Why winter train so much?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by velomanct, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. velomanct

    velomanct New Member

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    Maybe it's just me, I've been into competitive cycling for almost 10 yrs since i was 14. I use to be very adamant about keeping up with training during the winter. But I've realized, it really doesn't matter - for me at least. As long as I keep riding at least a couple times a week (RIDING- you know, what cyclists did back in the day, no techno-structured-scientific purpose training), that come spring, I can hop on the bike 4/5 days a week and within a month be near top form if I wanted to be. Heck, even two hard weeks will have me moving pretty well.

    So with that said, I think it's almost a waste to go through all that mentally draining winter TRAINING (dreadful indoor torturefests, or super cold/wet horrible weather road rides that trash your bike.) I ride nearly yearround in new england here, but only on good days. That means I usually have 2-4 weeks of almost no riding. So what. Doesn't matter.

    I don't know, maybe the payoff is worth it for some. I just hope you enjoy it, otherwise it's kind of pointless.

    On a side note, this should be my last winter here! I am graduating school in May and despise winter, so I will be moving south!

    I guess my point is, a cat 4 living up north doesn't need to buy a $1000 indoor cycle and plan out every week of riding all winter long in order to race well in the spring with the goal of making it to cat 3 the following year.

    Enjoy your riding!
     
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  2. potenza

    potenza New Member

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    i think key words in your description:
    10years
    cat4

    you seem like you just like riding, thats great. however, many people want to improve. that might mean making it to the pro ranks, or maybe just beating their friends on group rides. with your system you probably see very little improvements year-to-year.
     
  3. velomanct

    velomanct New Member

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    You miscontrued my message. I mentioned cat 4s bc that is likely the typical user on this forum. I'm actually a 2, and quite happy with my success on the bike. I actually stopped pursuing road racing as a goal 3 years ago. I'm more into having fun on the bike while still being 95% as fast with MUCH less painful training.

    There are many pros who think like me though. Of course they probably arn't the top ones either, but still.

    As far as year to year improvement. I still don't think it's neccessary to put a lot of emphasis on winter training. In season training is sooo much more important. Once you reach a level, if is much easier to get back to that level after a long rest period, the next time you build up. As long as you keep riding with some intensity, you won't deteriate like many fear.

    That's great if there are guys here who have goals of being an elite amatuer or higher, but I think the majority are more interested in cat 3/4 racing or club riding. At these levels, I don't believe it's neccessary to put soo much effort into winter training. You run the likelyhood of burning out before the season gets in swing. That's all I'm trying to say.
     
  4. Bailsibub

    Bailsibub New Member

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    Velomanct, it will all make sense to you in 10 or 15 years.
     
  5. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I'm just a "recreational rider", but training hard is just my simple joy in life.Even if some kind of research study came out to back your statement I would still train hard in the winter. My desire is not to race, but even with my limited time my perspective is to put my body through near the level of those who compete.

    So why would a recreational rider like myself go through the rigors of training like this if I am not racing? Simply because I love training in a progressive manner. However, I have seen the payoff for me as the group that I ride with on the weekend is above my level and the last two winters of training hard has helped me gain some ground and stay with them a little better.

    Actually I find recovery days to be real irritating. I wish my body could handle training at a high level 7 days a week. On days that I don't train I don't sleep good that evening.
     
  6. wiredued

    wiredued New Member

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    I am actually more intense and improve FTP more during winter because there isn't much else to do in winter. I do it because I am riding faster in my 40s than I ever have and I'm not done yet. I have been around 280w most of this year now and I am sick of being below 300w so I am even more determined to break through that barrier by spring. There is also a competition going on at the gym on the virtual bikes this winter and it bugs me when some one in my age group is above me on the leader board:)
     
  7. Sikhandar

    Sikhandar New Member

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    Some facts. 1) Apart old school teachings about long rides ("manteinance work" :D) in winter, it is (*statistically*) demonstrated that who does long training in winters without forcing has (often) higher shape peaks during spring + summer

    2) For the amateurs who race "seriously", i.e. 1-2 times every weekend from late january to october, a month or a month and a half of "winter long rides" are helpful; they allow you i) to relax your mind with your friends and discover new places (something that is unusually done during the racing year.... and, again, it helps relaxing your mind) ii) to control your weight, and your general physical shape.

    The "mental relax" is very important... a Lampre rider told me that after the Lombardia they usually put the bike aside for 2-3 weeks, and then thay do some stages in hot places starting from half november (in those stages they work more or less depending on the team programme).
    If you don't get that fat (1-2 kg...) I think that you could also stop for a month... but keep an eye on the balance :p
     
  8. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    IOW, you found the pinnacle of your ability long ago and are now okay with a casual approach since the extra 5% wouldn't make a difference anyway. That's fine, but what's wrong with winter training for those who came into the sport later in life and are still making progress towards their goals?

    I guess if everyone just quit training then you wouldn't lose any more ground, but other than that I can't imagine why you would care whether others train during the winter or not. :confused:
     
  9. sgrundy

    sgrundy New Member

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    You might find, as someone who's been riding for 10 years, that you don't lose too much fitness during a short hiatus, but you're dead wrong to draw conclusions about cat4's on that basis. The longer you've been riding the less quickly you'll detrain during a period of inactivity. As someone who started riding last year, I had a month of almost complete inactivity (international trip) this January right before the beginning of the collegiate season. The effect on my fitness was disastrous and pretty much ruined my season. For new riders, riding consistently throughout the winter is key to avoiding detraining, making improvements from year to year and establishing a lasting base of fitness. It's also extremely important if you want to do well in early spring races.

    Edit: Oh, and by the way, some of us, even us Cat4's([​IMG]), actually enjoy structured training.
     
  10. blkhotrod

    blkhotrod New Member

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    for those that have 10 or less years to race/live, winter training is very enjoyable.
     
  11. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    I know exactly where you are coming from...I just love training. Sitting on the bike or playing with the weights and not feeling I pushed myself seems like a waste of time. This week has been a pain in the a$$ for me as I am finally listening to all the periodization talk and taking off a couple weeks and been putting in more hours at lower watts...2 hours at 160 both days this weekend....boring!

    Probably the reason I do not improve so lets see how this works out...love experimenting so lets have fun. Play with the diet and the weight lifting also.

    -js
     
  12. YMCA

    YMCA New Member

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    The OP is not saying he is against winter training for those that wish to, but that in most cases, an athlete could wait until the last couple months before the season and find race form just fine, without having to suffer through the months that don't matter.
     
  13. Piotr

    Piotr New Member

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    I just got off the indoor bike an hour ago after 2 hrs of SST (even though it was fairly nice outside), so I feel like you are addressing guys like me. Let me be blunt. I just like to beat myself up and make the WKO+ charts look good. If that's what I like to do, why would I stop during the winter?

    :D:D:D
     
  14. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    I suspect some particularly talented racers might be able to get away with that. But I strongly disagree that most racers could blow off winter training, wait till a few months before important events and race well. I've come into seasons with scant base after injuries or work interruptions and have raced seasons with good preseason preparation. The difference is night and day for me.

    I'm not doubting it could work for some, I remember George Mount coming out of retirement in the early '90s and blowing the doors off the NorCal masters even though he was visibly out of shape. But for most folks winter is the time to build core metabolic fitness and to build a deep training base regardless of the base building philosophy they subscribe to. Skip that foundation work and it's easy to find yourself playing catchup all season.

    But please, if you're racing masters races around here I strongly urge you to skip winter base building. There's plenty of time to get your fitness tuned up once racing starts :rolleyes:

    -Dave
     
  15. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    what winter? :p
     
  16. velomanct

    velomanct New Member

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    Thanks dude. You summed it up better than I did!
     
  17. velomanct

    velomanct New Member

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    Maybe it's because I'm young (23) and relatively "seasoned", that I can hop on the bike in the spring after little winter riding, and in less than a month be able to mix it up with the big boys (1/2s) haha....please don't take that as bragging. I'm decent but not great in the local scene.

    I haven't put my mind to serious road training since 05 actually (haven't really raced since either). Maybe one of these days I'll get around to seeing what I got.
     
  18. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Velomanct,

    I'm not sure exactly how good you are - but if you can't mix it up in the local scene then how can you mix it with the "big boys." Maybe your definition of "big boys" differs from mine.

    The deal with winter training is that you can get a huge amout of steady aerobic training that you can't during the racing season. For me that was many hours at 23, 24 mph up and down the A6, A580 etc... or when it was too cold and snowy in the garage for 12 to 15 hours a week in 54x14 at 175bpm. When I lived back in England, from late Feb to early Nov it was either road racing or time trailing almost every saturday or sunday and then an evening 10 (or during mid June/July a 25) in the middle of the week - there's no time for getting in a high quality set of high end aerobic training during the summer if you race lots. Get it while you can and when you're going for it 5 or 10 miles out, be happy that you spent all those winter months getting ready for "that" moment.
     
  19. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    You kept an average HR for that many hours a week during the winter when training?

    Wow, I can only see that type of HR once in a while...I do not know why but my HR can only go that high during VO2...my L4 intervals I do not think go that high. Probably not a good thing...

    -js
     
  20. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    I agree 100% with your feelings. There is no better feeling to me in the gym when I get off the trainer and I have puddles around me. I get all the stares in the world and people decide not to train next to me. I have what I call my "soggy socks" test. If I do not leave the gym with my socks soak and wet than I did not have a good workout with the ERG. It gives you a certain high for sure when you have a good workout.

    The one down side are my poor sneakers...god do they smell. It does clear the area for the bike for me to use....:D

    -js

    I was and still a bit of a slave to WKO but this year I am pulling back a bit as it drives me a bit daffy after a while.
     
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