Dan – Winter Base Training?

Ok, so it’s now coming towards the back end of January, the Christmas and New Year periods are a distant memory so it’s time to get this blog really rolling and to get on with preparations.

Having been ill for a nearly three week period over Christmas I’ve just completed my first “block” of training during some well earned time off work. This has consisted of just over 200km in a week. That was mainly blowing out the cobwebs, and doing some benchmarking on pretty filthy roads around Hemel Hempstead and the surrounding area.

Now that the cobwebs have well and truly gone it’s time to think about how best, and most efficiently to continue my training. The next couple of posts will be based around the training methods I’ll be using throughout the rest of winter and on to the start of the season.

There are plenty of different training plans available for cyclists, most with solid scientific grounding, and lots of opinions of how best to carry out winter training. General opinion for a long time has been that winter is a time for clocking up “base” miles.   Rides of between 2-5 hours, remaining below your anaerobic Heart Rate threshold, getting the distance in your legs and ready to increase the intensity come Spring.

For a rider who has raced hard all summer and autumn, there’s a lot of value in this. Time to recover and build in to the new season without overtraining. However, at the moment I’m coming in to the sport fresh, and training from a relatively low base fitness

I’ve also got to look at what my targets are for the season, if we apply the SMART principle of target setting, in which the S stands for Specificity, the idea of clocking up huge numbers of base miles would conflict with this. An average Cat 4 crit is 50mins/1hour, so taking this in to consideration, the majority of my rides will be around an hour to an hour and a half in length and with a variety of climbs, efforts and sprints to replicate the changing pace of a short bunch race around a technical course.

Not exactly what would traditionally be considered “base training”!

In the next post I’ll look at some of the specific details of the sessions I’ll be doing, and put up some example routes and sessions.

In the mean time, I’m off to try and decide what wheels to upgrade to, and whether I can justify a new frame or not!