Winter is the most important phase of training for cyclists; it is pivotal to prepare the body’s aerobic system to build a base to prevent fatigue come mid-season. If periodized correctly, you can ensure your base protects you from whatever the racing season will throw at you.

Base training is the name given to the training that teaches your body to utilize oxygen as efficiently as possible. Base training rides are typically long and steady, undertaken at a moderate intensity, which allows your body to make the necessary adaptations.

Winter, therefore, is the perfect time to build your base.  If coupled correctly with specific efforts, utilizing the correct energy systems will guarantee success post-Christmas.

It’s a good idea to always kick-start your next phase of training with an aerobic assessment test, such as the 20-minute FTP test (functional threshold power). This ensures specific training zones going forward and helps optimize success throughout your training.

Typically winter training starts on the first of October for most but this may differ depending on your “A” race next year. I would always recommend a solid foundation of three to four months of aerobic foundation work pre-race season.

However, this needn’t be boring; mix it up and enjoy your cycling, going out with friends, long club rides and most importantly the odd effort to keep your heart guessing is pivotal to your success!

Below is a typical aerobic session whilst keeping your body guessing (Mhr = Maximum heart rate):

25 min build warm up

15 mins @ 75-85% Mhr or 89-94% FTP

5 mins recovery 92-97rpm-Z2 Hr

15 mins @ 75-85% Mhr or 89-94% FTP

5 mins recovery 92-97rpm-Z2 Hr

20 mins Tempo 75-85% Mhr or 76-90% FTP

15 min Cooldown (92-97rpm)

For those that wish to increase strength endurance, a vital aspect of cycling try this workout:  

20 mins build warm up

5 mins @70rpm and 85% MHR or 90%FTP

5 mins @94+ RPM at 50% MHR or <54% FTP

Repeat five times, or this can be extended or shortened to reach the desired effect.

If you’re looking for an easy way to track your heart rate, try the Wahoo TICKR. Find even more winter training tips on our blog!

Michael is the head coach and founder of Bikestrong UK. He is a physiology obsessed TrainingPeaks guru who is always looking for that extra edge; both with mental and physical performance marginal gains. Michael mentors coaches and athletes worldwide. He has worked with many established athletes and teams bringing home national medals.  Michael manages a team of elite riders and coaches alike with more than 15 years of experience in the industry.


  1. Kevin

    February 21, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Can you create this workout and push it to our Wahoo Elemnts?


    • Wahoo Fitness

      February 21, 2018 at 11:27 am

      You sure can. Just create the workout in Training Peaks and authorize your TP account with the ELEMNT app. The workout will automatically be available on your ELEMNT. Hope this helps.


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