Back on November 1st, 2011 we kicked off the cycling winter plan version 3.0 at www.beginnertraithlete.com, a free plan I began offering 3 years ago and one which has focused on helping athletes improve their critical power or heart rate pace at maximum lactate steady state (MLSS).
Over the past years those athletes who have followed the plan consistently, have achieved great results improving their power/speed around ~15% over 14 weeks of training. This year I updated the plan with some new workouts and a slight different progression addressing different intensities to maximize physiological training adaptations and allow athletes improve their fitness more efficiently.
The plan officially ended last week though some athletes started the program later or will start at a later date; still, those athletes who already completed the plan began posting their results and yet again, those who follow their plan consistently achieved great results! This years the improvements have ranged between 12% to 20% power/speed improvements over 15 weeks on no more than 4-6 hrs of cycling training per week.
The plan by itself is nothing special or something anyone with simple understanding of training concepts and basic physiology couldn't do. The plan simply address different important adaptations and it is based in nothing more than consistent training. In other words, those who have the drive and motivation to do the work, can and undoubtedly will improve their Critical power or HR at MLSS.
This plan is focused for those athletes with a limited amount of training time and/or those leaving in places with tough winters where riding outdoors can be challenging early in the year. In other words, this plan can help people with tight schedules and also, it will complement most athletes' needs with different racing goals from sprint to Ironman distances.
Still, for our personalized programs the training load distribution can and will vary based on the athlete's specific needs, goals and annual season planner. That said, working towards improving one's critical power (or FTP or HR at MLSS or...) is one of the most important adaptations any endurance cyclist will need and should focus on in spite of their training phase whether increasing it or maintaining it.
Anyway, among the many riders who have been following the winter cycling plan and experiencing great improvements was Nate Thomas who participated at the Boston Triathlon Team Indoor Time Trial 2011 and went to finish 3rd overall in the open men category against a very strong local competition (great job!).
If you are looking to improve your cycling, check out our Online Coaching which follows the same principles as the winter cycling plane. Or even better, you can consider our personalized coaching programs for cycling, running and/or triathlons were you will beyond doubt improve even more! Don't miss another personal best...