Beginner Cycling Training Plan

Our beginner cycling training plan

The best way to begin anything new is with a solid plan, and cycling is no exception to this rule.

Whether your goals are to maximize your fitness with a regular activity or get ready for the next Gran Fondo, getting your basics right as a beginner can help you go a long way.

Cycling is a fun activity that you can learn quickly. But it is also considered a competitive sport that requires dedication and effort to master. To achieve the best results, you should follow a plan tailored to your level of expertise.

Here, we have put together a beginner cycling training plan to get your cycling journey started. Following it will help you become a cycling pro and even pedal your way to your next Fondo if you so wish. Read on.

How Often To Cycle As A Beginner?

Beginners Cycling Rute

For beginners, your basic goal should be to cycle two to three times a week, with each session lasting about an hour. This will help you get used to cycling consistently. It will also help you map out your neighborhood for the ideal routes you would prefer to take in the future.

When you push your limits, you can increase the frequency of your rides and continue riding for long hours. Professional cyclists can easily cycle for many days at a stretch without a proper rest day.

Mixing up your schedule with other activities like going to the gym, swimming or even yoga can show great results in your overall cycling progress. The key is knowing your capacity and setting your goals accordingly.

Remember to never compromise on rest. As your capacity for cycling increases, your need for rest may decline. But cutting your resting hours further slows your muscle recovery between rides, causing more harm than good.

What To Focus On?

A beginner cycling training plan aims to provide you with achievable goals and outline the right criteria to achieve them. You’ll need to work on technique, power, and endurance to maximize results. Using a heart-rate monitor can help you understand your riding intensity.

Improve Your Technique With Easy Rides

Improve Your Technique With Easy Rides

Your cycling technique involves understanding the basics of cycling to improve your overall efficiency. Improving your technique helps you learn more about your strengths and weaknesses and allows you to work on them. Maintaining good posture, especially at elevations, helps reduce the overall load on your body while cycling. 

Being able to turn without reducing your tempo too much reduces the time and energy it takes to complete a long ride. Learning to change your gears well is a game-changer when riding across different elevations.

Taking a long ride to practice shifting gears, front and back, is an excellent way to improve your instincts on when to change gears. Shifting gears at the right time dramatically impacts your overall tempo.

As cycling is an outdoor sport, keep in mind that you won’t experience the ideal weather on every ride. Practicing riding in different weather conditions can help you determine the most effective techniques for each of them.

Keep an eye on your heart-rate monitor and try to stay below 70% of maximum capacity at all times. This ensures you are not too tired and can cycle for longer distances.

As you cycle more frequently and for longer durations, you can apply more advanced techniques to boost your cycling skills.

Increase Your Endurance With Moderate-Duration Rides 

Your ability to cycle for longer durations will increase as you cycle regularly. While power and technique are important to ride more effectively, they are pointless if you cannot complete your ride.

Endurance is a key component of cycling; the best way to increase it is to keep cycling. Maintaining an average of 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate is a good goal.

Longer rides are the most effective way to build the endurance you need for the next long ride. At the same time, keep yourself fuelled with enough carbs to get through the ride and enough protein to recover from it.

Adding cardio exercises as part of your cross-training is also a good way to develop your endurance. Run longer, run harder.

Build More Power With Intense Rides

Beginner Cycling Training Plan 1

Uphill rides and intervals are two of the best ways to increase the overall power you can apply while cycling. As you get used to them, the effort it takes to achieve higher speeds and complete challenging climbs reduces greatly. This is especially helpful if you wish to try mountain biking.

Climbing refers to being able to ride uphill efficiently. Maintaining the proper posture and using the right gears can help you complete them faster. Powering through an uphill ride is a great way to challenge your limits. It also helps you grow accustomed to releasing bursts of energy when necessary.

Interval training refers to repeated, high-intensity, short rides. These sprints help you ride with the full power you need while cycling uphill or for long climbs. 

Pedaling extremely fast at a higher gear and alternating with easier spins for 20 minutes is an ideal interval training exercise. Complete three to five sets if you can, with five-minute gaps between them to rest. During interval training, maintain your average heart rate between 85% and 95% of maximum capacity.

Power-based training is best included in short rides, especially when you are a beginner cyclist. Exceeding your limits is a big no-no. Once you get used to applying the required force, you can begin mixing them up in your longer rides.

How Fast To Scale?

How Fast To Scale Rides?

Start small. Get your basics right before following a fixed schedule. Two to three hour-long rides a week is best for beginners. 

Follow this for a month to understand how much further you can push yourself before actually doing so. As you get used to cycling, you can introduce other activities into your schedule. This further strengthens and develops the muscles you use while cycling.

An eight-week plan divided into four parts of two weeks is ideal for a beginner looking to improve their cycling skills before a 50-mile Fondo.

Here is a plan you can follow for the best results:

Week 1 And 2

During the first part of your training, focus on building the strength you need to be able to complete your ride.

  • 2 short, easy rides (below 70% heart rate)
  • 1 long, moderate ride (70% to 85% heart rate)

Begin with a distance of 30 miles on your first week, and try to achieve at least 40 miles by the end.

Week 3 And 4

As you progress to the second part of your training, aim to increase the intensity of your rides. 

  • 1 long, moderate ride (70% to 85% heart rate)
  • 2 short, high-intensity rides (85% to 95% heart rate)

By the end of the session, try to reach 50 miles.

Week 5 And 6

Itensity rides after 5 to 6 weeks

Your goal is to increase the intensity so you can enjoy a long, comfortable ride.

  • 1 extremely high-intensity ride that is not too short nor too long (90% to 100% heart rate)
  • 1 short, high-intensity ride (85% to 95% heart rate)
  • 2 long, moderate rides (70% to 85% heart rate)

Try to achieve 60 to 65 miles by the end of the sixth week to get ready for the final 2 weeks.

Week 7 And 8

Increase the length of your rides in the seventh week while maintaining the intensity. Your ideal goal should be more than 70 miles. 

Take it a little easier in the eighth week. Add an extra rest day and reduce your weekly goal to 50 miles.

  • 1 extremely high-intensity ride that is neither too short nor too long (90% to 100% heart rate)
  • 1 short, high-intensity ride (85% to 95% heart rate)
  • 1 long, moderate ride (70% to 85% heart rate)

How Much Rest Do I Need?

Two days of complete rest is ideal to ensure your muscles have enough time to recover. While increasing the intensity of your activities helps improve results, reducing your recovery periods can negatively impact your progress.

Ensure you get a solid eight hours of sleep every single day. Cycling requires you to exert energy for extended periods. This strengthens your body to a great degree but also puts it under a great deal of strain.

Occasionally pushing yourself to your limits helps you train better. But frequently going beyond your limits stresses your body too much. This may cause more harm than good to your health and cycling progress. 

“Off Bike” Exercises To Consider

If you are serious about cycling, introducing a secondary exercise into your weekly schedule is a great idea. It helps maintain your activity levels throughout your week, develops your core muscles, and adds variety.

Here are some great cross-training options:

Swimming

Swimming activates several muscle groups that are used when cycling. It is also a high-cardio activity that helps you maintain your energy levels throughout the week. Try including a weekly swim in your schedule, especially if you enjoy it.

Jogging

Jogging as a alternative Cardio exercise

Jogging is an excellent yet easy cardio exercise that you can include as part of your training on the days you are not riding or resting.

Yoga

Yoga activates several muscle groups. Practicing yoga helps increase awareness of how your muscles function while increasing the strength of your core muscles in stationary positions.

Pilates

Pilates is not as strenuous as other forms of exercise. But it greatly helps in muscle conditioning and improving posture.

Gym

Hitting the gym is obviously not a bad idea for cyclists. It can help you push your muscles to your limits and strengthen them for use. Beware of fatigue and overdoing it, nonetheless.

What Kind Of Diet Should I Have?

Carbohydrates and Protein balance

A cyclist needs to ensure plenty of three nutrients in their diet, namely:

Carbohydrates

Cycling requires ridiculous amounts of energy. The smart way to go about this is to break your meals into smaller quantities and have them throughout the day. 

A five-meal day is best to ensure you maintain high energy levels.

Protein

Your muscles are bound to be sore once you make cycling a regular activity. Ensuring high amounts of protein—at least 1.1 to 1.5 grams per kilo of your weight—in your diet will help your body get enough of what it needs to heal those worn muscles.

Minerals

When cycling regularly, you will sweat a lot and lose electrolytes. Electrolyte solutions are a great way to recharge your body and replenish lost electrolytes and water content.

Considering the amount of stress your body will be going through, consuming leafy vegetables will give you the minerals and fiber your body needs.

Proper Hydration

Importance of regular hydration

Having about 500 ml of fluid every couple of hours is all you need to cover your hydration needs. For cyclists, though, this amount is critical. 

While cycling, it is a good idea to have a sports drink on hand to balance your electrolytes. If you think you are thirsty, you are already too late and probably dehydrated at this point. 

Best Bicycle Type For Beginner Cyclists 

There are many types of bicycles to choose from, and as a beginner, it is a good idea to know how effective they are in different settings. Your ideal beginner bike depends on many factors, like the terrain you will be riding on, riding intensity, and so on.

A hybrid bike is a good pick for a beginner who is serious about riding. It is perfect for your grocery runs and even a long ride when you are looking for it.

Conclusion

Cycling is not limited to a single part of your life. You can cycle for fun, cycle to get to work, incorporate it as a fitness activity, or participate in competitive sports. 

Our beginner cycling training plan will help you ease your way into a regular cycling routine.

If you found our article helpful, check out other interesting posts on biking.

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Last Updated on January 11, 2023 by Matthew Carpenter

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