Winter miles = summer smiles. Or does it?

So then, it’s that time of year again. Having read numerous articles and spoken to everyone and everything that has ridden near me in the past month I’m none the wiser as to how to spend a winter preparing for a season of road racing. I’ve probably bored people to tears with my inane questioning and if that’s not bad enough, I’m probably ignoring most of what I’ve been told! The old school views are clear, big steady miles will give you the base needed to build on early in the new year.

I tried riding by heart rate and staying in zone 2 for all of a week and pretty much lost the will to live. I reckon a winter of that would have me back on the Dominos and Xbox diet pretty quickly so that was scrapped sharpish. There is a bit more logic to my thinking than a spectacular lack of willpower, mostly that I simply don’t have the time to commit to the big steady miles. Whilst there is no doubt that it would have been beneficial, I don’t have the time to go old school.

So, with a bit of pondering I’ve decided to do what I can in terms of mileage at the weekends and top this up with a couple of roller sessions in the week. Basically my weekday riding is going to be mostly spent staring at a wall…


The plan is simple, sticking to it less so. The main miles will be at the weekend. The Saturday club run is around 45 miles, a good start, but not quite enough in my mind, so I’ve taken to adding 30 miles on beforehand. That’s a good 4-5 hours on the bike but to get the 30 in means leaving the house at 6:45. On a Saturday morning. Ouch.

The roller sessions will be the tried and tested 2 x 20 intervals. Once I’ve got the best out of 2 x 20 I’ll move on to 3 x 15. In theory, it sounds easy, get the heart rate up to the point that you are almost seeing spots and almost gasping like a fish out of water and keep it there for 20 minutes. Simples! Sadly not the case on rollers it seems. I’ve found that without resistance it really takes some concentration to get your heart rate high enough! Not to mention will power, I mean why push to 170 bpm when 165 bpm feels, well, pretty good in comparison! Still, it must be doing good things for my pedaling technique if nothing else. With 2 hours on the rollers that takes my weekly riding up to around 7 hours.

Hardly earth shattering I think you will agreed but hopefully a strong base for the reliability trials in the New Year. Even this though is hard to commit to when you are juggling a job that consumes hours like a time trialling Bradley Wiggins consumes oxygen with maintaining some kind of normal social interaction with loved ones, friends and family. I guess the proof will be in the pudding! Although that could be a somewhat Schrodinger-esque statement as I need to stay away from the cake….

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