• Principles of Endurance Training

    Making your training as effective as possible

    Simple rules to ensure success

    You need to be at your peak on race day. It is not necessarily the best athlete who wins, it is the best prepared. 
    • Choose the event that best suits you. 

    The aim of training is to develop sufficient aerobic capacity to maintain the necessary power over the race distance to be successful.

    • A high aerobic threshold is necessary. 
    • Aerobic capacity can be continually developed. 
    • Anaerobic capacity is a limiting factor. 

    Once anaerobic training has started, it must be continued, otherwise overall development is lost. 

    Once the base training phase is finished, the underlying performance level is determined. 

    • Base training requires many hours in training. It can only be accomplished aerobically. There is never an amount that is 'too much'.
    • The training load at the end of base training is generally the maximum load possible without undertaking more base training.

    It is a mistake to use anaerobic training during the base training phase. 

    Anaerobic development requires volume of training, i.e. longer repetitions, not short sharp ones or short intervals. After three weeks of heavy overload anaerobic training, the athlete needs to decide whether to back off during the fourth week and start the shorter sharper workouts. This is to maintain the anaerobic development achieved but not sacrifice good condition at the same time.

    Anaerobic training only takes 10 to 12 weeks to achieve maximum levels.

    • Anaerobic training should be done in relation to sensations, number of repetitions, etc. are a guide only. The athlete should decide how many reps is enough.
    • Evaluate everyday’s training and train by daily reactions, using the training plan for guidance. 
    • Balance in training must be maintained between aerobic-anaerobic. 

    Training can be done too fast or too slow, too much or too little, at right or wrong times.

    • Understand the how and what of training as well as why each day’s training is important physiologically and mechanically.
    • Co-ordination and programming of training is important.
    • Training needs to be systematic.

    All endurance athletes require: (a) A high aerobic threshold; (b) Anaerobic development; (c) Speed (or Power); and (d) Co-ordination. One development follows another.


    A rider might only be in into the sport for self-improvement. Such a rider, focused solely on technique, mastery and process may become highly proficient, and even elite. Similarly, a rider might only ride for the glory. This ego/performance orientation suggests that process has to be endured, but it’s really the identity of being an elite cyclist that drives the rider. I suspect that some of the best riders, however, combine the positives of both orientations. They are obsessive about process and practice, and love to rip everyone’s legs off where it counts in order to enjoy the rewards.