Training targets over Winter

It’s the first day of winter cycle training, and I had a crazy idea of going back to the Rake and having another go. That idea lasted all of about three seconds as I realised it doesn’t matter, and it’s time to take it easy.

You’re supposed to finish the racing season tired and exhausted, but I don’t feel that at all. In fact I feel full of beans. I might try a different approach to winter cycling this year. In previous years I’ve adopted a strict level II only approach. i.e. not to raise my heart rate over 80% of maximum and just do base, aerobic fitness for three months. I don’t use a heart rate so I’m not ultra strict, but it was all fairly steady.

But, I was interested that last year Bradley Wiggins’ and Team Sky used a swimming coach who came from a different background to the classic steady winter miles approach. The swimming coach advocated training at a higher intensity, even over winter. Rather than allowing top end form to evaporate, the idea is to keep at 90-95% of max fitness. Therefore, there is less to catch up at the start of the season.

This year, I might do more hard riding in a very unstructured kind of way. Most of the training will be building up aerobic base, but I won’t be restricting my training to just  18mph on the flat. At the end of the day, I do like riding hard, and not just plodding along. It’s as important to enjoy winter training as it is summer racing. One thing I really enjoyed this year, is the classic sportive kind of all day riding through the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District. The drawback of racing all year is that you get less chances to do this. Maybe if weather is very good, I will get a few more long rides in over winter.

My main target over winter will be try and do a 1,000 miles a month. This won’t happen if the weather is bad. But, if I can get close, I’ll be happy.

I’m half tempted to buy a cycle cross bike and have a go at all the mud and stuff. It looks even more fun than time trials and hill climbs, thought whether I can justify buying another bike is a hard question. I still have foldup and single speed bikes to buy.

Like many things in cycle training there are no hard and fast rules about what is good for everyone. If you’re new to cycling, it’s even more important to spend more time building up a steady base. But, as long as you don’t feel tired or over trained, there’s no harm in keep riding at a fast rate.

The other thing about winter training is that for me, it’s often about surviving; I’m very susceptible to the cold, especially in the hands and feet. Simply making it back without developing chill blaines is often the main target of my winter training. I wonder whether I will be making use of my new rollers.

Update on Training End of November


Target 400km a week until end of February. 2100 by end of Nov.

7 Responses to Training targets over Winter

  1. sm November 1, 2012 at 7:42 am #

    This is the first year I’m going to attempt winter training. Normally I make do with commuting. The hardest part is the mental side. It’s dark and cold – the latter making cycling a discomfort rather a pleasure.

    Buying the right clothes is one step towards more comfort and also shortening the rides. So less will be more – I’ll keep up the top end sprints and hills (warming!) but drop the miles. So a reverse to most of you! With this tactic I’ll have to be careful to avoid injury.

    Either way I think I’ll take at least a month off the bike completely – it’s nice to approach the spring fresh and eager to start the hard work again.

    • tejvan November 1, 2012 at 7:43 am #

      good luck Simon.

      If you’re short of time. Hard efforts are one of best ways to keep fit.

  2. Patanga October 31, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    One way someone can justify buying a cyclocross bike is selling the commuting bike and just getting a simple CX bike for both special training and commuting. (that´s what I told mom when she realised I was bringing another bike home). I had one for 500 usd and it was real fun and very useful. They are made for climbing stairs and the shoulder and usually take racks, fenders and all, and one can even get it single speed for additional simplicity.

  3. pj October 31, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    i use a pair of de feet gloves underneath a pair of izumi cyclones. i find that doubling up is good.

  4. John October 31, 2012 at 8:13 am #

    Interesting article – particularly Brad’s winter training and impact of coaching input from a different discipline.
    I, too, suffer from cold hands when running in winter and cold hands and feet when on the bike. Have an extensive glove collection but haven’t found that ‘magic’ pair yet!
    Any ideas or advice?


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