Are we overcomplicating training? We cut through the conflicting advice in search of a simple solution

There are myriad theories about how best to structure your training. But do any of them really work better than simply riding your bike lots?

Male cyclist riding on a false flat climb
(Image credit: Future)

Has training ever been proven to work? It’s a very simple question with a very complex answer. We all know that riding your bike gets you fitter, but is it that simple? How much does the specific combination of sessions, intensities, recovery and periodization really matter?  

“There are no secrets,” declares Peter Leo, cycling physiologist for the Australia national cycling team, “but you do have to train to what will be expected in the race you’re preparing for. It’s really important to understand the race demands; if you don’t understand them, you cannot be targeted in your training." Training to the demands of your event is one of the most simple, and fundamental cornerstones in the coaching world. But beyond this core principle, it often seems that wherever you look, you find conflicting opinions about how exactly to train. There’s a joke in applied sports science that for every study you find supporting a theory, there are two disproving it. 

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1