Much like any profession that is a combination of science and art, cycling training principles and philosophies are constantly evolving and revolving. One component of winter training that has stood the test of time fairly well was long, steady, low intensity rides. Did this survive because so many of us absolutely enjoy riding our bikes that it was a great excuse to go out for 3-6 hours on a freezing cold day? Perhaps. But it also seems to really work. One of the questions that does arise is do amateur athletes have enough time to put together a true base building period?
Recently, more and more research is coming out downplaying the idea of low intensity during the winter and instead incorporating more and more shorter, high intensity workouts. Much like above, is this a push out of convenience for an aging demographic with more responsibilities and less time to train? Maybe.
And then there's the idea of mixing it together. I came across this article in Velonews which cites several studies and gives a bit of a different view on base training while still hitting the long rides.
Six ways to make your base training better
by Trevor Connor
Not sure how this all fits in with your cycling goals, training schedule, and life? Give me a shout and I can work with you to create a training program for your best season ever!
Happy New Year!
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Coach B.L. is the head coach at BJL Coaching and an avid racer and cycling enthusiast himself.