Cycling Training Tips

12 Week Cycling Winter Training Program

12-Week Winter Training Program - 2012 edition

What does winter mean to you as a serious cyclist? Curling up on the couch to watch TV? Hibernating until the season springs into life again?

Or do you view it as the perfect platform to start preparing for next season?

Yes, winter is the time to enjoy a break, have fun and allow your body to recover from the rigours of racing. But the off season should not mean the “switch-off” season.

If you are serious about improving your abilities on the bike, winter is the BEST time of year to steal a march on your competitors.

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Just imagine starting next season faster, fitter and stronger than your rivals?

But just how can you make the most of those cold, frosty months? Well, an exciting new e-book will show you the way.

The 12-Week Winter Training Program is the perfect winter warmer. It reveals how you can use your time most effectively during the off season and includes an exclusive training program that will get you up to speed, so you start next season in perfect mental and physical shape.

31 thoughts on “12 Week Cycling Winter Training Program”

  1. Pétur Þór

    Hi Jesper
    Thank so much for a great winter program. I would like to ask you about the very first training session. it says:

    “1 hour physical test”

    I use a Garmin Edge 705 for my training and I would like to know how you think it would be best to perform the test?

    Pétur Þór from Iceland

  2. Just to make the program clear:


    (Physical test)

    This means the physical test is optional. I will not recommend a specific test, because it depends on what your main goals are. If it is possible to get some power outputs from your physical tests that would be the best way to track your progress. But even without a power meter, it would be relevant to do a physical test. E.g. hill time trial.

  3. Hi Jesper. The Power Sprints – what duration should I aim for (for example 20 seconds)?
    Cheers Simon B.

  4. Hi jesper , thanks for the program , can i integrate weight training in this program ? i will race elite race (160kms) in February should i have to ride more hours per weeks with more endurance ride ?

  5. @Simon – 8seconds per power sprint is fine. That is training of neuromuscular power. If you do longer sprints of e.g 20 seconds you will train your anaerobic lactacid power. Such sprints should be kept until the pre-race season before your main events.

    @Chris – Yes, you can integrate weight training. Depending on how much time you would like to spend on your training routine, it is possible to integrate weight training into the winter training program. If I was your personal coach, I would recommend a larger training volume than the current winter training program does.

  6. Hi Jesper, Thanks for all the work you put into the plan!

    Can you offer some suggestions on how to translate the various intensity levels described in the plan to specific wattage ranges? Obviously powersprints are just as hard as possible, as well as shorter 40 second efforts, but what about the longer efforts?


  7. One more thing, how should these sessions be prioritized? If on short notice a rider only has time for 2 days in a given week for example, which type of rides should be dropped first? What should be taken into account when deciding which rides to omit?


  8. I have some questions or remarks about the winter training.
    Except the 40sec intervals at very high power (anaerobic, I suppose), all the intervals are at power above FTP, well above. From my experience, to do 3/4/6′ intervals the hard way without being all out, I need between 110 and 115% FTP (122% is my 5′ all out). So for me all intervals are based on VO2max power. I can live with 1 such training in winter, but 2? Group rides contain some more unstructured VO2max training, some that makes 3. I know these power are not all out VO2max power, but IMHO I think there should be more treshold for longer intervals. At 95/100% FTP. Convince me, please.

    Those easy rides on wednesday, are they recovery?

  9. Hi there.

    First of all thank you so much for a great winter plan. I’ve just started it to get in shape for the beginning of the season in March.

    My question is similar to one above. What wattages should semi-high, high, and very high be, relative to my 1m, 5m and 20m maximums? Also, what sorts of intensity should the Sat/Sun rides be?

    Thanks so much.

  10. A question about “Saturdays”, eg 2hrs — 4 x powersprint
    A powersprint takes only about 10 sec + 5 min recovery, so that makes it about 20 min riding, what about the rest 1h 40min? Just som easy riding?

  11. hi Jesper,
    great website.
    lots of good ideas and training prog.
    ive downloaded the winter training prog.
    im asking for you help,for my future years racing.
    im going for my 2nd cat this year,id like to ask for a train prog to get me the edge. 11.5 stone racing weight,35 years.
    approx time riding in a week 15-20 hours a week.
    i work part time.
    a strong sprinter.not to bad on the climbs,but im on the larger size.
    im crossing over to a power ive been meaning to over the past year.
    could you included power percentage for the power meters.
    if you require payment for my request,
    please send payment details.
    ps. keep on the great work Jesper

  12. Jasper!

    Yours 12 week training is really good. Iam just right on the end of this 12 week period. Do you have any further training plans for nex 3 months which may helps me to prepare for spring races??
    Please if so send me on my email.

    Best wishes
    Gregory UK

  13. Mete Tarik Salman

    Hi Jesper,
    Im Tarik,
    Impressive and motivating your work is.
    Im into freediving and recurve archery. Wasnt able to do my archery training a while due to an almost recovered shoulder injury.
    Just bought an indoor bike and im thinking to prepare for the dynamic apnea competition in may.Since its about taking and holding one single breath to do distances underwater what would be your training tips for me or the programme you think is suitable for my situation.
    Best wishes
    Mete Tarik Salman

  14. Pingback: Winter Cycling Tips

  15. Jesper..need some advice re the 12 week programme..have a friend who needs to keep his base over winter in Australia but during the week he travels with work etc.
    He can do the longer rides on weekend..any suggestions on the gearing we might select for the indoor trainer workouts in the 12 week programme? Rides 12 x 25 on a 53×39
    Has been riding for around 2 years o and off and is reasonably fit on the bike over longer rides if at a steady pace.
    Thanks Alan

  16. Pingback: Case Story: VO2 Max Power Increased 59W In 12 Weeks

  17. Hi Jesper

    Just echoing some of the above, some guidelines on ideal intensity vs FTP/LT for the intervals would be really great!

    Thanks and keeep up the great work!


  18. I have the same question as Bruno. Please can you explain why there is no threshold intervals in this plan. I’ve always associated winter training with building a base. Your pre-season plan includes threshold intervals at the start so why is this winter plan so exclusively intensive. I’m sold on VO2 intervals completely, having followed the 2-weeks VO2 plan with great results, but I’m puzzled how it’s OK to drop threshold intervals completely for such a long stretch of time.

    BTW, increasingly more of my training is based on the advice of this site, so many thanks for doing this.

  19. Hi,

    I’m loving the 12 week program….am currently training to ride from le havre to marseilles…….just one question…with the powersprints, how long do you suggest doing each of the sprints for?

  20. Hi,

    This program sounds very good. I have alredy started with it. Please, can you translate low, semi-high, high and very high intensity to watt? I don’t really understand the 3 x powersprint. and 1.5 hours. Please, can you exlplain in more details. Many thanks in advance.

  21. Hello,

    I live in a city where outdoor riding during the winter is next to impossible. I want to come out of the winter a better climber (I’m a road cyclist). What can you suggest to enhance that strength from this training schedule?

    Thanks in advance.

  22. Hi Jasper!
    I’ve started yout winter training and i have same question like Stefan and Torbjörn. This was my first saturday ride and i had to improvise your program (use more power sprints than joust 3) . I use stationary bike with polar heart rate monitor. I took 15 minutes of warmup, than 65 minutes of tough ride (biggest gear – i dont know what level is approximate to the gear 53/14-17) with power sprints of 8-10 seconds and 6 minutes of rest, than 10 minutes of cool down. Was that good or am i doing wrong?
    And endurance ride – since i use stationary bike and outside is too cold (snow included), how should i ride? Is that some structured training (for instance, 65% of my heart rate) or not?
    Thank you.

  23. Hi Jesper,

    I am using your 12 week indoor program but i have some missunderstanding. There is written that training is 1,5 h but aerobic training 3 all together make 1hour. What in rest time (30 minutes) I should do? Maybe some other can explain. Thanks a lot.

  24. Just a short but massive thank you for this schedule and especially the different interval programs. I applied them all, and I really could measure my progress.

  25. Pétur Þór

    Hi Jesper.

    I am going to utilize your wintertraining program this winter and am very excited to get started. I recently purchase an SRM powermeter and I would like to use that to my full extent. If I’m not mistaken your winter training program is mainly based on 4 different aerobic interval sessions and power sprints.

    In the program you don’t talk anything about specific intensitys. You say for instance “high-intensity” or “semi-high intensity”. how would you define “high-intensity” in % of lactate threshold.

    Would I be wrong to assume that it could look something like this:

    Semi-high intensity 85-90% of LT threshhold
    High intesity 90-105% of LT threshhold
    Very high intesity 100-130% of LT threshhold

    Power sprints would be full out for 8-10 seconds from a near stand still?

    If you cold clarify this for me I would be very thankful for it.
    Over and out from Iceland

  26. Thanks for the Winter program. Like others I will be using a Powertap and would just like some guidance on the workout intensities that you have identified: Sem-high, High, Very High – should these be a percentage of VO2 Max or LT? Any direction would be great. Thanks.

  27. Training twice a day , how would your training program look. also do you have any set programmes for twice day . Great site

  28. Hi Jesper!

    Greetings from Halmstad, Sweden.

    I am three weeks into the 12-week winter training program.

    My Polar Ownindex has gone from 42 to 44 in just these three weeks 🙂 Your program is working for me!


    Mats Carlsson

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