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Winter Training Begins In Earnest

posted 17 Oct 2013, 02:07 by Kevin Monaghan
Winter Off-road Cycling Scene in Fagans
2013 has been another successful year for club members from the A-group with many achievements in both racing and tough touring/Audax challenges. It’s been a busy year and difficult to believe the winter is on our door step again.

For the past six years the A-Group has been using a plan to guide A-Group Winter/Spring training spins to prepare for the season ahead. In addition to the A-group Sunday spin guide there has been a Typical Training Plan each year to give cyclists new to structured training an idea of what a structured training plan involves – this is based on an A3 racing rider – the total weekly hours would be increased for an A2/A1 rider or reduced for an A4/Touring rider.

The plan uses a 3-training (work) weeks plus 1-recovery week cycle. This will give riders more recovery time during winter training.  The Base phases of the training year are the foundations of improving performance in the year ahead. To ensure riders will get enough Endurance work the first 3 weeks of the A-Group plan, as last year, are classified as a “Preparation Phase”. The Preparation Phase is the time when general endurance is worked on. It’s similar to the Base 1 phase but at a lower intensity. Typically a Preparation Period might not include much specific on-bike training but instead cross training such as running, hill walking, very light weight training or non-road bike activities like endurance MTB spins would be used to improve general endurance. As we are starting winter training in Mid-October, which is quite early, it gives us no excuses not to do complete steady base training miles.

The plan has been drawn up and refined over the past few years using information from a number of sources and training events and with the input and feedback from many experienced riders in the club. The Cyclists Training Bible by Joe Friel is an excellent source of information for anyone interested in learning more about training for cycling.

Some notes for Sunday A-Group riders during this Base Period
Rear mudguards are mandatory from November to February in the A-group. As well as keeping yourself warm, the rider behind you clean, it will also allow a proper 2-by-2 formation because the rider behind can sit directly behind you.For the majority of spins, especially where the plan is to go ride on hills, wind direction will not be a deciding factor in route selection. We should all be self-sufficient for food and water for the complete ride (2 Bottles + food). Eat and drink small amounts often. 

The target group size may be smaller, approximately 8 – 10 riders, which may necessitate a number of smaller groups going in the same direction with a small gap between. We will need to divide into groups of equal abilities to ensure the best training for you and the group you are with. Please don’t be offended if you are asked to join a different group as it may be needed to be done to ensure a smooth group pace or balance group sizes.

Do no more than 2 minutes at the front setting the pace. Be prepared for structured group work.Please note for the next 16 weeks the pace of the endurance spins should be steady with a focus on building endurance and strength, to do this the pace should be steady.The Sunday spin is best for building endurance and strength. Individual specific efforts outside this should not upset the groups pace.If you’re not currently riding with the A-group and you want to join now is the ideal time to try it out while spins are focused on building endurance. Come and talk to one of the A-group leaders about joining if you’re not sure.

To further advance the efficiency of A-group Sunday spins we will shortly release a document with the planned routes for all A-group Sunday spins for the Winter/Spring training program. These will be available to view and to download to Garmin type navigation devices so as ensure we don’t get lost (as often) and remove the necessity to give extensive detail on the route in advance of a spin starting. This will also ensure a good progression of duration and intensity from Sunday to Sunday – and as always include some roads less traveled!  Here’s to another successful training plan and to an even more successful 2014.

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