Here, we'll try to help steer you toward your first training plan as well as help you figure out where to go once you've completed it and any subsequent training plans.
But before we get any further along this process, let's address our most frequent dilemma.
Traditional Base vs Sweet Spot Base
Most riders are going to be best served starting with our Sweet Spot Base Plans. These plans are an excellent introduction to power-based training and they work really well on a time-constrained training schedule.
If, however, you're at the very start of your training season, you have a few months to dedicate to base conditioning, and your target events are months away, read on!
New subscribers typically fall into one of 2 categories: New to TrainerRoad or New to Structured Training. Many riders even fall into both, but in any case their first question regards where to begin.
Regardless of which category riders fall into, you first have to consider your base fitness. Without a reasonable level of base conditioning under your belt, our recommendations become very limited for a number of reasons.
The first of which is safety, especially when it comes to riders who haven’t taken part in any sort of fitness routine for some time (or ever) who are wise to consider a health exam and physician’s sign-off before diving into any training plan.
Outside of safety, it’s just a matter of common sense.
You can’t put the cart before the horse unless you’re content with a high probability of injury because base conditioning not only preps your heart, lungs, muscles and mind for greater challenges, but it conditions the less sexy, structural components of your kinetic system – your joints, tendons, ligaments, etc.
Available Training Time
There's obviously a question of how much time can you devote to training, and more specifically, how much time can you spend on the bike.
Some riders are simply that, bike riders, but many of our athletes are multisport athletes and only have so many available training hours each week which means their time on the bike is but one way that they’ll spend their limited training time.
Fitness Timing and Depth
Then comes the question of how fast you need your fitness, and relatedly, how deep do you want your fitness to be?
The body is tremendously adaptable and can yield big changes in fitness in relatively short training durations, but fitness gained quickly is what is sometimes referred to as “brittle fitness” because it breaks down comparatively quickly.
Athletes with more time, i.e. several months, can cultivate a much wider base which will later allow them to their build high-level fitness on something far more robust than a couple months of crash-like conditioning.
But both types of fitness have their place and it's likely that you've been a practitioner of each.
Finally, the questions become a little more tailored to specific goals and perhaps goal events.
For example, many riders want to be generally fast, some want to be faster time trialists, still others want to be faster at their very own rolling-course district time trial.
Riders who are familiar with TrainerRoad and structured training often skip straight to these more specific questions.