Millions of people in the UK own a bike, but most of us will only know how to cycle to and from to work, or how to go on a leisurely Sunday bike ride. However, when it comes to seriously stepping it up a gear – sorry we couldn’t resist the pun – and kickstarting your training programme, it can be quite daunting, and it’s hard to know where to start.
Luckily, the internet is full of helpful and easy-to-follow training programmes that’ll help you fulfil your true cycling potential. What’s more, there’s a training plan out there that’s perfect for you, no matter what your abilities or goals are. So, here’s our pick of the best free cycling training plans that the internet has to offer.
Cycling Weekly’s choice of cycling training plans
Cycling Weekly produced a range of training plans (depending on the area you want to improve) with the help of the professional coach Oliver Roberts who specialises in cycling and triathlons – so you’re in safe hands!
There is a choice of three plans: one for beginners, one to improve your speed and one to keep on top of your winter fitness. Each training plan lasts for 12-weeks which, in the grand scheme of our cycling lives isn’t a long time to spend on improving your performance!
Whatever plan you choose, you’ll be taught all about training zones based on your maximum heart rate which you can use for your training well after the 12-weeks are over.
Bicycling’s 6-week cycling training plan for speed, strength, and endurance
If you don’t have 12-weeks to whip yourself into shape, then Bicycling’s 6-week training plan is the perfect way to give yourself a performance blitz. Each element of the programme is laid out in an easy to digest infographic, so you can always have a copy to hand on your phone - so no excuses!
At the beginning of the 6-weeks, you’ll be just focusing on getting your miles in and getting your fitness up. By the sixth week, you’ll be out of the saddle and flying up climbs – not bad for six weeks!
British Cycling’s 12-week improver plan
No matter what your end goal is, you’ll be able to find a training programme by British Cycling that suits your needs. However, if you’re already putting miles in on the road but want to take your performance to the next level and compete in a sportive, their 12-week improver plan will be your perfect fit.
The plan comes as a PDF in a handy timetable format, so all you have to do is wake up and check the plan to see what’s scheduled for that particular day. It’s not all cycling either, they’ve also made sure to include one cross-training session and two rest days per week, so your body will be getting everything it needs. What’s more, It also tells you your goals for each week as well as your focus for each training ride – it’s like having your very own coach on the saddle with you!
Red Bull’s beginner’s cycling plan
The cycling training plans so far have been aimed at the already avid cyclist who wants to get better, but what if you’re only just starting out on the saddle? Luckily, Red Bull have you covered with their ‘couch to 30-miles in 8-weeks’ beginner’s cycling training plan.
You’ll start by simply getting your confidence and comfort up on the bike, and you’ll finish being able to ride non-stop for 2 hours – don’t worry there’s a rest day scheduled after that long ride!
Cycling UK’s training plan for sportives and charity rides
With participation in sportives and charity rides on the rise each year, it’s becoming increasingly common to focus on a sportive as your primary training end goal. While you might not think it’s necessary to train for a sportive as they’re not races, your time is usually recorded so why not try and get the best time you can?
Cycling UK has produced a 10-week training programme for people who are working towards a sportive or charity ride. Although it isn’t as detailed as some of the cycling training plans on this list, it’s simple, easy to follow and a great place to start if a structured training plan is entirely new to you.
Once you’ve picked the best training programme for you, be sure to check out our road bike insurance before you hit the road to put in those miles!