12 Week Winter Plan - Cycling - Wattage or HR

Average Weekly Training Hours 10:00
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 10:00
Training Load By Week

This 12 week winter plan is for use by cyclists and/or triathletes wanting to maintain and develop their aerobic capacity over the Winter and to prepare themselves well for higher intensity training in the pre-season phase. The plan does not involve large numbers of long road rides during the training week, normally just one 3-4 hour ride, but this can be substituted for an indoor session. The workouts within the plan are designed with slowly increasing weekly Training Stress Score (TSS) totals with scheduled lighter training load weeks included to allow adequate recovery.

The planned training loads have been established using predicted workout TSS values rather than being purely time based. The aims of the plan are to build aerobic capacity, to include some higher intensity sessions, and to prepare the athlete for a Chronic Training Load (CTL) build when the weather improves in the spring.

The plan is best suited to cyclists and/or triathletes who have been involved in cycle training in one form or another for 12 months or more, are used to regular training, and are looking to establish a very firm fitness base over the winter without spending a large number of hours exposed to the elements each week.

The workouts in this plan DO NOT include .erg files for use with CompuTrainer or VeloTron ergotrainers manufactured by RacerMate. Athletes owning a CompuTrainer or VeloTron wishing to use .erg files can purchase a library of .erg files from the TrainingPeaks site by looking under "store" then "exercise libraries" and selecting the library appropriate to your Functional Threshold Power (FTP), the libraries are available in 5W increments.

The libraries contain ALL the .erg files for the indoor elements of this plan as well as a number of additional workouts and test protocols. In addition the library will contain ALL .erg files required to follow ANY training programme made available by VeloTraining and will be added to over time. For example if having completed the winter plan you chose to follow this with a Spring plan or a pre-event plan the appropriate .erg files for those plans would also be contained within the library. Naturally if your FTP had changed substantially a new library would be required or alternatively you could edit your existing library files yourself.

The workouts in this plan are described by referring to your FTP or your Functional Threshold Heart Rate (FTHR). It is therefore essential that you establish your current FTP or FTHR prior to purchasing and commencing your plan. A failure to do this will result in the workouts in the plan being either too hard or too easy. Instructions on how to do this are included and are attached as a .pdf file to the first workout in the programme as a "Read Me" file.

The plan uses a higher intensity, lower volume, training model which has been gaining in popularity and support in recent years as some riders and their coaches move away from the Long Slow Distance (LSD) winter training model. This approach is a possible solution for many riders who want to perform well but who do not have the time (or weather) to build vast training volumes during the winter months.

As part of the plan it is also optionally suggested that you swim and walk once a week simply to provide an alternative exercise which can also of course be performed with family or friends. The swimming session is intended to be purely for pleasure and may well just involve an hour in the pool doing some steady relaxing swimming. The scheduled walking session is again optional and simply ensures that exercise other than cycling is being enjoyed and should ideally take the form of a 60-120 minute brisk walk, an activity surprisingly neglected by many cyclists but a very beneficial one.

Sample Day 1
1:00:00
1x50Min@50-55%FTP

L1-1x50Mins@50-55%FTP

Training Session Length: 1hr:00min.

If you are training with a power meter or other power measuring device:

1x50 minute effort at 50-55% of FTP with a variable load. Recovery Ride.

This session can be used after a particularly hard event or build period where active recovery is required rather than complete rest, the muscles recover better with light exercise than no activity at all.

If you are training using a heart rate monitor your training intensity should be based on your Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR).

The 50 minute period of the session should be ridden at less that 68% of your LTHR.

Sample Day 2
1:10:00
1x60Min@56-75%FTP

L2-1x60Mins@56-75%FTP

Training Session Length: 1hr:10min.

If you are training with a power meter or other power measuring device:

1x60 minute effort at 56-75% of FTP with a variable load. Endurance Ride.

This is a very straightforward session but you must make sure you still warm up properly before starting and cool down well at the end of the session. Once warmed up pedal at a cadence of about 90 for the duration of the session and make sure you cool down properly at the end of the session. The whole of the session is ridden at your L2, your endurance zone, this would be your "all day" pace.

This ride can be used as a pleasant leg loosener or basic endurance ride to mix and match with other sessions. The session will contribute to your basic endurance building and will help keep the weight off!

If you are training using a heart rate monitor your training intensity should be based on your Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR).

The 60 minute period of the session should be ridden at less that 69-83% of your LTHR.

Sample Day 3
1:10:00
2x20Min@80%FTP

L3-2x20Mins@80%FTP

Training Session Length: 1hr:10min.

If you are training with a power meter or other power measuring device:

2x20 minute efforts at 80% of FTP with an isopower load. Tempo Training.

Make sure you warm up well before the session, for at least 10 minutes, and cool down well afterwards, for at least 5 minutes. Between efforts you should pedal easily (active recovery) for 5 minutes before commencing the next effort.

This session is an extremely time-efficient way to do some top-quality base fitness work. You will develop your aerobic capability, train your cardiovascular system to function with greater efficiency, and train your muscles to tolerate working hard for extended periods. It is particularly effective on the turbo because there is no freewheeling!

This session is not an easy session incorporating as it does 40 minutes of tempo riding but neither is it too taxing. You need to be sure you are fully hydrated and that you have been eating well in the run up to the session.

You are strongly advised to consume a recovery drink of a type which includes some protein immediately after the session to commence your recovery prior to your next training session, particularly if this is the following day.

If you are training using a heart rate monitor your training intensity should be based on your Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR).

The 2x20 minute periods of the session should be ridden at 84-87% of your LTHR.

Sample Day 4
1:00:00
Recovery Walk

This session is not intended to be a hard or challenging training session. It should be a relaxing and enjoyable session of alternative exercise to use a different range of movement and to allow you, if desired, to enjoy an exercise session with no stress involved with friends and family if they fancy coming along.

Walking is a much neglected and I believe beneficial exercise for cyclists. In this context it is not a fatiguing exercise and it uses different and very important muscle groups which can be neglected with regular cycle training. It is not unusual for a cyclist in regular training to find that a period of brisk walking results in a surprising level of muscle soreness particularly in the lower back. With regular walking this soreness quickly subsides as the muscles become accustomed to what is a very normal activity, we are designed to walk, not cycle!

Wearing comfortable shoes (trainers are ideal) simply walk briskly, preferably over undulating terrain, for at least an hour. Your walking pace should have you feeling warm and you should aim to walk at between 3.5 to 4mph on average.

After your walk take a long hot shower, a nice warm drink, and if possible just relax.

Sample Day 5
1:10:00
2x20Min@80%FTP

L3-2x20Mins@80%FTP

Training Session Length: 1hr:10min.

If you are training with a power meter or other power measuring device:

2x20 minute efforts at 80% of FTP with an isopower load. Tempo Training.

Make sure you warm up well before the session, for at least 10 minutes, and cool down well afterwards, for at least 5 minutes. Between efforts you should pedal easily (active recovery) for 5 minutes before commencing the next effort.

This session is an extremely time-efficient way to do some top-quality base fitness work. You will develop your aerobic capability, train your cardiovascular system to function with greater efficiency, and train your muscles to tolerate working hard for extended periods. It is particularly effective on the turbo because there is no freewheeling!

This session is not an easy session incorporating as it does 40 minutes of tempo riding but neither is it too taxing. You need to be sure you are fully hydrated and that you have been eating well in the run up to the session.

You are strongly advised to consume a recovery drink of a type which includes some protein immediately after the session to commence your recovery prior to your next training session, particularly if this is the following day.

If you are training using a heart rate monitor your training intensity should be based on your Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR).

The 2x20 minute periods of the session should be ridden at 84-87% of your LTHR.

Sample Day 6
3:00:00
LONG RIDE - 3 Hours

The only real requirement for this session is that you should aim to finish the ride with an average W/HR in your endurance zone.

Try to maintain a fairly consistent pace and if possible try to avoid making hard efforts unless the terrain demands it. You must eat during this ride and as always it is essential to remain well hydrated, ideally using a suitable energy drink.

After your ride SIS REGO as a recovery drink is excellent and there are several other similar recovery products on the market, in the end this is a very personal choice.

Eat as soon as possible after your ride, consume a meal containing carbohydrate and protein, but don't overdo it! A tuna sandwich or beans on toast would be ideal. Make sure you don't go hungry for the rest of the day.

This is a good ride to do with a friend or friends because you can easily chat and you don't need to concentrate hard. The main point of this ride is for it to be continuous, avoid regular stops.

Sample Day 7
1:00:00
Recovery Swim

This session is not intended to be a hard or challenging training session. It should be a relaxing and enjoyable session of alternative exercise to use a different range of movement and to allow you, if desired, to enjoy an exercise session with no stress involved with friends and family if they fancy coming along.

Go to the pool, get in the water, and enjoy a nice relaxing hour in the water, just like you used to do before you started training! Resist the temptation to start timing or counting lengths, the emphasis here is on enjoyment, pure and simple.

After your swim have a long hot shower, a nice warm drink, and if possible just relax.

Quentin Field-Boden
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VeloTraining

Particularly interested in coaching cyclists for endurance events from time trials to multi day events.

I provide coaching services primarily for road cyclists. I do not offer multiple levels of coaching services, by restricting my client numbers I provide a single and very personal level of coaching, I believe that all clients deserve equal levels of coaching commitment regardless of their abilities or status.