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The Different Types of Cycling Training & Which Should you do When

25 May 2016 By: Renske Doedee 0 comments
The Different Types of Cycling Training & Which Should you do When

Bicycle racing demands a wide range of skills, from being able to ride at race pace for few hours and then finish with a sprint at full speed, to be able to climb long and short hills, or to accelerating several times per mile. Many other endurance sports do not require these extremes in physiological capabilities (e.g. marathoners don’t need a fast sprint). Because cycling requires such a wide range of skills, it is a challenge to develop a training plan that prepares you for all these aspects. Every form of cycling, if it is race cycling or another challenge, is a combination of strength, endurance, and level of intensity.


So to prepare yourself for your challenge, first race or riding your first 100km or whatever you have in mind. You need the training methods that address strength and endurance at different levels of intensity.

It’s all about that base, about that base, no trouble
Without your basic endurance level you will never be able to build op enough strength because you just won’t last long enough and without the strength you will not get enough speed to train on your sprints. So it all begins with long easy rides.

Picture yourself a training pyramid. If you don’t master the lower levels in the pyramid you can’t start training in the top. If you do, the change of getting sport injuries or overreaching is high.

Different types of cycling training Strongher Renske doedee Wielertrainer Grafiek           Different types of cycling training Strongher Renske doedee Wielertrainer Marit Huisman

Photo by Wall-art Photography & Events

Aerobic Endurance training (DI)
So what is good endurance training and what does Aerobic mean? Good endurance training is a long ride (2 – 5 hours) at a low intensity, so you can really easy talk to your cycling buddy. This is also exactly where Aerobic refers to, you have more than enough oxygen for your activity level. If you can’t talk real easy, you’re going too fast.
Furthermore your cadence (the speed of your pedaling) should be around 90-100 rpm. This again doesn’t mean you have to be riding fast, your gear should be set in a way that you can cycle at a low heart rate but with a high cadence. This means using your higher gears (small or middle cog at the front, middle cog at the back). 
These trainings are often referred to as DI training.
DI training is most important training, it’s the base of your training pyramid.

Different types of cycling training Strongher Renske doedee Wielertrainer

Strength endurance DII
Become faster and stronger in your lower heartrate zones. Sometimes you do this type of training while you don’t even notice it.
For example when you are riding in a bigger group, leading the group for a few kilometers will bring up your heartrate in DII zone. When you’re in the middle of the group, your heartrate drops again to DI. This way you do this strength endurance training without even noticing.So don’t always stay in middle of the group but also do some work in front of the bunch.  It will make you strongher.  ;)

VO2 MAX or extensive interval (DIII) training
With this type of training you build up your power in your endurance level, with this training you will build op your lung volume and heart volume, in other words, your VO2 max or the amount of oxygen you can uptake and use for your cycling becomes higher. Of course this is beneficial for your performance.
The training exists of long blocks from 8-15 min in the heartrate zone just below or on your anaerobic threshold or DIII zone.


  • 2 à 3 x 12 minutes, rest: 3 minutes Heartrate in DIII
  • 4 à 5 x 8 minuten, pauze: 2 minuten heartrate in DIII
  • You can also do short versions: 30 seconds: 10 à 15 repeats per training heartrate DIII
  • 2 minutes: 6 à 8 repeats per training heartrate DIII

Do 2 a 3 times a week, always take 1 or 2 days with DI training in between.

Strongher Different types of cycling training Renske Doedee Wielertrainer
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Sprints or intensive interval trainings
Stimulates your fast twitch muscle fibers and increases you maximum speed.
It also trains your muscles to rapidly remove or reuse the lactic acid that’s build up in the muscle.


  • Go maximal for 10-20 or 30 seconds. Full sprint!!!
  • Repeat 4-8 times with 1,5-2 min rest in between. Perfect to do this 1x a week during an DI training.

This can be a really fun with a cycling buddy, sprint against each other to the next road sign for instance!!   (Of course keep in mind the safety on the road.)

You may have noticed that your heartrate zones are quit important to determine what type of training you want to do. These heartrate zones can’t be calculated by standard formula you find on the internet because everyone’s heart, lung and muscle capacity is different.  
If you like to know your heartrate (training) zones and anaerobic threshold you should do an endurance test, by a sports physician or cycling trainer.
Take a look at our website if you would like to know more about training and how an endurance test works.

Have fun trying these training methods!

Keep riding, get #Strongher!

Renske Doedee
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About Renske Doedee

Renske van Rijswijk-Doedee is a molecular research technician, working in a lab with cells trying to find new medicine for all kinds of diseases. Her goal and dream is to convince girls that they cycle fast enough to go and try a race. And more amateur women races, more women participation in those races. Together with her husband she started their company: They perform endurance tests and give training advice or training schedules on the basis of these test. Provide sport nutrition advice and sport nutrition schemes.

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