2020/21 British Cycling 12-week "Real Life" Winter Training Plan
The British Cycling 12-week Winter Training Plan is a departure away from the traditional, outdated and, for most riders, ineffective winter fare of trying to grind out slow miles under the misconception of “base training”. This plan is time effective, takes potential poor weather into consideration but will still lay the perfect foundations for a successful season.
The plan and the workouts within it are most suited to power users but can be adapted for heart rate. All of the cycling workouts are fully built within the plan and so, it’s compatible with smart trainers and many head units.
The midweek sessions are also scripted to be used as custom workouts on Zwift.
To start the plan, you should ideally be riding three or four times a week, be familiar with structured training and be capable of riding for 90 minutes. If you have ridden solidly through the summer and autumn but maybe had a month of so off in October or November, it’d be ideal. Also, if you’ve let things slip until after the festive season, it’s the perfect way to rebuild your fitness.
The volume of training is between 5-8 hours per week. If you’re already familiar with TrainingPeaks and its metrics, weekly TSS is between 138-338.
Although you’ll be putting in some longer rides and building endurance, a degree of intensity is maintained. You may hear about pros putting in big base miles but this is because of the huge volume of racing they’ve got ahead of them and, as they can be riding 30 hours a week or more, their training load can be developed through volume rather than intensity. For riders who are juggling work, family and other commitments with their cycling, this sort of volume is totally unrealistic and so, to get the most out of your limited riding time, you’ll need to up the pace a bit. This doesn’t mean loads of top end work, rather a focus on “Sweet-Spot”, sub-Threshold, Threshold and the odd sprint to keep you sharp.
Taking into consideration that midweek sessions for many riders will be early morning or evening, these are typically around an hour in duration and are designed primarily for indoor trainers. We’d strongly encourage you to get out on the roads for the longer weekend ride but, if the weather makes this difficult or dangerous, suggestions for adapting them to more indoor friendly 2-hour ride are given.
There is an emphasis on taking the opportunity of winter to hit the gym and lay down some solid strength foundations. A solid 12-week block, where you consistently manage two strength sessions per week, will not only benefit your cycling directly but will also help to protect you from injury and improve overall health, robustness and mobility. The winter is the perfect time for this as, without the demands of top-end workouts and racing, it will have less of a short-term negative impact on your cycling and you’ll be able to reap the health and performance gains come the spring.
The plan is fully supported by content on the British Cycling Insight Zone, where you can find advice on skills, training, nutrition, equipment, clothing and maintenance.
How it Works
Training Plan Sample Week
Average Weekly Breakdown
|Workouts||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
|4:11 hrs||4:00 hrs|
Day Off x2
|2:00 hrs||1:00 hrs|
|Workouts Per Week||Weekly Average||Longest Workout|
||4:11 hrs||4:00 hrs|
||2:00 hrs||1:00 hrs|
Training Load By Week
This plan works best with the following fitness devices:
- Power Meter
- This plan includes a Free Basic TrainingPeaks Account.
- Access your training plan anywhere on the TrainingPeaks mobile and desktop apps.
- Track your performance with robust data tracking and detailed graphs.
- Plan for your event in the TrainingPeaks calendar.
- Track your weight, sleep, hours, fatigue and stress while you train.
- Syncs daily with other popular apps like Garmin and MyFitnessPal.
This plan is protected by our Refund Policy and may, with the author's approval, be exchanged for a plan of equal value from the same author.