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How much is enough:80/20 Winter Training

How much is enough:80/20 Winter Training

Riding in the sunshine is easy, put a jersey on, quick bike check, keys, money, phone and go… Then it starts getting dark, cold and wet you have to force yourself to get out. Why bother? Do you really need to train through the winter?

If I knew then, what I know now
Reading a training book from 1981, which boldly stated, “you cannot do too much training for endurance events.” Which is clearly bollocks, as the benefits of rest and recovery have been scientifically proven and adopted by professional athletes from all disciplines. Recovery drink and lots of kip however does seem to work. But I do draw the line at wearing tights around the house.

Bring back the social season
I’ve asked members of the old guard, most of whom don’t even believe in drinking water while riding, let alone stretching or compression tights.

Historically everyone (including pros) stopped riding in October, let their legs get hairy, spent the rest of the winter drinking, dancing and courting… Since everyone did it, everyone was flabby and unfit come spring. Then some sad gits started riding through winter.

80/20 training the next big thing
I’m going out on a limb here but I’m going to suggest that the Pareto principle could be applied to winter training. Also known as the 80/20 rule the Pareto principle has been applied to everything from criminology to economics.

The oracle that is Wikipedia explains it as: The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

Researchers have found the following examples:

  • * 80% of crimes are committed by 20% of criminals.
  • * 20% of the input creates 80% of the result
  • * 80% of your profits come from 20% of the time you spend

2 hours a week

I'm hedging my bets that the next big thing will be recovery. So in the spirit of scientific research, I’m going to apply this principle to my training this winter.

Pro riders ride 15-20 hours per week! so lets set the bar at about 10 for the rest of us (on a good week) 20% of that is a mere 2 hours a week I have to ride from October to March.

So while you lot are all freezing and wet through I’ll be either in bed or on the sofa. Come spring I’ll either be flying or suffering like Cavendish in the Alps.

Planet X staff had the following to say about recovery and winter training:

“I did 500 miles one Winter on a turbo, I was bored as f*ck”” - Ian

“I once did 60 miles in one Turbo session – Just so he could be in good shape for a training camp in Majorca in Feburay”- Ian

"I rode 60 mile yesterday with one 750 ml bottle, got back only had time for a chunky kit-kat and a shower" - Mr L

The video below highlights the dangers of indoor training.

Tell us about your winter training plans, old-wives tales, horror stories and what your going to be riding this winter? Use the comment box below, Facebook or Twitter: @planetxbike

26 August 2011


  • Kirk

    Personally, I'll be crankin & smashin it in the Alps this winter. intersted to see how the Guru stands up to it. recon I'll come back with a creaking wobly crank?

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