Winter Training Plan

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

If you want to get the most out of your winter of riding, you need a plan. The start of winter is the best time to think about your goals for next year, analyse your strengths and weaknesses and put together a training plan to get you there.

Working with a coach

If you are serious about making progress, now is the best time to undergo a fitness test. There is a tendency to put off having a test until you are fit, since no one likes to see low numbers and be forced to come face to face with their lack of conditioning. It’s more important, though, to establish a clear picture of where you are right now. So put your ego aside, get in touch with me for your free consultation and lets start planning your training. Firstly we will establish your fitness with an FTP test, and start following a bespoke plan. Though there are numerous plans available in training manuals or online, it is always worth considering getting some help from a coach as they can tailor your training to suit both your lifestyle and fitness goals.

Wrong type of training

There are two schools of thought about winter. The first advises lots of long, slow miles to help build up a decent base. You need lots of motivation for these long endurance rides — cold, wet, windy days are not fun. The other school of thought purports that maintaining some top-end fitness is important, whether that’s strength, speed or a combination.

The truth is that both long rides and top-end training remain important. Neglecting one to focus on the other is detrimental to your riding. Getting in the base miles is necessary, but so too is throwing in a few intense indoor roller or turbo sessions. Mixing it up a bit is key. Use the off-season to focus on weaknesses and build strength too. Be flexible, though, as going out in awful conditions too often can cause illness, and similarly too much high-intensity on the turbo can lead to burnout and demotivation.

There are so many different things you can do on a turbo that finding the session that best fits in with your needs and goals is important. Here’s a run-down of a few of the different sessions you can do. Remember, these are suggestions and may not suit everyone perfectly. Tailor them to suit your level of fitness. As you become used to the sessions and begin to see fitness gains, gradually increase the number of sets, and the duration of efforts for each session.

The sessions below use percentage of MHR, if you’re using power, the zones are also expressed.

Warming up and cooling down before a turbo training session

Begin any turbo session with a 10-15 minute progressive effort with a few minutes’ easy spinning. Also remember after finishing your turbo session to spin your legs out for a good 10 minutes to make sure the muscles flushed out; this should reduce the effect of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) the next day.

Russian steps turbo training session

Total time: 8min (one set)