• Mark Turnbull

Doing the hard yards - Winter Endurance Training

Updated: Jan 7


Winter training and base miles

can test even the most determined cyclist, however

this investment of time will lead to improve results the

following season if you structure your training.









These are the basic components of endurance training:


  • Aerobic training – 80% to 85% of training time in Zone 1 and lower Zone 2 (MAF)

  • Force Development – 5% of training time (Maximal Strength – Zone 5+)

  • Durability training – 10% to 15% of training time (Zone 3 – 4)

  • Technique – Integrated into training and active recovery

  • Recovery – Active recovery + 7.5 hours + sleep average per night.


Any training session should be targeting these adaptations. The only session that have benefits if you have muscular fatigue are durability and active recovery.

Know what your session is targeting and stick to the plan. If you can’t finish the session, go home and use the recovery time!


RECOVERY: Training stress weakens us, it is the recovery that makes us stronger. The repetitive cycle of stress and recovery results in our physiological system compensate to absorb more stress. Without an optimal recovery environment improvements will be limited. Adequate sleep, quality nutrition and recovery focused activity are essential to optimise recovery. Chronic life stress and poor quality sleep will inhibit recovery and therefore comprise training outcomes.


TECHNIQUE: Efficiency is all about reducing energy expenditure for speed. Efficiency help us maintain a pace for longer. Good technique is a key component of efficiency. Good technique also reduced exposure to injury. Technique improvement has to be a critical component of training, no matter the level of competency. Technique should focus on limiters (drag, negative forces) and propulsion (leverage, force application).


DURABILITY: Durability is about maintaining a pace above aerobic threshold, with some discomfort, for a period of time. It is about turning force into power (Power = Force x Time) It is as much a mental application as physiological. Generally 10% to 15% of training time is spend in this zone. Doing more time in this zone will limit time in Aerobic and force development where the real physiological improvements are realised.


FORCE: Developing force provide us with more power and speed potential whilst improving injury resilience. Force development must have a functional foundation including balance and range of motion component to insure developed force can be leverage as efficient power. Recommendation is 5% or less of training is spent in force development.


AEROBIC: Last but not least is aerobic training, the foundation of endurance training. Aerobic fitness takes time to improve, there are no shortcuts, no nutritional or supplement silver bullets. It is time in the pool, time on the bike, time on the legs at aerobic heart rate (180 – age). Bottom line is that if you can’t make race distance an aerobic heart rate without your pace slowing then training above the threshold is going to have very limited benefit, if any. The aerobic system provides 90+ of the energy for endurance sports over 20 minutes, 98% for 8 hour + events. 80% to 85% of training should be in this zone.


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