12 Week Winter Plan - Cycling - Wattage or HR

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.

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