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