Cycling training plans: for beginners, intermediates and racers

Get into cycling, get fitter, or ride faster with our cycling training plans, in partnership with Alzheimer's Research UK

Image credit: Cycling Active

We’ve teamed up with Dig Deep Coaching to present three cycling training plans; one for beginners, one for riders looking to improve their endurance for longer rides, and one for racers looking for that competitive edge.

No matter who you are – but especially if you’re riding to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK – these 10-week training plans will give you the structure, motivation and know-how to get fitter, healthier, and stronger on the bike.

The training sessions incorporate intervals based upon maximum heart rate, or functional threshold power – so you can train using a heart rate monitor or power meter. If you don’t have access to either, you can still take part using perceived exertion, which you can learn more about further down this page.


Image credit: chris catchpole

Our beginner plan is designed for people who are relatively new to the sport and looking to take on a challenge to build fitness and improve overall health.

The idea is to get you to point where you can ride at a consistent pace for around three hours. The first five-week block will get you started with some low-intensity workouts, building into the second half of the program and some longer and higher-intensity sessions.

Overall you’ll need to commit around 6.5 to 8 hours of exercise per week, which includes some sessions off the bike to work different muscle groups and reduce the chance of injury.


This plan is for riders looking to build up their stamina for a long-distance sportive or just for bigger weekend rides of five hours or more.

The 10-week plan will build your aerobic base, starting with muscular strength and a focus on cadence, which will boost your resistance to fatigue. The second half of the 

Image Credit: Cycling Weekly

program uses low-intensity sessions to improve your body’s ability to use fat as a power source, and then higher aerobic efforts to improve overall fitness.

You’ll need to commit around 8-10 hours per week to complete the program, which includes a small amount of off-bike cross-training.


Image Credit: Cycling Weekly

If you’re getting started in road racing and targeting events of 30-90km, then this one is for you. It’ll also be useful if you’re an established racer whose fitness has stagnated.

It assumes that you’re already a cyclist with at least a year of consistent training behind you; you’ll also need to be confident riding fast in a bunch.

The first half of the 10-week program focuses in particular on changes of pace, which are vital in racing whether for responding to an attack or tackling tough sections of terrain. It’ll also improve your anaerobic threshold.

In the last five weeks you’ll work delivering short, explosive bursts and recovering quickly. This will allow you to produce strong efforts even when tired. You’ll also work on your VO2 max power and anaerobic capacity.

This program isn’t about big miles; too much volume will just make you fatigued, so the priority is to target specific race intensities in a strategic way.

Cycling training plan from sofa to 60km

Cycling training plan from sofa to 60km
Image Credit: Daniel Gould

Just starting out the sport of cycling? Or want to reach an achievable milestone? This training plan will help you get there.

This plan is for riders who are aiming to ride 60km but who may not have ridden a bike in a long time or just starting out in the sport and want to improve their fitness from a base level. Or for cyclist’s training for a charity event such as Alzheimer’s Research UK Cycling Down Dementia challenge.