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Customise Your Cycling Training Plan for Optimal Results

Cycling Training Plan, racing up a hill with mates.

Customise Your Cycling Training Plan for Optimal Results


Cycling is a sport that combines endurance, strength, and strategy. To excel, a cyclist must have a training plan tailored to their individual needs, goals, and lifestyle. In this blog, we’ll explore how to customise your cycling program for optimal results. Coach McKinney has over 15 years experience building training programs for all levels of athletes, and understands what it takes to build one for optimal results.

Understanding the Basics of Cycling Training

The Importance of a Personalised Approach

A one-size-fits-all plan is unlikely to yield the best results for every cyclist. Factors such as fitness level, experience, and specific cycling goals should influence your training regimen. A personalised approach ensures that you’re working within your capabilities while still challenging yourself to improve. If you are working off a stand along plan without any guidance it is very hard to know when you maybe need to push on or ease off. Arguably a more experienced rider could work with a training plan as they would know their body so much more than that of a beginner.

Key Components of a Training Plan

  • Endurance Training: Building a strong aerobic base is crucial for cyclists. This involves rides at the Z1/Z2 intensity and can be completed over any duration with great results. You don’t need to be doing 5hrs to get the benefits.
  • Intensity Training: Including intervals and high-intensity sessions helps improve speed and power. We can use this at certain times of the year or season, depending on the riders goals and the specific nature of their events.
  • Strength Training: Off-the-bike exercises “can” enhance muscular strength and overall cycling performance.
  • Recovery: Adequate rest and recovery are essential to prevent overtraining and allow the body to adapt to the training load. A metric that is hard to figure out on your own, so with guidance you can know when enough is enough or you need that extra day.

Detailed Analysis of Training

Utilising Technology and Data

Advanced devices such as cycling power meters, GPS trackers, HRV and heart rate monitors can provide valuable data to inform your training. Understanding how to capture accurate readings and interpret the data is key to adjusting your training plan for better performance. We use Training Peaks and WKO5 to really go into all the detail when needed, which can be a bit overwhelming for a beginner or someone with very little time. This is one of the benefits of working with a coach, or having email contact as part training program.

It is too much for the scope of this article to go into details around data analysis but we talk about it over in our community network. Get in touch to learn more! I personally love data, but it has to be used along with athlete feedback which I find can be more accurate at times in terms of performance. We need listen to the data along with the body to ensure that we make the best decisions moving forward.

Training Schedules and Nutrition

A well-structured training schedule should be complemented by a nutrition plan that supports your energy needs and recovery. Balancing macronutrients and staying hydrated are fundamental to sustaining the demands of training. We have other posts that go into much more detail on this topic so I would recommend that you check them out. For now I would recommend that upon starting any form of training that you evaluate where you are at with your nutrition. My go to is My Fitness Pal for all my athletes, its super simple to use and we can gain some really good insights from this app. I recommend using it for approx. 2 weeks to get a good hold on what is going in and out when connected to Training Peaks. Then again, when you are coming close to a peak event, around 4-6 weeks out to make sure that you are at the correct weight and/or in a positive energy balance.

Practical Tips for Customising Your Plan

Assessing Your Current Fitness Level

Before customising your plan, assess your current fitness level. This could involve tests such as a time trial, functional threshold power (FTP) test, or a VO2 max test. You could also use a ramp test and calculators to see how you are progressing. Every coach and athlete has the test that they prefer to do over the others, personally at coachmckinney.com we use 6min and 20min aerobic tests on one day and then sprints with 1min and 2min on the anaerobic day. This gives us pretty much all the data needed to see if the plan you are on is helping you progress in the right direction.

Setting Realistic Goals

Incorporating Variety and Flexibility

Common Questions/FAQs

Q: How often should I change my training plan?
A: Your training plan should evolve as you progress. Typically, plans are adjusted every 4-6 weeks to incorporate new goals and challenges.

Q: Can I still improve if I have limited time to train?
A: Yes, with a focused and efficient training plan, you can make significant improvements even with limited time. Quality over quantity is key.

Q: Should I include cross-training in my plan?
A: Cross-training can be beneficial for overall fitness and injury prevention. Activities such as swimming or running can complement your cycling training.


Customising your cycling training plan is a dynamic process that requires ongoing assessment and adjustment. By understanding the principles of training, utilising data, and setting realistic goals, you can create a program that maximises your potential and leads to optimal cycling performance. Remember to listen to your body, incorporate rest, and enjoy the journey of improving as a cyclist.

Ready to take your cycling to the next level? Start by evaluating your current fitness and setting specific goals. Then, customise your training plan to match your unique needs and watch as you achieve new personal bests. If you want help in the process then reach out, we have an offer on the Dynamic Training Plan for another 2 Days. 6 weeks free when you buy a 12 week program. See details here.

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