12 Weeks Winter Training

Average Weekly Training Hours 10:20
Training Load By Week
Average Weekly Training Hours 10:20
Training Load By Week

Time to build on that foundation fitness you have gained, over 8 - 12 weeks, this starts around 24 weeks out from your major race and prepares you for the preparation phase (training specific to your race distance) to come, building your robustness physically and mentally.

You are gong to increase the intensity of your training to improve that top end fitness, along with building your endurance to around that required to kick off the "preparation" plan for Ironman or you may do a little over endurance if prepping for the Olympic or sprint plan.

One of the absolute key outcomes of the winter plan is to put your swim, bike and run technique under pressure, while trying to hold onto good form. Mental toughness is not only about working harder; it’s also about being able to think clearly under greater and greater loads/ pressure.

1. As much as possible have one rest day per week (mental & physical freshening up)
2. It is ok to move sessions around, but try to give 48hrs of easy or drill work between harder sessions... this can become harder to do in winter as sessions are getting very hard.
3. If you are training in the am fasted (without food) try to make this session easy to utilise fat adaptation (burning fat stored in the body)
4. Week 4 is a "freshening-up" week, this does not mean do nothing, but things like having sunday am off with be great news for your partner and for you to have breakfast in bed! You still have to nail the key sessions.
5. Don't do two run sessions consecutively, unless your body is robust enough to handle this.
6. Watch out for niggles (acute injures) and get them treated asap. Colds/ illness rule of thumb = slight head cold it's ok to do light aerobic training. Anything in the throat/ chest = NO training.

Improved economy + increased training loads = faster athlete

Sample Day 1
TH (threshold) L3 set

All swim info is available on my website... what does hypoxic look like?

Warm up (600m)
200m back - 100m FSDK (Front scull deep kick) - 100m FDDK (Front doggy deep kick) - 100m back - 100m fly

Pre main (200m)
1/2 length hypoxic* - 1/2 length sprint

Main set (1500m)
15 x 100m @ race pace L3 - off 30 - 40 sec rec

This main set is about feel of your race pace... don't go off too hard, good pace judgment

Cool down (300m)
100m best FC - 100m double arm back - 100m back

Sample Day 1
L5 Sprints

Good running technique will allow you to hold good form especially during times of high stress (WPP)

Go through full run warm up then mark out a 200m course or using your GPS watch.

Main set
8 x (200m @ L5 into 400m jog easy L1)

Go through flushing at the end

Sample Day 2
Winter strentth

You have 3 upper body ex to choose from so alternate these or once you are on 3 x 8 - 12 do one of each.

Same with legs you can either squat or do clean & jerk.

1. Alphabet on all 4’s A_Z (add ankle weight to add resistance)
2. Nordic Hammies 8 – 12 reps x 1 – 3 sets (add weighted vest or hold weight for progression)
3. Press Ups 8 – 12 reps x 1 – 3 sets (use weighted vest for progression)
4. Front Plank Rotations x 60 sec’s (add 10% per week)
5. Ballistic sit ups 8 – 12 reps x 1 – 3 sets
6. Basic Clean & Jerk 3 x (8 – 12 reps)
7. Chin Up’s 3 x (8 – 12 reps)
8. Dips 3 x (8 - 12)

Sample Day 2
Skills & Drills (No Chain Work)

All warm up/ skills/ drills and technique videos are available on my website

Go through normal warm up.

Main set: SLD (Single Leg Drills)
Take the chain off*
60 secs L - 60 secs R
55 - 5 rec - 55
50 - 10 - 50
45 - 15 - 45
40 - 20 - 40
35 - 25 - 35
30 - 30 - 30
Put chain back on ensure you are in a moderate gear
25 - 35 - 25
1 x gear harder
20 - 40 - 20
1 x gear harder
15 - 45 - 15
1 x gear harder
10 - 50 - 10
Don't go any lower as the gear may be too hard for single leg drill and cause injury

Depending on how much time you have do a 5 - 20mins spin cool down

Sample Day 3
Mixed swim

Are you setting up your catch correctly, do you know what it looks like?

Warm up (600m) 
2 x 100 back - 100m fsdk (front scull deep kick) – 100 FDDK (front doggy deep kick)

Pre main (200m)
100 Single arm = 25m drills – 25m swim 
100 Pausing – 25m drills – 25m swim

Hypoxic (100m)
2 x (25m hypoxic 25 swim hold form on swim)

Main set 1 (1800)
All swims with toys L2 and recovery can be taking toys off or putting them on...
400m paddles L2 (make sure you see hand before pulling)
4 x 25m band* only
100m swim L3
400m pull L2
2 x 50m band only
100m swim L3
400m pull/ paddles L2
4 x 25 band only
100m race pace (time?)

Cool down (300m) 
100m easy back – 100 double arm back – 100 best swim

Sample Day 3
Lactate tolerance work

All warm up and flushing can be found on the videos

Go through full warm up then...

Main set:
3 - 4 x (1k as 200m @ L4 into 800m @ L3 off a 130 hr recovery)

Cool down

Sample Day 4
Force work (live or on turbo/ rollers)

Normal warm up 15min

Pre main 
6mins single leg drills (30 on 30 off)

Main set: Force work (hard gear)
3 - 4 x (5mins @ 60 rpm around L3 with 3mins Rest In between (RI))

5mins spin mod pace @ 90/ 95rpm

Cool down:
5 - 20mins easy spin (depending on how much time you have)

James Beckinsale
Optima Training Systems

After years of coaching athletes in person I wanted to help athletes who couldn’t engage with coaches or clubs personally. Rather than just providing online training plans, I have put together a number of resources including plans, videos and articles https://www.jamesbeckinsale.co.uk/

For the training plans to become personal to you I’ve included profiling tools that will help set your individual training zones. I’ll also be posting training sessions and current thinking on social media.