Before togging up and heading out the door it’s important to take a few basics into consideration. How long are the events that you plan to tackle come spring and summer next year and how much time can you realistically dedicate to your training whilst still maintaining a healthy work-life-ride balance? With this identified it’s now time to start planning your base training.
Whatever your goal, it’s important to increase the length of your endurance rides slowly over several weeks. Whilst it can be tempting to try and grind out a much longer ride than you’re used to straight away, in the long run gradually building your base will help give you more consistent form with fewer ups and downs. So, if you’re training for long sportives, say anything from between 70 and 100 miles, then you’ll want to be confident that come the springtime you’ve got a good base to put the finishing touches on as the season approaches. It doesn’t mean that you have to sit on the road week-in-week-out all winter riding 70 to 100 miles each time.
Another point to consider is to work with time rather than distance, increasing ride duration in half hour increments. The ever changing elements that we have to deal with throughout the winter, including temperature fluctuations, rain and worst of all the nemesis of every cyclist, wind, can easily add half and hour or more to your 50 mile ride from one week to the next should they conspire against you all at once. You always know where you stand with time. Whatever you decide, consistency is the key. Regular riding with gradual incremental increases in time is what’ll see you riding stronger and more consistently come the new season.