I’d be surprised that if you’re taking your cycling (or indeed Triathlon) seriously that you haven’t yet come across Joe Freil’s training bibles.
I first bought the Triathlete’s Training Bible ten or so years ago and it gave me great structure to my training and certainly allowed me to indulge myself in elaborately designed Excel sheets. My biggest issue has always been sticking to the plan, normally I’d get somewhere between 5-10 weeks before an injury or illness (or boredom) would stop my training then I just wouldn’t get back to it properly laying waste to the base work I’d done.
I don’t really see this year as a ‘proper’ training year for three reasons – firstly my base fitness is utterly dreadful, I have so many things I need to improve it would be overwhelming to attempt them all. I’m effectively writing off this year as year zero. I plan to improve my general fitness and strength to an acceptable level before really going for it next year. The second reason is I’ve missed the boat, I should really have been doing all of my Base and Prep work well before the new year in preparation of a structured Build phase. To confirm this, I’ve recently bought Joe’s Cyclist’s Training Bible and I can see I’m already quite far behind where I want to be considering the first event is in early May. Finally the third reason is that other than completing the four centuries I don’t really have any goals.
The Zwift ‘Your First Century’ training plan lasts only 10 weeks and the training structure is very different to Joe’s in that on Zwift you build towards the end of the week rather than reduce. I have to say though I like the convenience of the Zwift training, but I’d rather trust Joe’s knowledge and experience.
Rather than create a specific plan from the Training Bible I’m going to merge the two slightly – using the Zwift for turbo sessions but flipping the week to tapper down (long rides Saturday or Sunday reducing to rest day on Friday) so an intensive week would look something like 4hrs / 3hrs / 2:30hrs / 2hrs / 2hrs / 1:30hrs / 1hr.
By the end of Ride London (if I get in) I should be in very good shape fitness wise compared to what I am now but I’d still be just an under average sportive rider. By the end of the year I’ll also be a bit more comfortable with Track cycling and be in a situation to build a training plan with some goals and times for 2018.