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Winter Training

Posted By: KP
Date: Tuesday, 20 November 2007, at 4:52 p.m.

I work with athletes living and training in the cold winter regions (northwest, northeast, middle america and europe). As we get into some tough conditions some folks are moving indoors. Below are some thoughts that I have discussed with cold weather athletes and coaches Gordo Byrn and Ken Mierke.

Warm-up and recovery -- when it's cold outside, you can avoid that "ten minutes of freezing then too warm" feeling on your outdoor runs by hopping on the trainer for a brief spin to get your core temperature up. As well, if you have some stretching to do, a brief spin is a great way to get things circulating.

Trainer work isn't generally as much fun as outdoor riding. So it's a good idea to maximize your time by having a purpose each ride. If it's a big gear session then know what is to be done. If it's an aerobic session then have the session planned out as well (using RPE, watts and/or HR). When indoor training forces a reduction in overall volume, we may opt to have your intensity increase a half zone. Always have a purpose and a plan before you start.

If the weather is bad, don't fry yourself with four hour trainer sessions or getting wiped out in freezing rain. Think about structuring a session that uses bike/run/bike. For long days, ride a bit, run and then hop back on the trainer. For those of you that deal with "real" winter, any form of general endurance work (snowshoeing, x-country skiing) is good cross training. The main thing is to train your aerobic systems. Save the mentally tough sessions and real high HRs for when you'll get the most benefit.

If you have Power Cranks you may be using those this winter indoors. PCs are an excellent cold weather running warm-up.
Be sure to keep your knees in as you tire. Many athletes will let knees roll out.

coach KP

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