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Get your training in gear

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10 Nov 2020

dhb has all the clothing you need to keep you warm and dry this winter – and a training plan to help you put it all to good use

The combination of expert coaching and high-performance clothing from dhb means there really is no excuse not to get out on your bike and take your training seriously even in the cold or wet.

‘The best thing you can do for your winter training is to give it a structure,’ says Tim Elverson, owner, coach and sports director of the Canyon dhb p/b Soreen UCI Continental pro team. ‘This is quite simply the best way to progress.’

Building your base fitness is the place to start, he adds. ‘I coach a team to build for the race season, which, in a normal year, runs from February to early October. It’s essential my riders build a base to help them survive that period, which, apart from a short break in the summer, is pretty non-stop.’

Over three articles, Elverson will help you build your own winter regime, firstly by getting miles on the clock and then by suggesting ways of tailoring a structured training plan to your needs.

‘Your training will depend on your goal, whether you’re racing or whether your aim is simply to get fitter,’ he says.

‘But either way, your base fitness is key, so the first four weeks are the same for everyone. It’s only later on, in months two and three, that you may need to work in specific sessions for you. In a sense, you work backwards from your goal, but the first step is always the same, and that’s logging miles.’ 

The logic is sound. ‘Having a structured training plan is all about building, so you have to put the foundations in place first,’ Elverson says. ‘The second phase will build intensity, and the third and final phase adds a structure that’s specific to you, to work on your weaknesses and enhance your strengths.’

We’ve broken the three training plans down into months, but as a team Canyon dhb p/b Soreen actually works in six-week blocks: the first from mid-October to the beginning of December, then the second through to early January before the riders work on race-specific plans. 

You can extend these plans to six weeks as well, in this case by increasing the mileage in weeks five and six without upping the intensity too much.

‘OK, you don’t want to ride really slowly after week two, but all of your rides in the first phase should be at a reasonably low intensity,’ says Elverson.

And be patient – there’s plenty of time to make progress.


The Plan: Phase One

As strange as it sounds, the first thing to do is put your feet up. ‘If you’ve been racing or riding regularly you should start with a few days off,’ says Elverson.

‘Rest is so important, and you’re going to be working progressively harder over the next 12 weeks. Week two should involve spinning with your friends, and then increase mileage over the following two weeks.’

These rides all score 3/10 (easy-paced recreational riding, slight exertion), 4/10 (all-day paced riding, not easy but sustainable) and 5/10 (riding quicker but still able to talk easily) on the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale.

If you want to make like a pro and extend the plan over an extra two weeks, don’t go beyond 6/10 (upping the effort, only able to talk in short sentences) and only sustain that effort for rides of between one and two hours.

And you’re off!

A few extra tips to get you started:

  • Riding at low intensity teaches your body to use more oxygen more efficiently, burn more fat and produce more mitochondria, the parts of your cells that give you energy. It also strengthens your immune system, whereas training hard all the time can weaken it.
  • Aerobic activity like this builds your body, whereas hard efforts break down your body so it needs time to repair and adapt. This phase prepares your body for the bigger stresses to come.
  • These rides allow you to work on your skills, such as riding in a group, pedalling more efficiently and taking on fluid while riding.
  • Long, steady rides are also more sociable if you’re out with friends. You will motivate each other and you can explore new routes together.

Next time: how to up the intensity as well as the miles to build on your fitness foundations.

Visit www.wiggle.co.uk/dhb to see more of their winter training series

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