Winter base training (outdoors)

Hi Everyone!

So I’ve been using TR (mostly knowledge from the podcast) since December and have made some amazing gains along the way! It’s my first year of taking cycling seriously and got to just over 4.5wkg.

Since then, summer has ended, I took 4 weeks off the bike as I had moved to a new country (Dublin, Ireland), shout out any locals here? And am eager to start building fitness again.

The only catch is that I will not have an indoor trainer this year! However I do have a perfect loop just 1km from my house that I can most definately have some productive workouts. Though weather depending, ice or heavy rain would mean missing a workout.

My current goal is general atm, to start racing XC in 2022 and maybe some gravel races on a hardtail. I also would love to hit 5wkg.

So what do I do? How do I build on what I already have given my cycling will probably suffer over the next 4 months until the weather and daylight hours become more consistent? I’ve been filling in weekdays where I can’t fit in cycles with either runs or gym and was hoping this would be sufficient until the new year where I plan to start TR again (outdoor workouts). Other than that I look to maintain atleast 1 ride a week of z2 for 4+ hours. Likely back to back long rides on Sat and Sun.

What say you?

How to survive winter without a trainer!

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But i would suggest using the plan builder. Put a date in where you expect your first XC race to be and have TR sort the plan out for you.

Running and strength / conditioning is a good idea always and perfectly fits in with the winter “off season” (as if there is such a thing as an off season). Also a tip, with winter Z2 rides, DO NOT look at your average speed, it will likely be low and before you know it you’ll be pushing harder than you should. With a MTB, decent tires and good clothing, doing Z2 rides (on the road) should not be a problem and can even be fun when navigating snow.

First, you don’t have a trainer now but why can’t you get one? It doesn’t have to be anything fancy but I would definitely look into getting one if cycling is your priority.

I’m not sure what the weather is like in Ireland in the winter but I imagine it’s cold, windy, and wet (if not snowy and icy). I live in Michigan so I have some experience with dealing with winter weather. I usually do trainer rides during the week because sunset is like 530. I lift ~3 days/week. Then if it’s not terrible, dangerous weather I will ride outside on the weekends. If the roads are mostly dry and not snowy/icy then I’ll do road rides. If it has snowed recently then I’ll take the MTB on the gravel roads and after the cars have packed all the snow down it’s a pretty awesome surface to ride on. But sometimes it’s dumping snow and <10F so I’ll be stuck on the trainer.

Can’t get one! My flat here is too small and I don’t think my housemates will be pleased of a semi naked lycra clad man is pouring with sweat and growning in the shared living space. Or perhaps they wouldn’t mind!

Rarely ice or snow. Cold, wet and dark, yes. I think I’d generally be able to do solid weekend base rides throughout the year. Weekdays are are the difficulty as I’m in work throughout daylight hours.

Ill try my best to fit in a z3 or z4 ride on Tuesday evening. Run wend. Gym Thurs. 400+ tss worth of long rides on the weekend. And start TR in January. Hopefully I’ll sort a trainer and flat by then :slight_smile:

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It’s only rain. I’ve found CX / gravel rides to be good fun for these weekend rides in similar conditions. It’s also possible to do rides at night with lights, there are probably some clubs going out for evening training you can join up with.

Gotcha, that makes sense then. I think the plan you have is pretty good. And it’s only 2-3 months so just stay active and do as much as you can to hold you over. I might even skip the running and do T-gym, W-Bike, Th-gym, then weekend long rides. But if you just like running then what you have is good.

How do you know your power numbers without a trainer? Power meter on the bike? Or you had a trainer at your old place but not here?

Just asking because if it’s power meter pedals, you could continue to train on a winter bike on that loop or by putting the pedals on a gym bike. Personally, that 1km loop would get old FAST and I’d be looking to train indoors or maybe just do a bunch of winter LSD rides.

I have a dual sided power meter crankset on my one and only bike atm, so I suppose it will become my winter stead too! I am going to buy a xc bike in the new year and plan to do hill repeats on that.

Regarding the loop.
It’s a 9km loop, only need to brake once between and it starts 1km from my house. I find 4 laps, a solid hour of work, quite tolerable!

I suppose the only problem, although Dublin rarely gets bellow 0, in the dark there could be ice on the road. But also hence why I want to sort an mtb ASAP, but with stock shortages it’s likely going to be for January onwards.

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Thanks for the advice! I’ll consider double 2 gym days a week. I do love to run, especially on the grass/trails, and I’d like to think it would help my aerobic fitness which is my biggest concern.

You could focus on strength training (squats, leg press, etc) for ten weeks with 8-10 hours of Z2 riding outside as conditions allow. That should get you through the winter months with fewest daylight hours.

Definitely use Plan Builder and play with the Experience setting to get more base training. The lifting plan above pairs well with Traditional Base. Then you could move to Sweet Spot Base, Build, and Specialty.

What did you do in the end, and how did it work out?

I forgot about this thread!

So training wise -
October to March - went well, followed plan builder but opting for threshold and more sustained work, which was possibly the only thing I would change. I did laps arohnd my Park (10km per lap) at night, often in the rain. But was surprisingly tolerable!
March onwards, possibly got covid or just a really really bad chest infection then continuous sicknesses, office trips and a small crash totaling about 6 weeks off between March and May.
June to August - my first race season ever, bought my first mtb in January, now racing XC twice a week in the local club league. Moved from 15 minutes per lap to 11 minutes per lap and am just 45 seconds away from the winning times :slight_smile: fitness isn’t the limiter it’s skills! Also I should have focused on short power rather than sustained threshold!

Overall - ftp has maintained much the same, falling back to 4wkg during race reason - but my most consistent year to date and have tremendously improved my mtb skills and knowledge of training. I also have incorporated strength training (although a little too late) I will do so in the off season again this year. Another take away, I think TR has too much intensity for me and I possibly burnt out in March.

Next season plans starting off season november

  • strength train earlier and learn to balance during base and build phase.
  • less intensity earlier in the year, learn to balance training with work and do so by building volume and recovery.
  • more high intensity repeated efforts for XC
  • more riding outdoors to improve mtb skills.

My main goal is the win one of the races next year and finally break the 300w threshold (and hopefully more).

Sorry if this is jumbled up! Am writing this on my phone as I am on holiday :beach_umbrella: