Winter training update.

Time for the monthly roundup. My training over these last four weeks has consisted mostly of endurance rides – two of these 4 hour sessions per week, coupled with a short turbo session and two visits to the weight room. Truth be told it is somewhat monotonous, I keep picturing myself standing on a podium a few months down the line and tell myself that it will all be worth it. If I fail to achieve any good results this season after putting in so many winter miles I won’t be happy.

Luckily I am noticing a few improvements – these have provided some welcome motivation, knowing my training is working makes it much easier to stick to a plan. First and foremost my endurance has come on in leaps and bounds – four hours on two bananas is the record so far. Finally I am beginning to notice the effect of all that weight training. My core strength has improved dramatically, no longer does my bike sway wildly from side to side when climbing out of the saddle. I’m sporting noticeably larger quads, these will come in handy in a sprint. My arms no longer resemble those of a stick insect, yes this is unnecessary muscle but far better from a general health (not to mention aesthetic) point of view.

Unfortunately all of this has come at a cost – speed. I’ve turned into a complete diesel, well adapted for long stints in the saddle but not good for much else. I’d struggle in a fast club ride let alone a road race or TT. At this time of year being sub-par is the norm, therefore I am doing my level best not to worry too much. All this endurance will help to form a strong foundation, preparing me for higher intensity training in the spring. Essentially, it’s ‘training to train’ before training to race.

Anyone who read this post might recall my mention of a lack of flexibility, making it difficult to maintain an aerodynamic position. Stretching is something I have always had a cynical attitude towards, thinking it to be painful and unnecessary. Over the last couple of months I’ve had to admit defeat, three ten minute sessions per week have made a big difference – finally I can ride on the drops for an hour or more without my lower back protesting. I’m convinced it has allowed me to recovery faster, especially from weight sessions – my legs will still be sore but far less stiff the following morning.

For the next four weeks, my training is at last set to become more interesting. I’ll be cutting the weights to one session per week and spending some more time on the bike. It’s now time to begin focusing more specifically on improving my time trialling – steady state efforts to increase muscular endurance coupled with a few ‘easy’ interval sessions to restore some top end power.

Scary as this sounds in my head the start of the 2017 season is not far off, I’m hoping to start competing again in late February with the aim of peaking in April. At the moment I’m cautiously optimistic – this will be my first winter of structured training, with a far higher volume than I have ever managed before. I already have certain races in mind having been organised enough to check the dates for once, hopefully this will make it easier to come into form at the right time. Plus, not having a broken clavicle to contend with will surely help. It’s just a matter of getting through the remaining winter months without suffering a severe case of demotivation – or hypothermia as it may turn out.

That’s all for today – time for a well earned mince pie break. Stay tuned.

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2 thoughts on “Winter training update.

    1. Same – at least with cold you can just wrap up. Rain makes the roads slippery & you end up freezing no matter how many layers you put on. Sadly I don’t have a mountain bike to go off road when the weather is bad – it’s rain or the turbo trainer. Just got to hope it pays off in the end.

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