Who is it suitable for?
The 12-week Improvers’ plan is suitable for a variety of cyclists with the common end goal of completing a 100 kilometre (60-mile) sportive or ride. To start the plan, you should be capable of riding for 90 minutes. If you have already followed our Sofa to 50 kilometres plan, this is the perfect progression. It is also ideal for cyclists who ride regularly but haven’t followed a structured training plan before or who are returning to the sport after a bit of a lay-off. If you are currently fit and active, doing at least three 60-minute bouts of exercise a week, but not necessarily a cyclist, this is also the plan for you.
How much training is involved?
The training weeks are typically broken down into three rides, two mid-week and one at the weekend. There is also an optional bonus session that gives you the opportunity to do some cross training. The volume of training is between 3-6.5 hours per week and, with flexible days included, it can easily be adjusted to fit the plan around your life.
Is it all cycling?
No, some cross training workouts, although optional, should be part of your training. Don’t worry if you can’t manage dedicated sessions, even doing regular flexibility work or using a foam roller daily at home will benefit your riding. Cross training helps to prevent boredom, provides options if you are unable to ride and builds all-round injury preventing robustness.
What equipment do I need?
Most importantly, you will need a reliable and roadworthy bike. If it is a mountain bike or hybrid, you should consider fitting slick tyres to make riding on the road more efficient. However, for following the training plan, a dedicated road bike would be best. Don’t forget to include accessories, such as a helmet, shoes and the essential spares and tools you should carry when riding, in your budget. If you have already got a bike but it has been sat unloved in the shed for a while, book it into your local bike shop for a check over and service.
All sessions in the plan specify heart rate zones and target cadences so, you will need a cycling computer/heart rate monitor that displays this information.
The midweek sessions give you the option to use an indoor trainer. This isn’t just to keep you sheltered from the British winter but it provides a highly effective, controllable and time efficient way to train. Don’t forget if you are a member of a gym or health club already, you could use a spinning or exercise bike.
You can substitute one of the midweek sessions for a spinning class but don’t make the mistake of doing the majority of your training indoors. You will miss out on developing essential bike handling skills which you will only learn by riding outside.
How will the plan be delivered?
An overview of the entire 12-week plan is available to allow you to see how it progresses and the commitment that you are making. The detailed weekly blocks, on easy to view and print single page documents, are also available and include links to the specific sessions and workouts.
What other support will there be?
With each 4-week block, there will be a supporting introduction that will contain links to the workouts and articles relevant to that training block.
You should take the time to watch our Ridesmart videos. These cover a range of topics including riding techniques, group skills, etiquette and kit.
You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries you may have regarding the plan and your training.