Cycling, as a sport and fitness activity, is not just about covering miles; it's about pushing your limits and improving performance. One effective method that cyclists swear by to achieve this is threshold training. In this blog, we'll explore the concept of threshold training in cycling, how it can elevate your performance, and the key principles to incorporate into your training regimen.
Understanding Threshold Training:
Threshold training involves working around your lactate threshold, the point at which your muscles produce more lactate than your body can clear. This threshold is a key indicator of your sustainable effort level and is commonly expressed as a percentage of your maximum effort, often referred to as FTP (Functional Threshold Power).
See our blog/guide on setting Zones and testing below:
Benefits of Threshold Training:
Increased Aerobic Capacity: By consistently training at or near your lactate threshold, you enhance your body's ability to utilize oxygen efficiently, improving aerobic capacity.
Enhanced Endurance: Threshold training helps delay the onset of fatigue, allowing you to sustain higher intensities for longer durations.
Improved Speed and Power: Elevating your lactate threshold means you can push harder and faster, making threshold training a valuable tool for those aiming to boost speed and power output.
How to Increase your FTP. Incorporating Threshold Training into Your Routine:
Determine Your FTP: Before diving into threshold training, it's crucial to establish your FTP. Many cyclists use a structured FTP test to determine their baseline and set training zones based on this figure.
Structured Workouts: Design your training sessions to incorporate intervals at or slightly above your lactate threshold. These intervals could range from 5 to 20 minutes, with periods of recovery in between to maximize effectiveness.
Example workout: 4 x 5 minutes FTP intervals
Start with a 10 minute warm up in Zone 2 (Endurance Zone). Include some 1 minute fast cadence efforts around 100-110 rpm during the warm up. Ride 4 x 5 minutes at 91-95% of your FTP and recover for 5 minutes between each interval with an easy recovery spin. Warm down for 10 minutes.
Progressive Overload: As with any training program, gradually increase the intensity and duration of your threshold workouts. This progressive overload helps your body adapt and continue improving.
Consistency is Key: Consistent training is essential for seeing results with threshold training. Aim for at least two to three threshold workouts per week, but be mindful of rest and recovery to prevent overtraining.
Monitor Progress: Reassess your FTP to gauge improvements. As your lactate threshold increases, adjust your training zones accordingly to ensure ongoing progress.
While threshold training is highly effective, it's important to approach it with caution:
Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to signs of fatigue, overtraining, or injury. Adjust your training intensity or take rest days as needed.
Warm-Up Properly: Always incorporate a thorough warm-up before engaging in threshold training to prepare your muscles and reduce the risk of injury.
Threshold training can be a game-changer for cyclists looking to elevate their performance and break through plateaus. By intelligently incorporating this method into your training routine, understanding your body's limits, and progressively challenging yourself, you can unlock new levels of endurance, speed, and overall cycling prowess. So, saddle up, embrace the challenge, and let threshold training propel you towards your cycling goals.