6 Week Peak for Your Next Cycling Race – Training Plan

By Jiri Kaloc

Long-time cyclists often quickly adapt to their training routine after the season starts. This could be a problem when trying to peak for a cycling race. If you want to get out of your routine and make the best use of the last 6 weeks before your race, this is the guide for you.

All of the elements of this 6-week plan will be useful throughout your whole season. So, feel free to stretch them out for longer or compress into 4 weeks if needed. The goal is to change your training routine so it stimulates your body to get better. We will introduce a new element each week to make it clear what to put your attention to.

The trap of zone 2 training

Cyclists have gotten a lot better at building a solid aerobic base. This is likely because zone 2 training became popular and also indoor training platforms like Zwift helped cyclists maintain their fitness in the off-season. Good aerobic base means more power at lactate threshold and the ability to sustain lactate threshold power longer. Coming into spring equipped like this gives cyclists a good starting point to build a great race form.

Unfortunately, this focus on zone 2 training and aerobic fitness comes at a price. Cyclists often lack event-specific training like high-speed sprinting, accelerating from low speeds, repeated high-power efforts with limited recovery and VO2 max work. That’s what we need to add in our 6-week peak plan to be in top race shape.

Cycling training
Working on the lactate threshold is especially important for cyclists focusing on shorter races where it is important to sustain high intensity for extended periods of time. © Profimedia

Create a plan

The first order of business is to create a plan for the remaining weeks before your race day. Every time you need a new training plan, go over the following three steps.

  • Identify the demands of the event you’re preparing for
  • Choose the kind of training that will help you be ready for those demands
  • Fit the training into a schedule you can realistically keep up with

Those 6 weeks are enough to make a difference that could have a meaningful impact on your performance on race day. But of course, if you’re able to start earlier, that’s a benefit.

The ideal scenario is having a coach that helps you tailor a plan to your needs. If you don’t have access to a coach, you can use a pre-made plan you find online. Just keep in mind 4 things we covered in a previous article when working with that kind of plan.

Another way to create a custom plan for you is to do it yourself. You will find a lot of help in our training plan guide which includes example training sessions for lactate threshold and VO2 max. In general, you should be aiming for this general split of different types of training.

  • Zone 2 sessions (aerobic base): Reduce these sessions to between 30-50% of your training time.
  • Lactate threshold sessions: These should be your main focus and you should dedicate between 25-35% of your training time.
  • VO2 max sessions: These are your priority as well and should make up between 15-25% of your training time.

Of course, you can’t forget about rest days and a proper taper when you get close to race day but those are topics for the rest of this series.