Perfecting the balance

Training Oct 01, 2021

I’m certain we’ve all dreamt about giving up all our responsibilities and riding off into the hills. A dream of living a simple life with no alarm clocks, no school runs, and no arguments with our partner around who gets to spend the one free hour this Saturday doing something they love.

In time, the dream passes and we realise that we wouldn’t last without being able to afford periodic new bikes, the one and only reason to earn a living by working, and at some point, we would grow lonely and accept that our partner was right to demand that hour. Plus, I’m fairly certain we would even start to miss the kids, eventually.

Now fully grounded in the realisation that this fantasy of endless cycling training could never truly exist, how is it possible to ensure we get the best from our precious training time?

Your training availability

Before we get started with identifying what the training itself will be, it’s wise to start by identifying exactly how much training time we have. To do this we can complete a simple lifestyle audit. Consider this as basic housekeeping and it might actually provide some perspective on how you spend your general day life.

Much like tracking food intake, it usually takes a step back to actually see how far wide of our reality we actually are. Again, like food tracking, it isn’t something that should take too much time or be needed more than on the odd occasion, so presents a worthwhile return when done.

Start by simply listing out certain activities that you cannot avoid doing at a certain time during the day. This might begin with your sleep, your work, the school run, date night, and anything else that might end in catastrophe if you were to miss.

Your inflexible commitments might include:

  • Sleep
  • Work
  • Commuting to and from school
  • School runs
  • Family time
  • Date night
  • Social events
  • Bicycle rides (such as club rides and chain gangs)

Then make a list of all the activities and commitments that you have that could potentially be moved. Of course, some of the above might fit in here too. You might have to work between 10am and 4pm, but you might also be able to convince your boss to let you come in early or leave late, for example.

Your flexible commitments might include:

  • The time at which you go to bed or wake up
  • The time you go to or leave work
  • Family time
  • Date night
  • Bike training
  • Socialising
  • Checking social media
  • Housework

Now grab a piece of paper or, better yet, a week view calendar, plus a pencil and a pen. Write in all the commitments that cannot be moved, followed by pencilling the ones that might be moved. Eventually, your calendar is going to start looking quite full, but I’m willing to bet that you are starting to see where you might be able to move a flexible commitment to squeeze an extra thirty minutes, or more, on the bike.

Once done, you have the absolute maximum cycling training time you have per week and you’re now in a position to look in more detail at what training methodology you might follow.

Biggest bang for your buck

There are various methodologies that one might use when prescribing a cyclist's training. All of these will have various benefits to certain groups of people. It can take years to become an expert on which methodology will work in which situation, but to summarise one of the key factors in determining which is best, we will just look at ensuring you get the most from your time.

To demonstrate, consider conducting a traditional base period of low intensity hours on the bike. While this might have some worth and merit for a cyclist with many hours per week, the modern amatuer cyclist who has far less will not see much, if any, value from spending this time at lower intensity.

A polarised approach to training, where you would spend your training time at either high or low intensity, might be a better option if you have limited training time. Focusing on something other than just base training, might mean the returns are significantly higher. Of course, there will be other factors that are considered, but from a balancing training around other commitments, getting the biggest bang for your buck is the most valuable use of your time.

Why Pillar?

Pillar’s not going to organise your day, go to work for you, or pick your kids up from school. What Pillar can do is ensure that, for the training time you have available, you are doing the absolute best training possible; ensuring you are maximizing every opportunity in the pursuit of your goals.

Pillar removes all the guesswork, the hours of researching and deliberating, the procrastinating and the time lost in thought. With Pillar in your pocket, you are pretty much just free to do the one thing that will progress you the fastest towards your goals, the thing that you love, riding your bike.

Download the Pillar app today and let us provide you with the most optimal training plan for the availability you have. Click on the download links below to take your performance to the next level.

Find us on the play and app store today:

Pillar - Apps on Google Play
Welcome to Pillar! We’re a small UK-based team (full of real athletes) who are developing an app dedicated to all areas of cycling training. Whatever pains you can think of related to your training, we want to solve them. Pillar is still at an early stage. The first feature we’ve built is an adap…
‎Pillar
Welcome to Pillar! We’re a small UK-based team (full of real athletes) who are developing an app dedicated to all areas of cycling training. Whatever pains you can think of related to your training, we want to solve them. Pillar is still at an early stage. The first feature we’ve built is an adap…

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Pav Bryan

Performance director at Spokes Fit, BikesEtc magazine's "cycling guru" and published author.