Ben Hill: My week in training

He’s one of the best esports riders in the world – Ben Hill claimed top five finishes at both the 2020 and 2022 UCI Cycling Esports World Championships for Australia.

The Team Aero rider takes us through a typical training week on the bike.

Total stats for the week:
Kilometres covered: 671 km
Number of hours on the bike: 18 hours
Number of hours in the gym (or other training): 5 hours swimming and running
Maximum power output: 969w

Monday – Recovery
Usually after a hard weekend of training, I try to take Mondays off the bike. Lately I’ve been doing some training for triathlon so I’ve been swimming and doing a light run on Mondays. I use the extra time off the bike to get everything organised for the rest of the week.

Tuesday – Intensity
We have some great group rides in Canberra and I like to head out for the Hour of Power, which is 60 minutes of swapping off. It’s a 45-minute ride to the start and 45 minutes home. This gives me 2.5 hours in the saddle in total. I like to use my InfoCrank to hold a steady Zone 2 to and from bunch. This is often a double day for me with a VO2 ergo in the evening but at the moment I’m racing the Zwift NRS so swapped out the VO2 session for a race. I use the InfoCrank to record a second power file to help validate the accuracy of my training, I find the InfoCrank is incredibly accurate.

Wednesday – Endurance and tempo
This is a day with longer efforts. I am usually carrying a bit of fatigue from the previous day so these are not maximal efforts. Depending on the phase I’m in, it can range from short threshold work to basic Zone 2 work. In my current base phase I’m doing low cadence efforts. This session was nine 10 minute efforts at the top of Zone 2 at 50rpm. I’ve also been keeping up the swimming on Wednesdays. 

Ben Hill 2 Power Meter

Thursday – Maintenance
On a Thursday, I’m typically spending around 75 minutes in Zone 2. I find with the reduced load I do now through the work week, I don’t always need two lighter or rest days but this is a lighter day where I’m looking to maintain some basic aerobic fitness. Sometimes I will add or replace this workout with a run.

Friday – Intensity
This is similar to Tuesday, but I do the bunch ride, Hour of Terra. It’s 45 minutes at Zone 2, followed by an hour swamp off, some coffee and then 45 minutes ride home. I will also go to the pool later in the day.

Saturday – Specificity
This three hour workout can vary greatly depending on my next big target. It’s usually a day full of intervals. At this stage with no big races on the horizon, I am doing another strength endurance day. Today was 10 sets of 10 minutes at the top of Zone 2 at 50rpm. I’m following this with a run.

Sunday – Long
It’s a big day, typically between three and six hours. I will try and keep to Zone 2 for the majority of this workout but this depends on how serious I am and is often just at whatever pace my group of friends are riding at. Sometimes it’ll also be a mountain bike session However, at the moment I’m testing how my body responds to different fueling strategies and today was four hours on the Ergo at Zone 2.

Ben Hill 3 rectangle crop Power Meter

What’s your favourite thing about training? I love training. I feel better after training and I like testing different training philosophies and seeing how my body reacts. I get a real kick out of seeing the numbers go up. I think I’m almost as happy setting new power PBs as I am at winning races. But I do really enjoy crossing the line with the arms in the air and the better you train the more you get to do that.

What has been your most challenging training session? Power efforts. These were set for me by an old coach. You ride about three minutes at Zone 2-3 up a climb then in a big gear sprint to the top of a hill for 45-60 seconds. You get 10 minutes recovery between sets and do three to seven reps. I really see some quick improvements doing these but they hurt so much! It’s sometimes really hard to mentally get up for this session.

What’s the best piece of training advice you’ve ever been given? You don’t need to finish every workout completely empty to get better. There are times for this but endurance sport is more about consistency so leaving a little in the tank for the next day or week is usually the best move.

What would you say is the biggest training mistake you’ve made? I’ve been known to overtrain. When I was a younger athlete I was often caught up in the more is better way of thinking. This put me in a hole on more than one occasion.

What do you use your power meter for and what difference does it make to your training? The invention of a power meter has perhaps been the biggest game changer ever introduced to the cycling world. The advances in science and our understanding of how the body works has grown so quickly in the last decade. It has become almost impossible to compete at the higher level without one.

I use my InfoCrank every day so I can ride to specific targets to achieve the desired training effects I am aiming for. I also think the power meter is the best way we have currently to monitor training load and it is a great way to measure the amount of kj you burn exercising so it makes it easy to keep track of how much you need to eat.

Ben Hill 1 Power Meter
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