Train smart(er)

Training Sep 13, 2021

Train like a pro at the Tour of Britain, with the click of a button. With Pillar: the smart training app.

With the Tour of Britain over for another year, it's always intriguing to understand how the pros train to reach this pinnacle of cycling performance. To attain such a level and to stay there, coaches and cyclists are continuously searching and implementing the most optimal approach to their training.

While much of this information is hidden from the public eye, their training approaches are based upon fundamental scientific principles of human performance.

To achieve this level of superior cycling performance, elite cyclists training schedules are meticulously planned on a perfect balance of training stress and recovery. After analysing the event demands, training schedule, and the riders current physiology, coaches and sports scientists must consider the most optimal training approach for each riders individual needs.

With this in mind, and to achieve the greatest training stimuli, they must carefully manipulate the volume, intensity, distribution, recovery, and other factors (i.e. nutrition, psychology) of a training plan in order to produce the perfect plan. This process is referred to as smart training.

This approach shouldn't be limited to just the professionals. Implementing this approach to a training plan provides the best approach for all cyclists from all different levels of the sport, whatever their goals might be.

From simply becoming a faster cyclist to winning the Tour of Britain, structured and smart training is the optimal approach for everyone. This article will provide an overview of what smart training is and how it applies to you.

Smart training

Smart training refers to the process of implementing a science-backed training plan to achieve the greatest training stress and adaptations. Implementing this approach to your training will ensure the most effective structure to your plan that addresses your current strengths and weaknesses and provides a clear direction towards your goals and needs.

To achieve the greatest performance outcomes and to implement this approach, a training plan must target specific energy systems, and provide adequate time for the adaptations to occur. Additionally, it must constantly consider and re-evaluate the event demands, training, and the rider's physiology.

For every pedal stroke, energy is required. All energy that is produced to allow work to be done is produced from the breakdown of the molecule ATP.

The human body has three major energy systems that can produce ATP; ATP-PC system, Glycolytic system, and Oxidative system. Both the ATP-PC and the Glycolytic system are anaerobic pathways, meaning that they don't require oxygen to produce ATP. The Oxidative system is an aerobic pathway, it requires oxygen to produce ATP.

All three energy systems are engaged during cycling activity, but the extent to which each one is involved varies depending on the duration, intensity, and other demands of the activity. To train effectively, you must stress and train specific energy systems that are most relevant to your event demands and current strengths and weaknesses.

Through manipulating the training volume, intensity, and distribution you can target these specific energy systems. A smart training approach will ensure that you are always training the most optimal energy systems for your current strengths and weaknesses and event demands.

Alongside training these specific energy systems, smart training also ensures that whilst following a training plan, you are also allowing sufficient time to recover and adapt. If the latter is neglected, the cyclist will fail to adapt to the training stimuli and will risk the possibility of overtraining.

Planning adequate recovery is equally as important as planning the right training. However, despite this it is often overlooked by riders. A smart training plan will also allow the most optimal structure for each training session, training week, and training block so that the blunting of adaptive responses to training is minimised or avoided.

A smart approach also requires a continuous evaluation and analysis of the training plan. The training plan must evolve and progress in sync with the cyclist. As a result of all humans responding and adapting differently to different stimuli, to achieve the most optimal training adaptations, each plan is required to be specific to the physiology and responses of each cyclist.

Simply, a one size fits all approach is not effective when it comes to optimal training.

Over the coming weeks, we'll be detailing more information about each factor individually. Sign up to our newsletter to keep up to date will all our latest blog posts.


Why Pillar?

A smart training approach is not only applicable and effective for elite cyclists, if you are preparing for an event, getting faster, improving fitness, or targeting weight loss, you will see the biggest gains from training by implementing this approach. Furthermore, smart training allows you to get the most out of your training in a time-efficient way, great for individuals with career and family commitments who are likely to be limited to the time they can spend training.

Pillar provides you with a unique training plan based on your current fitness, training availability, and goals, which dynamically updates in real-time. Behind the app, Pillar has a team of elite coaches and world-class sports scientists who are continuously implementing the most cutting edge science into your training. Therefore, effectively Pillar is providing you with World Tour Team support that is accessible from an app.


In summary, to achieve the biggest bang for your buck from training, whatever your goal might be, following a smart training plan which incorporates your specific demands and availability will result in the greatest performance benefits.

Download the Pillar app today and let us provide you with the most optimal and individualised plan for your performance needs. Click on the download links below to start train like a pro from the comfort of your own pocket and take your performance to the next level.

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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Ifan Roberts

Enthusiastic sport scientist, crazy about all things endurance.