Power curve

Training in cycling: periodisation and load control

An intelligently structured bike training is characterized not only by well-planned load phases, but above all by the fact that sufficient time is provided for regeneration. Such a cycle of loading and unloading is called periodization of training. This periodization occurs in cycling, as well as other sports, at different levels, often referred to as macro-, meso-, and micro-cycles.

The macrocycle is the entire period over which the training is to take place, i.e. the “season”. How long it lasts, when it starts, when it ends and when and where the highlights or the one peak are, is determined by each athlete. When determining this period, one should start with the goal, i.e. the climax or climaxes, if several main competitions are planned. It is important to note that two climaxes should either be within a period of ten to 14 days or else at least ten, but preferably twelve or more weeks apart. This temporal delimitation is very important, because not only training-wise, but also psychologically a certain “tension arch” must be built up. Since this arc of tension naturally ends with the climax, it is logically followed by a relaxation phase. If the time between two highlights is too short, this will either lead to neglecting the break or to running out of preparation time, especially if unforeseen events such as injury or illness interrupt the planned training.

Next, set intermediate goals. A full training regimen in cycling, focused on just one or two big goals, can get pretty darn long. Intermediate goals can be used to complete certain preparatory phases, and at the same time they can serve as a means of determining where one stands. This creates a new, smaller arc of tension that covers a more manageable period of time. There is also a small recovery phase after the intermediate goal. Of course, there should still be a sub-distribution; this again creates smaller pieces of the big picture that are more manageable and therefore easier to execute.
This cyclization begins as described above with a view to the totality of the bike training and ends in the detailed work of giving each training day a meaning and thus a clear training goal. Just cycling anyone can do, but without a goal and purpose little comes of it.

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