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We all enjoyed a prolonged summer but now the winter weather is really starting to kick in and there is no better time to revisit what you need to remember from clothing, preparing nutrition to making the most of your rides in the saddle. Stephen Gallagher, Ex Pro Cyclist and Co-Owner of Dig Deep Coaching provides tried and tested information removing all the guesswork for you and hopefully adding to a great period of training during these months.
If you only have 2 days a week out on the road (normally a weekend for most) 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 towards what you have visualised and committed to for the coming months are tested.
Defined it is turning a single training session into two separate sessions. For example train on the turbo/rollers for both sessions or an outside road ride mixed with a turbo/rollers later in the day. A perfect way to maintain training stimulus when weather conditions are too dangerous to go out.
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 10minx2/3 efforts
5-10min 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
Bad weather and especially ice can lead us 'off road' to get training stimulus for the day.
How to make the most of it?
Depending on your terrain and surface of trails you can sometimes continue a large volume of hours by riding trails for up to 3 hrs, it is a great workout on on a MTB for a longer endurance session.
If on a shorter trail with limited time the shorter single tracks can help you increase intensity and produce a better skill session. Hit the short climbs hard and intensive while maintaining a good aerobic workout by getting 1½ – 2hrs in total riding time in with some explosive efforts on MTB/Cyclocross bike.
Keep to forest tracks that are not affected by large amounts of mud and dirt which will enable you to get a consistent ride in without stop starting to clear brakes/gears etc.
Use the off road day to help increase bike skills and confidence.
This may consist of gym work or pilates/core class, some people may also swim, run or cross country ski if you have that luxury to be able to do so.
How to make the most of it?
Ensure all your movements are specific and safe to avoid injury. If in a gym try and extend your warm up and/or cool down on aerobic machines (row/bike/ski machines) to help increase your time building aerobic endurance and ability.
Do not over do any weights or lifts that are outside of your usual target weight so to avoid excess muscle soreness in the days following session.
Maintain a healthy aerobic workout by running, skiing or swimming. Generally a higher requirement of oxygen consumption is needed in these sports which can cross over to cycling benefits well if done within your limits. These sessions need only be 45min-1¼hr to make this a productive day.
The above is just a guide line you can use to decide when deciding on how to make the most out of your training day when mother nature has been mean to us.
Some last tips!