Old School or New School training, which one is for you?

There are many different ways that any cyclist can go about their training, but in general they can basically be broken down into two, Old School and New School.

Old school is all about feel and experience. New school is more about heart rate and power, but how do they differ out on the road? Lets take a look.

Speed training

New School 

20 minute warm up followed by 5 minutes at 280 watts or a heart rate of 164 bpm. Stay seated and maintain form. Take a 30 second break at 90 watts and let your heart rate return to 112 bpm then repeat as before 3 times. Then do a 20 minute warm down. Upload to Strava, Garmin Connect, Training Peaks.

Old School

Go down the road and meet the lads, turn and then go flat out for as long as you can in the knowledge that the bike will surely explode beneath you if the speed drops below 4okph just like Keanu Reeves in that movie with a bus. Even if it doesn’t explode the roars from the guy behind, telling you to ‘Drive on ta fook’ will have much the same effect. Keep doing this for about an hour. Then on the way home get half wheeled all the way, by the guy who was sitting on. Get home and take out a biro and spiral notebook. Fill out 3 lines with pertinent information. 60K. Hard. Getting stronger.

Sprint training.

New School.

20 minute warm up followed by 10 x 30 second efforts at 485 watts. Take a 90 second rest period between each effort. 20 minute warm down at 100 rpm.

Old School.

Go down the road and meet the lads. Sprint flat out for every single yellow sign post all day long. When you are beginning to tire resort to diversionary tactics. Look, there’s a Ferrari over there. As soon as the head turns, jump on the pedals and don’t look back. This only works twice, then you need something extra. Wow, Look at that for a short skirt. Again, as soon as the head turns you jump and don’t look back, although by now you are getting passed before the sign post is reached. Laugh all the way home.

Hill training.

New School.

Warm up for 20 minutes. Find a hill 5km long with a 7% gradient. Then do an effort seated at 370 watts. Turn, ride back down and repeat 4 times.  Warm down for 20 minutes.

Old School.

Go down the road and meet the lads. Hit for the mountain road. Try to make it look like you’re not trying, but put the squeeze on as soon as you see a bit of pain on anyones face. This builds and builds until it’s full on warfare. Launch an attack and see who follows. Get dropped when you get caught and claw your way back on again. 10 meters off the back hold your speed and recover. When you feel OK again close the gap and jump as soon as you get back on when they may have forgotten about you. Continue all the way to the top. Sprint for the yellow sign at the top and flake it down the other side trying to get a new maximum speed on your little computer thingy with all the wires. Give whoever was dropped a slagging. No mercy but no cruelty behind it either. Everyone knows that it could be them next week.


New School or Old School which is best? New School is the best way to train, will give the best results for the time allocated and instant feedback from the screens on the handlebars. Team Sky, Chris Froome and the majority of professionals now train that way.

But there are still those who still like it Old School. Those like John Degenkolb who do long steady miles in training and use racing as their way to sharpen up. Old school riders listen to their bodies and know instinctively by feel how to pace themselves and how they are going. But this takes a long time to learn.

Old School is probably more childlike and more fun. It brings you right back to those days as a teenager when you just loved everything about cycling and all it involved. It was all a mad craic.

Which is best for you? Only you can decide, but it’s probably no harm to have a little bit of both.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *