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How I Train

In the old days

When I started cycling seriously and racing in 2009, I did no training. I could just naturally climb and race well.

I started racing in 2009 and quickly moved from E to B grade.

And then, disaster struck. I’d been drinking Bonsoy soy milk and got very ill (more about that here: The Bonsoy Debacle for those interested).

I lost all my fitness as I couldn’t race or train for 4 months.

When I returned, I was as weak as a new born baby, so I got a coach and started training.

Quite honestly, the training program I used to follow (the very same basis that the VeloNomad Cycling Training Program and Etape du Tour and Mountain Sportif Training Plan is based on) really, really worked.

I used to do 12 week blocks, rest for a week (rest meant running, easy riding and real rest) then get back into it.

In the space of two 12 week blocks, I went from getting dropped in D grade to really holding on to some fast guys and landing top 5s in B grade and eying off A grade (this is just club racing).

But, since I moved from Melbourne to the Byron Bay hinterland, long gone are the days when I used to train 6 days a week like a maniac – 40-60km of quality training every night after work and weekend racing.

In fact, my training and riding (no racing in 10 months) is now substantially less, but I still manage to stay in shape and knock off the occasional Strava KOMs. (With respect to Strava KOMs – well, you can read about why I think Strava is bad for training.)

I’m just so busy with part time work, running VeloNomad and Wherespresso, making ends meet, looking after our farm and enjoying life to spend hours training every day. Same as most people, I guess.

How I train now

Now that I’ve moved from such a cycling intense existence in Melbourne, where I could tack training on to my ride to work or home, I basically try and slip in some training whenever I can.

Here’s the thing though. My primary focus when riding these days, is on enjoying my ride.

I do live in an ultra hilly area, so it’s easy to get hill specific training in (but very difficult to get high cadence, constant effort sessions on flat terrain in).

Here’s how I go about fitting training/exercise in to a busy schedule (or should I say, how my busy schedule must accommodate my exercise).

  1. 1 long ride a week – this doesn’t always happen but when it does, it’s 130km-200km in the hills and will be 5-8 hours
  2. 2 50km rides a week before work – these typically include a hard ascent of a climb (chasing KOMs)
  3. Time permitting a 60-80km ride either flat or hard
  4. 2-3 8km runs a week at a fast clip
  5. Mountain bike on our property (lots of 30% little pitches) – read more about why I mountain bike
  6. I don’t use a power meter – heart rate and cadence only (Garmin Edge 500)

Read more about why I mountain bike and run.

The key thing with training

The key thing with training and riding, I think, is having a plan, particularly if you’re trying to lose weight or get ready for racing or Etape du Tour, or just get faster.

You can’t just go out and get better. Having a plan and structure really helps.

If you know someone who can help you achieve that, awesome. If not, you could check out the VeloNomad Training Plans.

  1. VeloNomad Cycling Training Program – weekly plans, based on a subscription model ($1 a day) – aimed at those wanting to lose weight, improve fitness or dial in their legs for Etape du Tour, Haute Route, Marmotte and other sportifs (from 9 months + out from the event).
  2. Etape du Tour and Mountain Sportif Training Plan – a 16 week program to get you into shape for Etape, Haute Route or any other sportif.

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A significant amount of time and effort goes into these reviews, all with the aim of helping you. As lots of readers say, I give way too much information away for nothing, and it really does take a lot of time and effort (but I do love doing it!).

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by Tim Marsh

Tim is an ex Melbournite now living near Byron Bay on 10 acres, happily growing mangos, avocados and lots of other stuff, with his wife Kate, son Arthur and adorable Golden Retriever, Whiskey (RIP our 1YO G/R Poppins :( ).

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