5 Training Principles to Live By

5 Training Principles to Live By

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These 5 principles can help you make important decisions regarding things like when to stop intervals when to ride in a bunch and other important decisions that need to be made during training. Having something to fall back makes training consistent and can put your mind at ease.


5 Training Principles to Live By


I sat down to write this week’s episode and it something occurred to me that I want to share with you. I want you to know that I do not consider myself to be a cycling ‘expert’. I just have an over the top obsession with being thorough about riding bikes and being fit. I also love beer but that’s another story, but anyway, I want to say that I’m glad you’re coming along with me on this ride as we discover more about the sport we love.


I want to produce the best cycling content available so you can make more informed decisions about your own cycling. So let’s make a deal if anytime time you think I’m not doing this, let me know. Voice your opinion because I am making this podcast for you, and it affects me deeply if you are not getting the most out our sport and yourself.


I was going to do an episode on cornerstone workouts that I will be using in my upcoming training, and most likely you could use as well. It occurred to me though that this is not useful for anybody. Training is such an individual pursuit that giving you some workouts without knowing what you’re training for, your abilities etc is not going to help you be a better cyclist. So I have decided to take a step back and go through 5 Training Principles to shape your thinking about training.


1. Testing


  • ATP and for tracking changes in your fitness.
  • Set Training Levels


Start of the Season
Functional Threshold Power – Average the highest watts possible for a substantial period of time
Create of Power Profile of your own strengths and weaknesses
Fatigue profile to hone in on specific strengths and weaknesses

  • Level 5: Anaerobic Capacity
  • Level 6: Neuromuscular Power
  • Level 7: V02max


Every 4 or 6 Weeks

  • Make all aspects consistent, warm-up, wind etc
  • Similar place in training block
  • Preferably after a “rest week” T1 5km TT 159-161 Record Time and gear


T2 8km TT Record Time and gear

2. Know When Enough is Enough


Optimal Intervals and when to stop interval training for the day based on your last interval.


This idea is more about doing the:


“least amount of the most specific training that brings continual training”-Joe Friel, The Cyclist’s Training Bible.


My original notion of this concept is knowing when you are having a bad day and knowing when to stop any efforts. For me, many things can contribute this, but having guidelines about when to stop is just as handy as when to smash out a few more. I’m a bit of a sensitive beast when it comes to having to be in the right frame of mind to get the best from myself. So knocking out a couple of quick wins will really help boost my fitness. Same goes when pulling the plug. Feeling secure in knowing that there I have left nothing on the bike for any given day will keep my spirits higher than normally would be. I don’t know about you but finishing intervals prematurely always leave a bad taste in my mouth.


Their guidelines work like this (Measured as compared to the 3rd interval in the session):


20min – 3-5% drop in power
10min – 4-6%
5min – 5-7%
3min – 8-9%
2min – 10-12%
1min – 10-12%
30sec – 12-15%


3. Don’t ‘Stack’ Workouts


You cannot cram your training for a race by shoving missed workouts into your weekend rides.


If you miss a day, then it’s generally better to move on then try and make it up. One caveat though, if it’s a very specific workout and you won’t be doing it for another 2 weeks, then find time to do it ASAP.


4. Maintain Flexibility in Your Training Plan


You get sick, your partner gets sick, your best friend is getting married. These things and more don’t get in the way of training, they are part of life, and should be accounted for somewhere in your framework. They WILL happen and without strictly planning for them, knowing what to do when they pop up will mean getting the most from the situation. Knowing that something is coming up is easy to plan around, but unplanned events are a little different. You’re best to refer to Principle 3 in these cases and not try and stack your workouts.


Much like the workouts in your week, swapping Tuesday for Wednesday is okay. This shuffle can help with recovery before the weekend, so you are ‘fresh’ and can get the most out of your long rides on the weekends.


5. It’s Better to Ride Alone


Group rides are not going to give you the specific requirements to meet most prescribed workouts. Mainly due to not being able to control the majority of elements within the ride itself. Such as the pace and length. You will also have conflicting agendas if you are in a smaller group.


Another element that is often overlooked is the emotional control of the situation. For example, if you are on a recovery ride, are you really going to be able to not chase the pseudo attack or sprint?


This is not to say you can’t get a good ride in with your mates or local bunch. Just as riding on a trainer may be the most efficient way to train doesn’t mean it’s sustainable or fun doing for every ride you do. So mixing it up every now and then will keep you sane.


Tech, Hacks & Products Section


Strava – 3D Segment Profile with colour coded gradients




Photo Credit: thelearningcurvedotca



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Build fitness on a realistic schedule with this time-saving planner.

Get your free copy of The Weekly Workout Stack™

Build fitness on a realistic schedule with The Weekly Workout Stack™

Get your free copy of this time-saving planner.
Download Now
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