Unlike my more hard-core athlete friends, I can't simply do hard, indoor workouts for the sake of doing hard, indoor workouts. They aren't the least bit fun. And I find that there's absolutely no point in killing yourself in the middle of winter when your first event isn't until the middle of spring. Seems like a waste of time and energy, really.
I don't mind training hard, but I need a reason, a goal to work toward.
(Frankly, I've come to think of the winter months as the Universe giving me permission to do something besides ride/train/race. Call me undedicated, but there's more to my life than just working out. And cold, dark days are perfect for kicking back, imbibing in a drink, catching up on my growing reading list, and pursuing other interests that don't make me sweat so much.)
But all that is over now. I have a reason.
On February 26, 2011, I will be riding the Furnace Creek Century*, which is a timed event (but not a race) that starts around 200 feet below sea level, and peaks at about 1300 feet before turning around and coming back through some of the most devastatingly beautiful scenery in the United States.
*I'll be riding with Jill Marks. We've set a goal to finish in under 7 hours total.
Last year, I got ready for a week of AdventureCorps cycling by following Chris Carmichael's "Time Crunched Cyclist" plan. By following the plan, I started my ride season in excellent form (considering that I was pulled out of the cold, snow, and darkness of a Cleveland-style February and plunked down in the middle of some challenging California desert riding).
I'll be following the 'Experienced Century' plan, which means 6+ hours per week on the windtrainer. For those of you who think 6 hours isn't painful enough, think again. The workouts are intense: lung-busting, leg-crushing, highly-focused sessions meant to optimize training time.
All the sessions are based on your own personal power or intensity (heart rate) data. A field test (described in detail in the book) tells you how to figure out your max heart rate and all the zones that you'll be training in throughout the plan. WAY better, in my opinion, than going to a spinning class where some goon of a coach tells you to push harder when you know you're already at your maximum intensity. I'll have my massive coronary on my own time, thank you very much.
9 weeks to Death Valley. 9 weeks of training. Tonight, I get to ride for 90 minutes, mostly at 'endurance' intensity but with some longer steady state intervals thrown in just to keep things interesting. When things get tough, I'll just visualize myself flying up Jubilee Pass...
What does your winter training consist of?
Do you follow any particular plan?
Do you set goals?
Tell me all about it in the comments section...