Recently, a former athlete reached out as he had gotten back into his riding routine. He had lost weight, was gaining endurance, but after several months, he had hit a plateau in his performance and fitness goals. Over the years, I have worked with many athletes that have had similar stories. It can take time and patience to see gains, but, if you think your routine could use a little change to break that plateau, read on!
Step 1: Mix up your week with a mix of efforts: intervals, endurance, and recovery.
To get the most out of your interval training, wear a heart rate monitor and/or use a power meter. Do a field test to determine your training zones. If you aren’t quite ready for that, I recommend using the terrain to help you with your intervals. Find a steady climb (or false flat) that is 8-10minutes long. Ride up the climb at a moderate effort. Take 5 minutes between efforts to spin easy or use the downhill to recover.
For short anaerobic efforts, find a steep hill and do 2 sets of 4×30 second sprints. Use the downhill to recover. If you don’t have hills, use the flats and focus on getting your cadence up high (110rpms+).
Step 2: Incorporate recovery into your week.
Rest days are important so that adaptations from the training can occur. Grab that foam roller, do some TWY stretches, roll out those quads, glutes and hammies. My other favorite stretch is the hamstring stretch with a band. Make sure you are getting good sleep too!
Step 3: Set endurance goals to help you build your mileage.
If you are just starting out, gradually increase your longest ride each week. If your longest ride is 2 hours, shoot for 2.5hours. 3 hours, bump to 3.5.
Step 4: Incorporate cross training each week.
My favorites are hiking, running, and rowing. If it weren’t a Covid year, I would also add in swimming. I have a longtime athlete in New England that loves his rowing machine in the winter. I personally have been incorporating more rowing into my routine as well. With many facilities being shut down due to Covid, there are many options for working out from home. At Killer Coach we individualize our approach so your training is custom to what’s available to you.
Step 5: Having a focused strength training routine will help you make big gains.
Some of the biggest breakthroughs I have seen over the 10+ years I’ve been coaching has come from strength training in the off season with continued core and strength throughout the year. This is where you can take your climbing, speed, and skill to another level. I have seen athletes break through their struggles to lose weight, gain confidence, and improve their bike handling skills.