3 Critical Trainer Workouts for Winter


The weather is a bit colder, and many are heading indoors to spend some quality time with their pal the trainer. Your relationship with your trainer may be a sort of “love/ hate,” like mine with Mr. CycleOps. It’s annoying to spend time indoors, when you know you could be out soaking in the sun and air. But, the trainer can be efficient and almost comforting. It will be there rain or shine, and it is our ticket to a great off-season.

Often times, you are just looking to stay fit and maintain a base over the winter. Other times, you would actually like to IMPROVE your fitness and endurance over the winter. Either way, these 3 key workouts will help you get through the colder or time-pressed days. These are the 3 staple workouts to think about that will help you get there.

I also added some songs for each workout to set the tone, and help get you motivated for 2017!


1. Threshold (Building Power).


Workouts focused on power are critical if you would like to maintain or improve fitness over the winter months. Training at or just below your functional threshold power is one of the most efficient ways to actually improve your endurance for mid to long distance races. Threshold effort should be about equal to the steady effort you would exert during an hour long race.


Sample workout:

Warm up 10 mins

All done at high cadence flat road (80-110 rpm)

5 x 6 min threshold ‘over-unders’

4 mins easy spin rest in between

2 min just under threshold, 1 min over threshold effort (repeat twice for one 6 minute interval)

You can increase intervals to 12 minutes long as you improve or to build endurance. Alternatively, you can reduce rest from 4 minutes to make the workout harder.

10 min cool down

A song for building those legs: Disclosure – When a Fire Starts to Burn


2. VO2 max.


Vo2 max workouts are performed at the effort where your body uptakes maximal amounts of oxygen. This works out to be about 110-120% of your threshold effort (see above). Although our VO2 max, or ability to uptake oxygen is largely determined by genetics, there is still some wiggle room to improve. Training at this effort is uncomfortable, but doing it from time to time will help you stay as fit and fast as possible.


Sample workout:

Warm up 15 min

4-6 x 4 min at VO2 max

4 min rest in between

15 minute cool down

A pump up song for high intensity: Fedde Le Grand – Put Your Hands Up For Detroit


3. Recovery


Yes, it seems a bit odd to have recovery as one of the most critical workouts, but it is. Too often when training we try way too hard to have a great and effective workout every single time. This is a problem because the body actually needs active recovery. It will help the muscles recover, while maintaining good form and muscle memory. Even if it feels hard, throw in an easier workout once a week if you are training a lot.


Sample workout:

Warm up 15 mins (can do single leg drills, 30 s each leg for 5 mins)

5 mins aerobic (a slightly easier pace than tempo)

1 min easy

4 mins tempo (a pace you could hold for a long race)

1 min easy

3 mins above tempo (slightly harder, go by feel)

1 min easy

Now go back down the pyramid (starting with 3 min above tempo)

Intervals can be adjusted for a longer workout

15 min cooldown

A softer tune for a recovery day: Frenship – Capsize



Honorable Mention: Hill workout


Some may disagree with this, but personally, I find doing a hill workout a great way to mentally shake things up when the weather is bad. Adding hills will reduce the monotony of hours indoors, and you can even visualize ascending your favorite hill. On top of this, hills can actually serve as a VO2 max workout or a power building workout, and help to maintain leg strength. Put on a pump-up song and hit the hills!


Sample workout:

Warm up 10 mins

3-4 x 6 min (3 min flat tempo, 3 min hill hard effort seated and then standing for the last minute optional)

3 min easy spin in between

3 x 1 min hard seated hill (~60-80 rpm)

1 min easy in between

10 min cool down

A tune for hillspiration! Pink- Just Like Fire

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