Follow our road racers' cycling training plan to sharpen your racing edge

Here's how to get ready for a season of road racing - we've partnered up with Alzheimer's Research UK to bring you in-depth training plans for your cycling goals

Image shows a rider who is following cycling training plan to get ready for road racing
(Image credit: Future)

This plan is for: Anyone getting started in racing who wants to reach a peak fitness for targeted road events of 30-90km. 

This plan will: Develop your road racing ability and build on your current base fitness. The priority is to develop your race pace intensities and work on specific areas of performance which are crucial come race day. If you are looking to start racing, this plan will help sharpen your racing edge. Alternatively, if your fitness has stagnated or you have not seen progress in the past months/seasons, then this plan will help you step up a level and hit new peaks.

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Perceived exertionEffort level
0Nothing at all
0.5Extremely easy
1Very easy
2Easy
3Moderate
4Somewhat hard
5Hard
6Getting harder...
7Very hard
8Starting to hurt
9Arrgggh...
10Extremely hard
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ZoneNameAverage power (% FTP)Average HR
(% FTP HR)
Perceived exertionDescription
1Active Recovery<55%<68%<2"Easy spinning" or "light pedal pressure", i.e. very low level exercise, too low to induce significant physiological adaptations. Minimal sensation of leg effort. Relaxed breathing.
2Endurance56-75%69-83%3-4"All day" pace, or classic long slow distance (LSD) training. Sensation of leg effort/fatigue generally low. Breathing is a little heavier than in Zone 1.
3Tempo76-90%84-94%5-6More frequent/greater sensation of leg effort/fatigue than at Zone 2. Requires concentration to maintain. Breathing deeper and more rhythmic than in Zone 2. Breathing too hard to chat.
Sweet-spotSweetspot84-97%88-100%6-7Between high Zone 3 and low Zone 4. For riders who aren’t using a power meter, I’d call sweetspot “medium hard”. It’s just below your 25-mile TT race pace, but harder than a traditional tempo workout.
4Lactate Threshold91-105%95-105%(may not be achieved in first few efforts)7-8Similar to TT race effort. Relentless feeling of leg effort/fatigue. Breathing too hard to say more than the odd word or two. Mentally very taxing to maintain.
5VO2 Max106-120%>106%(may not be achieved in first few efforts)8-9The maximum effort you can sustain for three to eight minutes. Intended to increase VO2max. Severe leg effort/fatigue. 'Ragged' breathing; unable to speak.NB: Average heart rate less useful as a metric, as HR will be rising throughout the interval.
6Anaerobic CapacityN/AN/A10Ultra-high-intensity intervals of 10-30 seconds, designed to increase anaerobic capacity. Flat-out; no holding back. Heart rate of limited use.

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