Your general takeaways from each cycling session (Was it extremely difficult, easy, or moderately challenging?)
After your first three weeks of training, you can repeat your initial test to see how you’ve improved and where you still need work. Then, you can create your second training block with those details in mind. Repeat this process until you reach your goals!
How to track indoor cycling
You can track your indoor cycling workouts, ride with friends, and adjust the difficulty of your selected routes, all through the Vingo app. With Vingo, it’s easy to monitor your progress and work toward your goals because the app tracks your ride stats. At the end of each ride, you can view details like how many miles you cycled, how long it took you to complete the ride, your speed, heart rate, calories burned, cadence, and power.
5. Where do I go for help?
Organizing your weekly training sessions can be a challenge, especially if you have a full-time job, a family, or other commitments. Planning is the best way to accomplish your goals, but you might need a little help. And that’s perfectly okay!
There are plenty of benefits of recruiting help. Sometimes, it’s hard to be critical and objective while creating a cycling training plan, so an outside opinion can be advantageous. Plus, following through with your training requires a lot of discipline. Having someone to check in with can help you stay accountable.
Whether you decide to hire a cycling coach or partner up with a fellow cyclist and Vingo user, getting outside help is an important step that will help you improve, prevent injuries, and conquer your goals.
Check out the 8 most common mistakes cyclists can make and how to avoid them. If you’re a cyclist, then these tips will help keep your ride safe!
Key takeaways:The five key pillars to creating your cycling training plan are understanding your baseline performance, setting goals, getting organized, tracking your progress, and seeking outside help. Once you do these things, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your cycling goals!
- Höchli, B., Brügger, A., & Messner, C. (2018). How Focusing on Superordinate Goals Motivates Broad, Long-Term Goal Pursuit: A Theoretical Perspective. Frontiers in Psychology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01879
- National Academy of Sports Medicine. (n.d.-b). Strength Exercises for Cyclists: Cycling Workout Plan. https://blog.nasm.org/cycling-workout