Coaching Movistar Team – Interview with Mikel Zabala (Part 3)

In the last part of our interview with Mikel Zabala, the headcoach of Movistar Team, we talked about the differences between pro riders and hobby and amateur cyclists and we asked him about his personal favorite training session.


power2max: What are the differences between the training of a professional cyclist and an amateur or hobby cyclist?

Mikel: Coaching a professional cyclist is much easier than coaching an amateur! The professionals are totally focused on their training and they are not distracted by any other things. This is very important, even for the time they are not on their bikes. After a ride or when they are recovering, for example they put their legs on a chair and have time to relax and to prepare mind and body for the next training session. The amateur cyclists have a job and less time to train, so it is a little harder to plan the training sessions to reach an optimal form.

Alejandro Valverde during a training session. Photo: Movistar Team

power2max: Would you recommend the use of the power meter for hobby cyclists?

Mikel: Yes, for sure, I would recomend using a power meter at any level, as long as you use it properly. A power meter is a great tool but you have to use it correctly, that is why it is very important for me to give talks, seminars or workshops. I share my knowledge, so that people know how a power meter works and having an experienced coach is helping you. In the end whether we are using a power meter or not, we are producing power. The difference with a power meter is that we can measure it and analyze it to improve our performance.
power2max: What is one of your favourite training session ?

Mikel: It depends if its for a cyclist who is going to race a Gran Fondo or at the Olympic Games on a MTB. But a workout I really like is a high intensity interval training with a 20 second all out effort with 20 second rest. The key here is how many intervals you do and how often you repeat it, and that is very individual and differs from each rider to each rider.