I joined British Cycling over the summer, partly to take advantage of the member offers (remember that Halfords bike, roof bars and cycle carrier earlier in the blog? 10% off everything!) and partly to be inspired.

Recently I’ve been exploring their site a bit more and found their 12 week sportive training plans.  Now I’m not going to try and do a sportive in 12 weeks, but I’d like a structured plan, made by experts.  As such I’ve gone for the beginners plan, which I have printed and bound, and is currently forming my bedtime reading.  I plan to start this regime in the new year.

Here’s a cheeky excerpt:

training plan

 

It plans in rest days, “other” training, such as gym work, and at least three rides a week.  As the plan progresses you get entire rest weeks, as well as threshold tests; it really is a nice complete package.

You’ll notice that it mentions Cadence in the training schedule, and this is a key theme throughout the 12 weeks; so, armed with a trust credit card I bought myself a Garmin Cadence sensor to go with my Edge 500.  Another benefit of British Cycling is the minimum 12% discount available on Wiggle, but in this case it was 25% cheaper than Wiggle’s discounted rate on Amazon, so I paid about £27 delivered.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Garmin-Speed-Cadence-Sensor-Forerunner/dp/B000BFNOT8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355824852&sr=8-1

Garmin Cadence sensor

Dead easy to put on the bike, pedals and wheel, about 5 mins max, all very self explanatory, quick check of the instructions to make sure I hadn’t ballsed it up and we were up and running.

Over the next couple of days I then did my usual 5 mile evening route and rode once as I would normally, and once focusing on keeping a cadence above 90.  A revelation. Keeping the pedals spinning about 90rpm meant changing down the gears earlier, and spinning at an easier force, and the speed was staying relatively high. In fact I registered one of my best times for the 5 mile segment, with a better heart rate zone performance, more calories burnt, AND I could still bend my legs afterwards – quite something.

I’m also going to look at my local gym, and see what classes they run of an evening, though I’ll have to battle my own preconceptions about it just being middle-aged women who go to gym classes out in the countryside…

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