Track cyclist training plan?

Dear SUF community,

I am new to Sufferfest and I would like to know which training plan would be most suitable for a track(e.g. velodrome) cyclists or for a amateur cyclists looking to get into track cycling?

Due to the nature of track cycling I believe the following plans could be appropriate:

  • All-purpose road
  • Time Trial
  • Fitness kickstarter
  • In season criterium (if I intend to go to the track at weekends)

Each one appears to have its merits and I am not sure which one I should chose. In the meantime, I have chosen the 3 week building block plan (MAP) focusing on my weakness identified from the 4DP test (omg that is hard!).

My results from the 4DP identified me as an attacker with an FTP of 208 watt. I believe I need to raise my FTP to close to 250 watts in order to enjoy my time at the track (Easier said than done… But you need to aim high :slight_smile: ).

Any advice or words of wisdom would be appreciated.

PS: never done structured training before and this is my first time with a power meter.

2 Likes

Hello and welcome

I’d be interested to know what your 4DP profile identifies as your strength, as I expect that would help you decide which track events you would focus on, and the appropriate training plan would follow IMO.

On the other hand if there’s a particular event that appeals to you then it’s probably worth stating that as well.

All the best

Neil

3 Likes

Welcome to the forum, @Savman.

I like that you have your goals already set. The Sufferfest will be a great way to achieve this. We’re here along the way.

Honestly, almost all the plans you mentioned would move you closer to your goals.
One plan I would discard from your list, if you have done a bit of riding in the last couple of month, is the Fitness Kickstarter - this plan is very light in load and aimed at people getting back on the bike after a long break.

The 12-week All Purpose Road Plan is a great way to start and a nice introduction into structured training.
Make sure to add yoga and strength training, which will both help you become a more well rounded athlete. Additionally, the Mental Toughness Programm is worth a look, since many times giving your best on the bike is as much about your mind as your fitness.

Who says you can’t try all the plans? :slight_smile:
My vote goes to All Purpose Road for the beginning and then see what you like and dislike about this.

If later you decide you need a more tailored approach you could always go with a custom plan from the talented SUF coaches (Source -> Right here).

3 Likes

Thanks @neil. Great idea! Always great to get someone else’s perspective.

My strengths from the 4DP are “Repeated efforts”. Therefore based on this I should be good at a "points race’.

See a link explaining the different events below:

I do feel that I am more of a sprinter though as I used to run 100m in my youth, but cycling is different.

1 Like

Thanks @Pierre.Weikamp. I was thinking the fitness kickstarter was a bit light. I’ll discard that one.

I agree with you the All Purpose Road Plan will give me the introduction to structured training. I’ll give the yoga, strength and mental toughness a try. Was close to dismissing those bits… But agreed it is all important.

That will keep me busy for the next 3 months whilst I get introduced to Sufferfest.

Baring in mind that each training plan is tailored to your strengths, whilst addressing your weaknesses I do wonder how important it is to pick the “correct” plan.

Do you think there is a need to find the “ideal track cyclising” plan? e.g. one that focuses on high cadences etc

1 Like

From the description of the plans you can see the individual plan’s goal:

All Purpose Road:
To improve overall bike fitness with indoor only sessions.

Time Trial:
To prepare you for time trials ranging in distance from 10k up to XX k (XX = depending on the level selected).

In-Season Criterium:
To prepare you for your target A race 3 month from now, without missing out on any weekend races that might be on your schedule.

Speaking from my own experience, I’m stuck on the All-Road-Plan, because I love it and it fits my needs - right now. There are plenty of cadence drills and high cadence workouts. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Just give the training plan a few weeks to ramp up the intensity, it always starts a bit on the easy side (on purpose).
Remember: It’s important to celebrate the rest days/weeks.

I’m no coach. In my opinion: No, at least not at the beginning.

Maybe one of the coaches can chime in and recommend an even better plan.
With more experience there is even the option to use a few building blocks aimed towards your recommended outcome. But the more freedom you have, the easier it is to screw up and risk injury. I never did this myself.

If you have trouble selecting a plan you could also write to the Sufferfest support directly:
Write an email to theminions@thesufferfest.com or submit a new help ticket here:
https://support.thesufferfest.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

We also have an extensive help center, full of articles, with solutions to common questions.
https://support.thesufferfest.com/hc/en-us

3 Likes

Thanks. I’m gonna do that plan.

Really appreciate it!

2 Likes

I’ll start by saying you are making a great choice to ride the track (though I might be a tad biased on that comment).
I think starting with the All-Purpose plan will be your best bet since you are newer to structured power-based training on the bike. The most important aspect of training is consistency. The fact you are newer to structured training means you are primed to improve across all metrics. By keeping your initial training focus more generalized, you’ll maximize those initial gains.
After that initial plan, then opting for the in-season criterium, or even one of the E-Racing plans would be ideal. Both those plan types are focused on improving shorter, repeated, high-intensity efforts, and have regular races/events worked into the overall plan.
There are a few more nuances to training for the track, such as extra focus on high cadence riding. The easiest solution is to ride above the target cadences in 1 video/workout per week. For example, riding all of the efforts in the Shovel at 100+ rpm.
When you do get to the track, don’t be afraid to ask for advice/help from other riders. Learning “how” to ride the track is just as important as getting stronger. Using the banking, making the right gear selections, learning to read the race and riders around you, keeping track of who has how many points etc. All the horsepower in the world doesn’t mean much if you use it at the wrong time or have no idea what is going on during your race.
I would also say make sure you do as many different race types as you can. You might be surprised by which events end up becoming your favorite!
In the meantime, best of luck with the training!

7 Likes

Sir @Coach.Mac.C is far more qualified to answer this than I am (and I can’t improve much on his post above) but the following observations are what I’ve learned from track riding:

  • First, and possibly most importantly: you can’t really say that “track” is a discipline, as per “time trialing” or “triathlon”. Whilst it’s obviously true that events within those disciplines will differ, different track events differ hugely. Track endurance riders (points race; scratch race; elimination, etc) are more like road sprinters. Pursuiters are like TT specialists but with a big MAP/AC focus as opposed to FTP. Track sprinters are basically weightlifters who sometimes ride bikes (very fast). So it wouldn’t be possible for SUF to put out a ‘track’ training plan as a one size fits all; the training requirements are very different.

  • That said: if you’re just getting started, as Sir Mac said, try everything and see what you like. You won’t need to worry too much about specific training plans just yet; a good general plan will get you going in the right direction. If you’ve got an FTP of 208 I doubt you’ll be anywhere near the slowest person there.

  • Leg speed is very important in track riding. Although the sprinters and the pursuiters are going bigger and bigger on their gears, being able to pedal at high cadences (i.e. 100rpm plus) for sustained periods will benefit you at a lot of track events. Track sprinters sometimes top out at close to 200rpm. This will benefit you generally - if you get used to hooning round a track at 110rpm, you’ll feel like you’re cruising at 90rpm on the road.

  • Most of all; as Sir Mac said, get used to riding the track so you’re comfortable and enjoy it. It’s a lovely discipline and it’s usually very friendly. Get involved in the pacelines; watch what other people do; do your local track’s accreditation sessions and skills sessions (they will have lots of drills and exercises that simulate races) and get chatting to people at the track. You’ll feel like an old hand soon enough.

5 Likes