Text Box: 			Training is comprised of 2 equal parts:  Stress and Recovery
Specificity defines intensity/duration mix
Progress Testing
Bio-mechanics and efficiency
Nutrition
Taper
Stress is broken down into two components, duration and intensity.  A proper training plan is specific, i.e., the duration and intensity to a great extent should mirror the specific demands of your target events.  An example: a body builder trains with very high force, (resistance/weight), at very low reps which create large muscles and strength but very low endurance, while a cyclist must train with relatively low force, (resistance/load/weights), at very high reps which create aerobically efficient smaller muscles with less strength but very high endurance.
Recovery is managing the proper amount of nutrition and rest appropriate to the previous load to assure that the body has everything it needs to repair and rebuild its damaged muscle fibers and create changes to your cardio vascular system, such as more red blood cells, mitochondria, blood volume, etc. to better handle the increased stress that it is now required to handle. 
Too much or too little of either of the above inputs, stress and/or recovery will result in less than optimal improvement. If you get the balance very wrong you will not only not progress but will digress and ultimately crash down into “overreaching and much worse, overtraining”, taking a major step backwards and in extreme examples lose up to an entire year due to sickness and injury.
There are many tools to manage this which are beyond the scope of this article, as each tool requires a separate article and explanation at the very least.  One example is Training management software which requires some type of data download.
One simple and very good way to help track and manage the progress or lack thereof is testing.  At the upper end or testing and providing the most control, is some form of Lactate and/or Functional Threshold/VO2 testing as per our “Performance Fit Test”. 

Another way is your local timed climb, although the accuracy is dependent on variables such as temperature, and wind.
If you get the above items right you can get pretty close to 90% of your potential.  The final 10% only happens through micro-management of variations and carefully controlled progression of training loads and recovery.  Knowing when an athlete is plateaued and requiring a change in training input, duration or intensity or both, to move to the next level. Another factor is bio-mechanics, ie bike fit and pedaling technique and efficiency.   Nutrition on and off the bike and variations depending on time of year and where they are in the training cycle along with the complexities of mild to serious food allergies and intolerance’s.  Knowing when an athlete is too fatigued, short term or long term and needs a few days extra rest or an end of the season month or more break.  And finally the holy grail of training, the magical art of timing, making all this happen on a specific day, ie at the start of the 508, via all the above and proper final tapering which brings the athlete to the start line rested, but pumped and with a high level of fitness but w/o fatigue.  Only the very best of athletes and coaches are capable of this.

George Chester, TDScoaching.com
grchester@Traindontsuffer.com	805 302 3343