I'm glad that I took advantage of the day after Thanksgiving (sunny, high in the upper 50's to low 60's) to get in another 100 mile ride. I'll continue to get plenty of miles in over the next three months but too many of them will be on the trainer inside. It's boring but also the most important training of the year. i'll post updates on what I'm doing and why over the winter.
For the last few weeks my coach from Carmichael Training Systems, lets just call her Julia (after all, that is her name), has been assigning plenty of Power Intervals. These are 2 or 3 minute efforts at a cadence of 100 or even 110+ and the biggest power I can hold. The time between is the same as the time of the interval. We do from 6 to 9 intervals, usually two days in a row. Heart rate is usually reaching into zone 5 by the end of the interval. These are also called VO2 max intervals for that very reason. You're training your body to ride at your absolute maximum. This will be beneficial for other training later in the winter, the indoor time trial series I ride during the winter months, and for all events in 2012.
It always helps to ask yourself if you're competition is training this hard. Probably not, which is another reason to keep these on the calendar. As miserable as they can be I actually prefer them to hammering the really long steady state or time trial efforts when I'm riding inside. Must be an issue with keeping focused for those multiple 20 minute efforts.
The most recent edition of Tri-Athlete magazine has a brief article on strength training by Joanna Zeiger, Olympian, tri-athlete and Phd. She strongly suggests that master age athletes strength train 3-4 times per week in the winter and twice per week during the season. She recommends that your workout include explosive training (plyometrics--ask those attending my Indoor Endurance class about these--loads of fun!) and resistance training. Studies have shown improvement in sprint and endurance power, improved efficiency and increased time to exhaustion for running and cycling, and also an increase in VO2 max (your ability to use oxygen). If done properly, you wont bulk up! You will switch fat for lean muscle. Remember also that it's about lower reps, maybe 8-12, two to three sets, using a weight that is about 80% of your one rep maximum.