With the weather outside getting better it's time to start thinking about puttnig the turbo trainer back in the shed, cancelling your Zwift subscription for a year and getting back on the roads.
Even if you have braved the roads throughout the British winter you will no doubt be looking forward to some more mild weather as you look to increase your training workload to get race fit, or even just to consolidate on the work you have put in over the winter.
Base miles are great for maintaining fitness in the colder months, but now the real work begins. It's likely that you have already set your goals for the year, you may already have completed some events if you are into MTB or cyclocross, but for roadies the majority of goals will be centred around the spring and summer.
Here are our top tips for starting to ramp up your training plan:
Check your race/event calendar
Depending on your yearly goals, you need to weight your training appropriately so you peak at the right time. If you have a main objective set for September, there's no point training super hard in March, April and May as you will have already peaker by the time the event comes around.
Work out your calendar of events and then structure your training accordingly, taking time to make sure you have enuogh training sessions to reach peak performance again between events.
Increase workload gradually
Going from doing 2 rides of base miles at around 20-30 miles each per week to training 5 days a weak with HIIT and FTP sessions will not do you any good and you are likely to give yourself an injury.
Gradually increase your training workload at a comfortable pace, ensuring you leave enough time to recover between training days. These sessions should be light at first to stimulate your body to get used to simply being on the bike more often, before eventually incorporating a higher intensity ride into your calendar.
Interval training is an excellent way to get yourself race fit, and can be built into base mile rides as you look to increase your efforts in training. Start with a few short sprints - Strava might even be able to help you out here with some sprint segments that are already on your training route.
Eventually the aim is to develop dedicated interval sessions which would be short, intense rides designed to get yoru muscles used to short periods of intense effort.
Group rides - Race Scenario and Racecraft
Group rides will help get you used to riding in a group again. It may be that you have ridden with the club throughout the winter, but if you've ridden alone all winter this is a great way to get used to the peloton environment again.
These rides also allow you to creare a race style scenario to help you with your racecraft for manouvering inbetween riders and getting the best position for cornering, sprint finishes etc. Many cycling clubs do a 'chaingang' ride which helps to develop these skills on a fast ride.
Rest and recovery
With all this extra training it is important to account for rest days to let your body recover. Training for 5 days in a row without a recovery day is pointless as you will exhaust yourself and any gains made in the week will be lost.
Recovery should be supplemented by your diet which should also be changed as you increase your workload. Eat more protein to help your body recover and, if you still want to lose a few pounds before the race season, cut out carbohydrates to get to your race weight.