Effective Cycling Training for 'BAD WEATHER' days – Part 1

Dec 06, 2012

By Stephen Gallagher


It is that time of year again whereby we all have to contend with what Mother Nature throws at us.  Not unless we get on a plane to the warmest climate, as endurance athletes we have to get on with things and train in it regardless.  That plane ride for most of us is not practical, with full time jobs and families’ means each free day available to train must be maximised.


If you only have 2 days a week (normally a Saturday and Sunday) to have an extended training session then use these limited hours wisely.  It is easy to sip your coffee looking out the window at the cold and icy conditions thinking up all the excuses not to train but these are the days when your desire to improve and progress really shows.

So what to do to make your training safe, productive and worthy of the effort?


I am going to go through a few different options this week and next on how to make the most of your training in adverse conditions, talking about the pro's and con's of each covering:







Split Days


This means turning your single training session into two separate sessions, either be it on the turbo/rollers for both sessions or a road ride mixed with a turbo/rollers later in day.


How to make the most of it?

    • If the roads are very icy or heavy rain prevents you from completing long hours in the saddle a split day is perfect to maintain a good training stimulus.


    • A shorter road ride in the morning keeping to main roads to avoid ice for perhaps 1-2hrs instead of the planned 4hr ride would be perfect.  Keeping this at a solid ‘tempo’ (tempo is a higher work rate than regular endurance effort, deeper breathing and higher calorie burning)  training level will help with training adaptions and increase training stimulus over this shorter period.


    • A short indoor session in the afternoon/evening for 45min-1¼hr mixing some sub-threshold work or cadence drills* will again increase a good training stimulus for the day while reducing your exposure to the elements.  Completed in ‘sweetspot or sub threshold’ (higher than tempo and talking should be minimal to near impossible, just slightly below a time trial effort) would be excellent training stimulus.

*Example cadence drills would be:

    • 1 min 65rpm/75rpm – 1 min 100/110rpm for 10 min x2/3 efforts


    • 5-10 min leg speed sessions at 100rpm+ x 3/4 efforts


    • 30sec single leg (left) then 1 min both legs, 30sec single leg right, repeat for 15min x 2/3 efforts


    1. More quality than perhaps initially intended for that day, maximising each pedal stroke to get benefit from your free day to train.


    1. Reducing time in adverse weather conditions, limiting your chances of illness/injury/accident.


    1. Split training days help increase body's metabolism along with two qualitative sessions to keep intensity maintained throughout both training rides.


    1. Necessity to split your day up, disturbance of other aspects of your day outside of training.


    1. Training indoors can not always be enjoyable to some people.


    1. Reduced total volume of training hours.

Next week we will look at using MTB, Cyclocross and Cross Training and how to maximise using these sports during tough weather days.

Category: Coaching

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