Crowie is the King. He could write this entire blog with both hands and legs tied behind his back. He’s competed and won races that we only read about in cyclingnews. Here’s a glimpse of his very own training strategy that’s worked for him and other elite athletes over the years. The thing that I love about it is that he’s adapted it to make it realistic for guys like myself to achieve who have a job and real life commitments.
There’s lots involved with creating a periodized training program that’s right for you. It depends on your strengths, weaknesses and what your goals are. The key is to work on different fitness elements in phases throughout the season. Each fitness element has different types of workouts that help build on that area. For example, the strength phase requires some big gear, low cadence work on steady gradual climbs. The speed phase requires some shorter, steady, and more intense intervals after your strength work has been done. Power requires things like bursts of speed up short hills and then recovering. When you put it all together your form will be well rounded and you will be flying. This progression towards a focus is the single most important aspect of periodization. I know we all want to be fit 100% of the time, but the reality is that you’ll probably be operating at 70-80% on your best days if you just ride day after day doing the same old stuff. You can either be at your best for a month in the season, or mediocre for the whole year.
Here’s a sneak view of my own current program for summer racing build-up with a mixture of different intensities by color code. This is a high level view of the progression towards peak fitness.
Light Blue = Endurance intensity
Green = Strength work
Yellow = Speed/cadence training
Orange = Power training
Red = Competition Focus
There also is a nice spread of the colors throughout the week as you can see in the sample program below. However, the correct emphasis should be on one particular aspect most of the time throughout training periods. This example shows the strength phase of the training plan. The reality is you can only really contribute properly twice per week into the STRENGTH development phase (or whatever aspect you’re working on). You can see from the color codes below that Tuesday is green (which is a pure strength workout) and Thursday is torque (which is necessary to build strength). These two days in the week place the emphasis on building up STRENGTH and the rest of the days are getting the body ready for the next phases. There is not a perfect formula for the arrangements, because normal human timetables are so multifaceted, but there is a preferable order to things. First some GREEN (STRENTH), then some THRESHOLD ORANGE (TORQUE), then place YELLOW (SPEED) before RED (COMPETITION).
Let me reiterate that this is not a static weekly training program. To be done properly, this will change from month to month (possibly week to week) as your body adapts to some areas of fitness more quickly or slowly than others. After one area of fitness is trained, then you move up the pyramid to the next area.