Question: I moved to Florida recently and enjoy the cycling here. I have ambitious ultra-distance goals for next season. I plan to do a brevet series starting in January and want to peak for a long event in July. Your eBooks have been very helpful, but I can’t figure out how to train in the “off season” down here. Traditional advice just doesn’t seem to apply when some of the best riding is in winter. What’s the right approach? — Ellen B.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: You’re lucky to live where you can ride year-round– and unlucky, too. Lucky in that you can retain cycling fitness through the winter and ride well in events starting in January. Unlucky because riding all year is a recipe for overtraining and stalled progress, if not burnout.
So you need to get out a calendar and count backwards from your goal events, starting in January and culminating in July. Take the “Preparation” and “Preseason” information from my training book and adapt it to your fitness, goals and time. Then plug them into your calendar.
For example, if you need 8 weeks of aerobic conditioning on the bike followed by 6 weeks of higher mileage and increasing intensity, then you’d start the schedule 14 weeks from your first event.
Be careful, though, because it’s a long time from January to July. The danger ofburnout in the summer is greater when you’re riding at a high level in the winter. First get a good base with easy-to-moderate rides, and mix in some other winter training (like weights) to vary your weekly routine.