Everything you need to know about training in 15-minutes (Dylan Johnson CTS)

We are starting a series on evidence-based training. The primary goal is to inspire you to take full control of your training and be more confident in your choices and recognize when you are going off the path. Following a generic training plan will rarely make you as fast as if you self-coach and make quality adjustments along the way. These adjustments are critical to top health, which plays a big part in your performance.

Video Review: CTS is arguably one of the most respected coaching organizations in the world. In this video, Dylan represents the CTS and backs up his claims with evidence. He uses references from the extremely well-respected sports scientist Stephen Seiler from Norway. I am not so sure it is everything you need to know in 15-minutes, especially I think he could limit the discussion on weight training. His other videos fill in many of the gaps he left out of this.

One interesting thing is, just like virtually all pro-level coaches, Dylan’s suggestions are simple. Basic periodization, a few simple workouts that progressively get harder and a shift to more weight training in the off season. What we call a peak period, he calls a build period, that targets your specific goals.

Some of Dylan’s claims below

Many of them backed up with evidence

Below, we have captured some good points Dylan makes in this video. Take these and start to build your own library of knowledge on how to self-coach and take your performance to the next level. It takes a little time, but your performance will benefit. Invest in your future!!!

  1. Periodization means that your training is changing over time, which is what we want
  2. When planning out a season it’s important that your workouts become more specific to your goal event as you get closer to that event
  3. Short-term periods of high-intensity interval training can elicit improvements but also that important adaptations appear to occur with low intensity continuous training that are not observed with mixed or high-intensity training when training does not have an appropriate blend of both high-intensity training and high-volume training inserted into the program performance ability can stagnate
  4. The timeline for all of this higher intensity could be four to seven months before you want to be in peak shape
  5. With few exceptions having just two or on occasion three high-intensity days per week is what you’re shooting for and you want to do these days when you’re well-rested so they can be as high quality as possible
  6. Don’t forget to throw in a rest week every three to four weeks to rid your
  7. Body of the fatigue you’ve built up during a rest week you’re still riding but at about forty to sixty percent of your normal volume
  8. The optimal tapering strategy was one that reduced volume without any modifications in intensity or frequency
  9. One of the most important things you can do to improve your cycling performance is to not train at selective points in the year hear me out taking a break is extremely important to progress and often times athletes will find that they get their best results after a period of forced rest the offseason and mid-season break are commonplace amongst pro cyclist for one simple reason it works
  10. The research really couldn’t be more clear lifting will make you a faster cyclist
  11. You want to start lifting in the offseason when your training load is low and reduce or stop doing it as training volume gets high

I will continue to add more of Dylan’s suggestions here, but my key point is to start with highly reputable coaches and coaching organizations that use evidence to support their suggestions. This will reduce confusion and I believe you will find you see a lot more consensus across the different programs. Dylan has a lot of videos. Take notes on them (we will continue to do this). If you take his suggestions and build a cheat-sheet, you will start having solid principals to being your own coach.

Europe vs America


I am friends with one of the top European coaches. What I see is his big picture principals are similar to Dylan’s. Looking at the respected cycling author Joe Friel, Joe also seems to follow similar big picture fundamentals. I would say Joe provides a lot of detail that makes it feel a complex. I trust Joe, buy our goal is to simplify. We feel in most cases complex plans and workouts come from marketing based programs and both complexity and the “latest and greatest” helps sell books and plans.

America has this no-pain, no-gain philosophy related to training. Europe is a little more pragmatic in general. Europe also seems to moving closer it’s thinking towards buying into this American and now global marketing. If you look more closely at the top coaches in both the US and Europe, they continue to promote both the value of easy and recovery. Easy does not product pain, but it does produce results when used correctly.

My belief is when you see the effectiveness of simple plans and workouts following evidence-based programs, you will decide you don’t need these marketing based complexities. Our goal is to provide you this information in the minimum number of words possible. We will do this by providing targeted information based on your goals and life. This article is step one towards our learning solution. It helps establish a baseline. Our/your primary learning tools will come in 2020/2021. I hope we are helping make your choices easier, not harder.

This article has been reviewed by my anonymous pro-coach friend and 30-year veteran cycling coach Benoit and given a stamp of approval.

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So what do I do? Start with the big picture. If you get the big picture right, your self-coaching will take you a long way down the right path.

What is the big picture? I would focus on having a solid annual training plan (ATP) or in other words, a well-executed periodization model. Don’t do the same thing all year long!!! For example, you need recovery time built into your year. Nail periodization and the rest will probably fall into place.

MORE COMMING SOON. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but I feel it is an important part that many cyclists are not spending enough time on.

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