Planning Ahead - Starting to think about training for Spring & Summer

Planning Ahead

Tips, advice and musings from Nikalas Cook – Consultant with British Cycling and author of the Road Cycling Performance Manual. Lover of cobbles, gravel and Siberian Pine – not so keen on climbs!




Reaching the autumnal equinox, it’s a good time to take a look back at your spring and summer of cycling and start planning forward through the winter and towards next spring, summer and hopefully some exciting events and goals.

To say it has been a strange year is a massive understatement but there’s no doubt that cycling has helped to keep me sane and, although the future might be uncertain, I’m going to plan and train for 2021 regardless. You don’t need to be drilling into the specifics of individual workouts at the moment but you should be thinking about when your main goals are in 2021 and how you can best prepare for them.

Take for example London to Paris 2021. It might seem a long way off but it’s only 42 weeks away.


Allow yourself a few weeks off structured training – always a good idea, maybe losing a few weeks due to Christmas, inevitable cold/flu or a holiday and you’re suddenly down to 36 weeks or, in terms of training, X3 12-week blocks – alternating 3 weeks on and one week recovery.


Block 1, through to the New Year, should focus on strength, mobility, some mid-range higher intensity efforts and keeping your endurance ticking over. There’s no need for massive slow and steady winter mileage in the name of “base building” but more on that tomorrow. This period is about consistency and, most importantly, staying healthy.


Block 2, should carry on from Block 1. You might want to start upping the volume a bit but, given that this is likely to be worst time of year weather wise, again, there’s no need for big miles. I’d actually up the intensity a bit, increase your engine capacity and wait for spring to up the mileage.


Block 3, through spring and into summer – this is when I’d start doing some solid endurance rides, sportives, back to back long days and, if you’re planning to trouble the leaderboards on London to Paris, some focussed efforts within those rides.


Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be putting together and publishing a 12-week HotChillee Winter Warmer training plan for that first block.


Nikalas Cook