Endurance Program is based on different program levels. User's program level is defined by answering some questions regarding user's physical activity or by analyzing automatically user's training history in polarpersonaltrainer.com. Training history based definition can be done if user has enough training history from the last three months in polarpersonaltrainer.com.
General programs are compiled of 4 weeks long training modules. Training module in level 1 is the least demanding and the module in level 20 is the most demanding. Steps between 1-20 are linear, which means that user can improve his/her fitness step by step (for example from level 7 to level 8 etc.) Training modules and user's training activity are linked together so that training modules gets more challenging as user's training activity increases (also less challenging when user's training activity decreases), see figure below:
Figure 1. Endurance programs has 20 training modules. Each module is 4 weeks long.
ENDURANCE PROGRAM LEVELS FOR CYCLING
Beginner (levels 1-6):
The objective of the Beginner –level programs is to accustom your body to endurance training to enable you to do longer rides in the suitable intensity. The training volume is relatively low and the training sessions are basic and long rides. If you want to prepare for a cycling race in the future, you need to proceed to higher levels by following this program carefully.
Moderate (levels 7-12):
The objective of the Moderate –level programs is to accustom your body to higher levels of endurance training to enable you to do even longer rides. The aim is also to improve your cycling technique. By training according to guidelines, you will get fit enough to keep your heart rate under control and stable when cycling. Your legs will start to tolerate higher speeds and longer distances. The program consists of 3-5 training sessions per week including basic, long and interval rides. Compared to advanced levels, moderate levels do not include tempo rides that are aimed to develop resistance to fatigue at higher speeds.
Advanced (levels 13-20):
The objective of the Advanced –level program is to develop endurance and cycling performance close to your own maximum level. Training tips also include special sessions with high cadence (to optimize efficiency and technique) and low cadence (cycling -specific strength training with high charge and fairly low heart rate).The program consists of 5-6 training sessions per week including basic, long, interval, and tempo runs. This program requires personal care and awareness to ensure optimal recovery, sleep and nutrition. Also, a personal coach or an experienced cyclist could point out your individual strengths and weaknesses, which could be helpful in fine-tuning the program.
EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS FOR CYCLING
Long Ride All our cycling programs include one weekly long ride. The target of a long ride is to build basic endurance by cycling a long distance. The intensity target is always zone 2. Cycling in zone 2 builds endurance by developing fat oxidation capability.
Basic Ride A basic ride is the most typical endurance training session. The duration of the basic ride is normally around one hour. One phase of the basic ride is always done in zone 3. Before the phase in zone 3 starts, the higher program levels also include cycling in zone 2.
Easy Ride In levels 4-20, some of the short and normal duration sessions are done in zone 2 only; these sessions are called easy ride sessions. There are several reasons to keep the sessions easy: good cyclists can ride relatively fast even having low heart rates – they can effectively build up total training load, keep weekly mileage at a high level and develop fat oxidation during training, while they can still ensure recovery and readiness for the upcoming high intensity sessions. Sparing muscle glycogen and keeping pedalling forces at a low level ensures recovery.
Interval Ride Interval rides develop speed, aerobic and anaerobic capacity, and resistance to fatigue at very high speeds. Keeping short recovery periods between the sprints allows more training at high speeds. The sprint periods are recommended to be done in zones 4 and 5, and the recovery periods in zone 3. Zone 3 is usually low enough to remove lactate, but note that you should also use the low end of zone 3 during the recovery periods. In particular, if your target is to develop maximal speed for short endurance distances, it can be beneficial to lower your heart rate even to zone 2.
Tempo Ride Tempo rides develop aerobic capacity and resistance to fatigue. The tempo parts are recommended to be ridden in zone 4 in order to build resistance to fatigue at typical racing speed and to improve performance in the lactate threshold.