“Bad weather always looks worse through a window.”
Not strictly true, but nonetheless a good piece of advice. With current weather system that has a freezing grip on the UK and the race season just around the corner the riders are having to look at every option that is available them to get the work done. With all rider’s training with power, every minute of training is measured and quantifiable. We are at the point in the year where typically the riders are able to take the biggest training load of the year. The objective with the forced weather options is simply amass the appropriate amount of TSS (or training stess score, simply the quantified physical demand of the workout) to sustain the current fitness level.
So how are the riders doing this? Well it’s currently a combination of a number of options
Having a plan; By objectively looking at the time you have available and factoring in sessions are other commitments will ensure you effectively use your time.
Turbo / Rollers; Utilising both indoor options depending on the session goal / objective. If the efforts are high intensity, torque based and threshold and above a direct drive trainer is a great option allow the focus to be solely on the production of power and “hitting the numbers” Supplementing this with conditioning work, cadence drills or repeatability on the rollers create a mix of training stress and with it adaptation.
Manageable session durations / split session; No one needs to sit for three hours on a turbo, rollers or wattbike. Instead look to split the training time into manageable session blocks. A great example early AM: a 45 mins pre breakfast session. PM; A more structured session with 3 x 10min blocks at Z4. If you have time you can include a midday session too, using the rollers to complete a cadence pyramid. This way the training you complete has a focus across different areas and is much less mentally taxing allowing you to maximise each session to the fullest.
Laying; We touched upon layering a the winter riding blog, but by far and away the most effective clothing strategy is layering, trapping warm air between multiple layers of clothing. Invest in overshoes and gloves, always take an emergency rain cape and think outside the box utilising outdoor clothing as a further top layer, e.g. a down jacket or gilet.
CX / MTB; If you have access to a Cyclo-Cross or MTB utilise them to supplement the indoor workouts. Maximising time outside to 90 mins, focus on a medio (Z3) workout that will keep you warm and utilise the shorter session duration. Don’t be afraid to use off-road paths where deep snow will create torque / strength endurance efforts by default.
Route choice; Think carefully about route choice, stick to bigger, treated roads and use loops close to home so if the weather changes or you get to cold you can end the ride within 15 or 20 mins. Break up a repetitive loop by riding laps at different intensities or using a fartlek approach. (Fartlek, which means "speed play" in Swedish, is a training method that blends continuous training with interval training.)