Late January is when many cycling enthusiasts start to ride again.
The return to the activity, as Davide Martinelli has already explained, is very challenging, for several reasons. During the winter months our body gets out of the habit of enduring efforts, especially if we have not kept active practising aerobic alternatives.
Enduring large training loads or many hours in the saddle is no longer possible. We need to recondition our body to the efforts. In order not to jeopardize the body’s biological equilibrium, we should try to avoid over-revving, or sustaining maximal efforts that could be counterproductive. It is always better to tackle rides with lengths that increase progressively, allowing enough time for our body to get conditioned to efforts and long hours in the saddle. We need to increase our fitness progressively, Sunday after Sunday, and above all, giving to our body time to recover properly.
For many amateurs the main problem is keeping regularity and consistency in their weekly training routine because, until daylight saving time starts and clocks are turned forward, there are not enough daylight hours and they need to integrate their rides with turbo training. The advice is to keep your training consistent even if with interactive trainers we do shorter and intense sessions.
Workouts in specific training zones, like for the hours in the saddle, should be increased gradually and, above all, allowing enough time for our body to adapt to increasing training stimuli, facilitating its ability to improve.
Let’s try to give an example of a TYPICAL WEEK for an athlete who does not have a lot of time available for training:
Monday & Friday rest.
Tuesday strength training. For example short sprints (30/30 i.e. thirty seconds sprinting and thirty seconds recovering; 20/40 i.e. twenty seconds sprinting and forty seconds recovering; climbing-simulation sessions at different cadences, such as PFR [pianura forza resistenza], i.e. strength endurance training (low-cadence high-strength on flat course), at cadences that depend on the objectives.
Wednesday 40-50 minutes of slow base endurance.
Thursday quality workouts, such as critical power of various durations, which make us improve explosive strength and resistant strength (cp 1 minute); strength endurance and lactacid capacity (cp 3 minutes) also simulating short race sessions (up to cp 7 minutes) with a power similar to what happens while racing.
Saturday and Sunday 1 medium-distance ride (for example 2h:30′) and Sunday long-distance ride, 3-4 hour long.
The example of a training week demonstrates how important it is in every cyclist’s preparation to have a variety of workouts in specific training zones. As much as the diversification of stimuli that is given to the body and, above all, the range of pulses and signals that will help the body during long racing seasons
This type of training plan is usually used until the daylight saving time starts , the moment of the year so awaited by all cyclists because it allows everyone to go back to ride bikes on roads, leaving the rollers at home.
Last fundamental piece of knowledge is about not making too long your turbo sessions, to avoid creating physiological imbalances due to an excessive loss of fluids. And, above all, it is vital to reintegrate them with drinks rich in mineral salts and on a regular basis (it is recommended a sip every 8-10 minutes). This way of reintegrate the fluids will prevent dehydration and the risk of slowing down your recovery between training sessions.