UK Lockdown #2: time for reverse periodisation?

The UK is just about to enter a month-long lockdown to combat the second wave of Covid-19 (and many other European countries are following a similar path). This means no races, no group training sessions, and no group rides. You can leave your home for exercise, but only with people within your household, or one other person from outside your household.

With those restrictions in place, might a reverse periodisation plan make sense? Long base miles are going to be risky, and by the time the lockdown is lifted - if it is - it will be even colder.

I’m thinking about a 2 or 3 week block of vo2 / build work, followed by a week or so of recovery, and then into a block of FTP and over/under work (maybe the last 4 weeks of SSB2 MV with the vo2 work swapped out). Then some more recovery followed by longer intervals and muscular endurance work (perhaps SSB1 with a mix of MV and HV workouts).

Thoughts? I took 2 weeks off the bike mid-September, but have done some high volume / low intensity work since then, and did a lot of volume (6000-9000Kj / week) including some extensive sweetspot work in the summer and before my break - so I do feel like I might have a pretty decent base of fitness already.

Sort of makes sense. I’m UK based as well and this time of year is not one I look forward to TBH, leaves on the roads make things very slippy, off-road is currently a mud-bath.

Hitting the systems you normally don’t could have a big impact. Beware of “brittle fitness”, Chad has mentioned that a few times on the podcast, so threshold and above rather than the usual tempo and above. Sustained Power Build would be a good one though you could also make yourself a threshold/VO2max progressive plan if you looked through the workouts (use the filters and ordering to make it easier).


Yes, this is definitely a consideration. But I’ve done 3 11-15hr weeks of Z2/Z3 work, and have done a lot of low intensity work throughout the year, so hopefully that would stay with me until it’s safe enough / warm enough to get outside for long miles again.

I think a vo2 block would be a good option for you. Although not especially because of the new lockdown rules. [I’d just note that high intensity does suppress the immune system a fair bit. So maybe avoid going to the supermarket ect after intervals. Save the aldi run for the rest day!]

For others I think the only reason to do less is if weather is really nasty. If someone has more time off work I’d be inclined to do some long easy miles if they can’t get them in normally.

Personally I’m not changing my training plans at all. I have only riden with one other person (no group rides) this year and will keep it that way. I’ll be getting the (mostly solo) rainy miles in :crazy_face:.


I’ll still be in work, and as someone who’s had the virus recently, while I’m not complacent, I’m not especially worried about catching it (again).

With that in mind I think I’ll be sticking to plan A: LV TR in the week, and (weather permitting) 1 or 2 longer rides at the weekend. As my main riding buddy works with me, and the regulations allow for exercise with one person outside your household, I don’t think much will change for me.

Tbh I will be looking forward to the road rides as I expect the roads to be quieter and it will help me keep my sanity. But there will be certain descents I’ll be avoiding, especially after a few hairy moments today!


When you say long base miles are going to be risky, do you mean from the perspective of the weather and road conditions? Or likelihood that there will be further lockdowns e.g restricting the amount of time allowed for exercise?

I don’t think Lockdown 2.0 is really going to change my approach to training, just that I’ll be riding on my own more :disappointed_relieved:. I’m pretty relaxed about weather and road conditions - I tend to take a fairly flexible approach to it and just pick and choose which days and routes I go outdoors to avoid the worst of the weather. Also likelihood of lower traffic should make riding outdoors more pleasurable than usual for the time of year. Still planning on getting out there and doing a good chunk of base miles, and on the days when it’s really filthy or I just don’t fancy donning all the wet weather gear then that’s what the trainer is for.


At the risk of causing considerable angst on this forum, if such a recommendation were to come in, I might very well ignore it. I simply cannot see how training alone, in the open air, puts anyone else at any risk (especially when the NHS want me to donate blood plasma, suggesting they think I have high levels of antibodies to the virus…)

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I suppose I’m thinking about the risk of having a ride-ending mechanical far from home. But maybe you’re right - taxis are still running, as I believe are trains. Maybe I should grit my teeth and stick with the long miles. Unless I get some work there isn’t much else to do…


Not to mention the short term mental, and long term physical, benefits of regular exercise. The mental thing is big for me and cycling. The turbo is a means to an ends for me. But riding outside in nature regularly is like being on a drip. Does wonders for my mood


Couldn’t agree more.

Without turning this into a lockdown discussion, there were 2 things that boiled my blood about the last one.
1 - someone in our village took it upon themselves to put flyers through everyone’s door stating that ‘any outdoor exercise puts lives at risk - STAY AT HOME’. I assume said person knew little about how the immune system actually works, and vit D, etc…
2 - the complete lack of focus from the Government about how a fitter, leaner population would suffer much less badly from any pandemic.

Anyway, I don’t want to sidetrack the thread. #rantover


I love riding in bad weather. Wierd I know. NY lockdown will be spent battling the elements. I work outside, get home and snooze then head out for a couple of hours.
Each to their own though.
Anything is better than nothing.
Good luck.

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I think the justification that’s been used when this rule has been put in place is that it’s about the risks of crashing and needing to use emergency services when they’re already stretched. Not sure I agree but I guess it makes at least some sense. Agree that solo riding outdoors can’t be raising the risk of covid transmission.

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No changes to training goals or type, length or effort levels during lockdown.

But definitely fuel your workouts if you arent already. Not a great time to be carb depleted wherever you are.

Sorry but there’s no evidence that being fitter and leaner puts you at less risk from this virus. There’s loads of reports about some very fit people getting critically ill from it.
Though the long term benefits for the NHS and the country having a fitter leaner populace would be awesome lots of people are not bothered in taking care of themselves until something means they have to.

Be great if the roads are going to be quieter as they were earlier this year but I just doubt it.

Shame my turbo went away for repairs… :scream::grin: On Friday so I’m relying on a set of old basic rollers with a PM on the bike or heading outside.

:thinking: Plummeting fitness anyone? :joy: :joy:

I had this levelled at me during the first lockdown as someone had seen me out riding. :joy:

The roads were quieter at the start but the standard of the drivers who were out was way down. Everyone seemed to be racing.


I totally understand the argument of not wanting to use public health services at this time.

When I got road rash in August 2019, I got it tended to at a walk-in centre (they originally told me to go to A&E because there was too much cleaning up of my many wounds to do. I begged the nurse and she eventually did it). I had to go back another 3 times for re-cleaning and replacement gauze/dressings.

Having to do something like this again in current circumstances would be a nightmare. Repeated exposure to many potentially unwell or infected people in a clinic, not to mention the time strain on the health service.


Oh god, laugh or cry?


Probably both…

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Effect of obesity:

Effects of fitness/cardiovascular exercise: