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Training Sessions to Enjoy and Endure: Endurance Training for Track Cyclists

by Cycling Performance Physiologist & Coach Michael Jordan 

Did you listen to the Webinar about training for Endurance Track Cycling? Was it useful? Was it what you wanted or needed to hear?
  If not, do tell me!

I described how I break down events, and the word ‘lysis’ means breakdown, so to analyse something you have to look at its component parts.

For a sprint endurance event like the kilo or a more aerobic endurance event like the Individual Pursuit my approach is pretty-well the same. If you look at the body shape of Shane Perkins and Anna Meares versus Jack Bobridge and Annette Edmondson that may surprise you.

Let me explain:

To remind you of the basics of the physiology:

The first energy system you use at the commencement of an activity is the ATP-CP system. This is without air, or anaerobic, and takes you up to the first 6 to 10 seconds.

The next is anaerobic glycolysis which will be the dominant energy source for the next 20 to 120 seconds. Yes, that is a massive range.

Have a look at the really simple graph that helps show how the contribution these two, both anaerobic, systems make decreases the longer the activity. I looked on Google images to give me the simplest graph to accurately tell the story. This is it!

The aerobic contribution of a kilo may well never be more than 50% of all the energy needed, so still an anaerobically dominant event, but, if you time is 90 seconds then a massive amount more of your energy need is aerobic than if you cross the line in 70seconds. So you’ll need to work on your aerobic system. Then you’ll get better and faster as a result. Then less of the event is aerobic as you’ll finish sooner!

I split up sessions as per the energy systems. Train the system and place a well firing machine (you!) in to an event rather than let the tradition of the event dictate your training.

When I do individual coaching plans which may well appeal to you, I look at what you enjoy, your everyday time constraints, where you are in your training journey (have you just begun?), what you want to achieve and all the big-picture, real-life things that us amateurs must always balance.

I work out with you which of these areas we most need to concentrate on. That way we can create a plan so that in 5 hours a week you can achieve infinitely more than a friend who gets up at 4 a.m and does one weekly 5-hour ride on a Sunday morning.

And so here is the split:

0-10 seconds, ATP-CP.

This is where you get from a stationary start to, well, 10 seconds down the track, however far that may be.

10-30 seconds

Is predominantly the anaerobic glycolysis system and is what will get you get up to full race pace.

30 seconds plus.

This is where the aerobic system takes on a greater percentage of the work with every passing second. Even for a predominantly anaerobic event – have another look at that graph – if your opponent doesn’t have a good aerobic base then you are in the pole position. Your ‘opponent’ may not be another rider but may well be your 2016 personal best!

I described sessions on the Webinar which you can do for each of these 3 systems for each event. I thought it would be useful if you could see these sessions written out.

I mentioned before the different body shapes of the power athletes like Anna and the endurance rider like Annette. As they have different body types, muscle fibre size and composition they will (as a generalised rule) benefit from different kinds of sessions.

And here are the session ideas which go with it. You, personally, might not do weight training, or have an ergo/wind trainer. There are always many ways to approach your training.


Do you have any questions, or would you like some help with your training? 

Feel free to leave us a comment in the box below!

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