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.