3 top winter training sessions for the bike from coaching editor Phil Mosley
It can be hard to get out for a ride when the weather’s cold or wet. In these instances it helps to have your training session pre-planned, so all you have to do is get on your bike and ride. Doing this is more effective than just plodding along, and makes it easier to stay motivated. To help you out, below we’ve given you three of the most effective bike workouts you can do this winter. If you only ride three times a week, make sure you ride these.
1. Indoor Sprints
There’s been plenty of research on the effects of short sprints on overall fitness and endurance cycling performance, much of it compelling. It stands to reason, because your maximal power is an important component of the power output you can sustain for longer periods. One of the proposed benefits of this type of training is that it results in increased muscle fibre usage.
Warm-up: 10 minutes (5 minutes easy/steady, 3 minutes at tempo, 2
Main set: 2×15 minutes alternating (20 seconds flat-out hard, 40 seconds easy spin) +5 minutes easy spin recovery.
Warm-down: 5 minutes steady/easy pedalling.
Take it to the next level: To progress this workout over time, you must focus on maintaining the same high power at the beginning of the session as you do at
2. The Sweetspot Ride
This is becoming the most important ride of the week for professional cyclists. The idea is that you train at your sweetspot, which is an intensity that you can just about maintain consistently for one hour. Breaking this up into 20-minute blocks forces your body to adapt to race pace, without giving your legs the next-day soreness that you might experience at higher intensities.
Warm-up: 30 minutes easy, building to a steady pace.
Main set: 2×20 minutes at the highest consistent intensity that you could hold for one hour (plus a five-minute recovery in between reps).
Warm-down: 30 minutes steady, gradually easing down into a light pace.
Take it to the next level: To progress this session you should bolt on another five minutes in your sweetspot per session, per month. Only do this if you are managing
the 2×20 minutes and still feeling ready for more.
3. The Strength Ride
There are two things that determine your power output when cycling. One is how fast you pedal, and the other is how hard you pedal. When you’re at the peak of your capabilities and you need to find an extra one per cent, do you spin faster or push harder? If it’s the latter, this bike-specific strength ride could potentially help you ride more powerfully.
Warm-up: 15 minutes at a steady all-day pace, normal cadence.
Main set: 90 minutes alternating (15 minutes normal steady riding, 5 minutes riding at a low cadence) at your all-day steady pace throughout. During the low cadence bits, either ride at 65-70rpm (approx two gears heavier than you would normally ride).
Warm-down: 15 minutes at a steady all-day pace, normal cadence.
Take it to the next level: To progress this workout over time, gradually increase the length of the low cadence sections.
You can find more winter triathlon training articles here