Within-Season Distribution of External Training and Racing Workload in Professional Male Road Cyclists

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance

Purpose:

To describe the within-season external workloads of professional male road cyclists for optimal training prescription.

Methods:

Training and racing of 4 international competitive professional male cyclists (age 24 ± 2 y, body mass 77.6 ± 1.5 kg) were monitored for 12 mo before the world team-time-trial championships. Three within-season phases leading up to the team-time-trial world championships on September 20, 2015, were defined as phase 1 (Oct–Jan), phase 2 (Feb–May), and phase 3 (June–Sept). Distance and time were compared between training and racing days and over each of the various phases. Times spent in absolute (<100, 100–300, 400–500, >500 W) and relative (0–1.9, 2.0–4.9, 5.0–7.9, >8 W/kg) power zones were also compared for the whole season and between phases 1–3.

Results:

Total distance (3859 ± 959 vs 10911 ± 620 km) and time (240.5 ± 37.5 vs 337.5 ± 26 h) were lower (P < .01) in phase 1 than phase 2. Total distance decreased (P < .01) from phase 2 to phase 3 (10911 ± 620 vs 8411 ± 1399 km, respectively). Mean absolute (236 ± 12.1 vs 197 ± 3 W) and relative (3.1 ± 0 vs 2.5 ± 0 W/kg) power output were higher (P < .05) during racing than training, respectively.

Conclusion:

Volume and intensity differed between training and racing over each of 3 distinct within-season phases.

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Metcalfe, Menaspà, and Abbiss are with the Centre for Exercise & Sports Science Research, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, WA, Australia. Villerius is with the Cofidis Professional Cycling Team, France. Quod is with the Orica Greenedge Professional Cycling Team, Australia. Peiffer is with the School of Psychology and Exercise Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA, Australia. Govus is with the Dept of Sport & Physical Activity, University of Bedfordshire, Bedfordshire, UK.

Address author correspondence to Alan Metcalfe at a.metcalfe@ecu.edu.au.