Cycling Training Tips

The Story Behind the 12-Week Winter Training Program

Now it is more than four months since I launched the updated version of my famous 12- week winter training program.

However, the 12-week winter training program has been available since 2007 as a free version.


Because having thousands of users leaving feedback for me about this training program, I’ve gained more information than I can get through individual coaching.

Because so many riders tried my different versions of the winter training program (and gave me essential feedback), I have developed the ultimate winter training concept.

The old version didn’t have any training zones for pacing but used generic terms to describe intensity: ‘hard,’ ‘very hard,’ etc. That way, all cyclists could use the winter training program (and leave feedback for me).

However, it has also been my experience that many cyclists misunderstood vital parts of my training strategy. For example, most riders use a heart rate monitor during training as their primary tool for pacing during intervals. That’s an excellent tool for pacing, but it is now clear that I should have been more precise about what intensities I wanted people to train with during the winter.

12-Week Winter Training Program is packed with information

The 12-week winter training program is a training program and an e-book packed with additional information about the reasoning behind the training program. There are more than 102 pages in the new version. Here you can increase your knowledge about the strategies I use in the 12-week winter training program.

Now I’ve found a couple of unique training methods that help a broad range of riders. And it is easy to customize, so it fits into your daily life. So the training structure I recommend benefits elite riders and 60-year-old recreational riders. It is a training system that has been helpful to people who have “seen it all” when it comes to cycling training.

One more thing that I’ve learned from my readers is that every individual is an individual. We are all different. We all have other physiological talents, different goals, and perspectives.

And that’s why I decided to offer individual email support for this training program because I can help people achieve their goals (and continue to gain information about what challenges people struggle with).

Take, for example, Jakob Bering.

He is not a standard athlete.

He represented the Danish National team as a U23 rider, won the team competition in Tour de l’Avenir, 2x gold medal at MTB Junior National Championships, etc.

Not exactly your “average” person, is he?

Probably, he’s the rider who has tried most (if not all) of my training programs and strategies.

This winter, I decided to let him try the 12-week winter training program as it would work for all other athletes who download this e-book.

And here’s what he says:

”It is easy to understand and read the training program. There are challenging intervals sessions three times per week and it is easy to combine these interval sessions with for example indoor cycling, spinning or mountain bike training. Currently I train app. 7hrs per week and feel very competitive even though my training volume has been less than 1/3 of many of my competitors.”

Jakob Bering

There you have it. Proof that the 12-Week Winter Training Program is NOT just more of the usual suspect info.

It is no secret that Jakob Bering knows my training philosophy in and out, so it wasn’t a big surprise for me that he liked the program.

Thus, it has been even more enjoyable for me to see that so many other riders have improved their endurance this winter 2011/2012.

Here are a few more testimonials:

Well, I finished the winter training program and am now starting the first week of the pre-season training program. Last night (Tues), I decided to go up and ride with the club on their race ride to see how I was performing relative to the group, and my past (relative) performance.  To summarize: I was able to fit right in with the racers-something I could NEVER fully achieve in the past!  I was thrilled with the improvement, with several racers taking note of my improvements and asking if I was training in the winter.  That was a great feeling!  πŸ™‚

I noticed my HR was significantly lower than in the past-staring mostly in my endurance range or in my sub-threshold range-rather than how it was in the past (nearly all in the sub-threshold or threshold range, creeping up into the V02max range before I would blow myself up and get dropped). I also noticed my HR would recover much quicker and to a lower range than in the past. In short: my fitness has obviously improved greatly! I’m thrilled.

Sean Haggerty

I’ve followed the plan to the letter with a minor blip on Valentine’s day
πŸ™‚ and my threshold power has increased by 60 watts (30%) My average power output with general riding is also up by 25%. Amazing what a little focus can do.

Mark Wright

This book is well laid out, provides the relevant detailed information for a rider from 4th through to 1st Cat, to structure and develop themselves and their commitment to training and racing into a productive and professional system. We would recommend this book to all levels of cyclists. Enjoy the miles!

Jonathan Gibson,

Download your copy now

The 12-week winter training program is available at $17. Since this price includes free email support from me, it should also be evident for everyone that you get value for money. And at $17, it is a bargain: in fact, it costs less than a decent cycling helmet.

Download the 12-week Winter Training Program

6 thoughts on “The Story Behind the 12-Week Winter Training Program”

  1. The 12 week training program gave me structure to my off season workouts. I’ll use it again next year, worth the money.

  2. Hey everyone

    I also followed the program this winther. Absolutely loved it. Have moved up in the internal club peleton significantly. I like the structure and the intervals – having a hard time finding time for the long endurance rides. My vo2max was 59 during a test last month. In my agegroup that is just below World elite. Thank you very much Jesper.

  3. Does this program rely on having a power meter? Does it use a HRM?

    It would be good to know what to expect and this blog post doesn’t do it.

  4. @Dan – Most riders use heart rate monitors as their primary pacing tool for the 12-week winter training program.

    I agree that power meters are invaluable tools for pacing control and interval sessions and are especially useful for tackling time trials.

    But the bottom line is that they are not necessary. And you certainly don’t need one to tackle the 12-week winter training program.

    Interval sessions can be performed using just a heart rate monitor. It is clear that most of my readers do, and only one in seven tend to use a power meter like SRM or Powertap.

    Of course, something as crucial as pace control is easier to do with a sophisticated power meter. However, in most cases, it is possible to learn how to find the correct pacing for sub-threshold /threshold/VO2 max intervals using a heart rate monitor.

    If possible, I recommend riders use an ergometer bike to track their progress before / after entering the training program. It’s an easy and reliable (and affordable) way to get access to info about your current fitness.

  5. Thank you! I only own a HRM right now and am on the line about the power meter. I understand their utility but I’m not convinced the price is worth it. If I can perform this program with just an HRM I will be buying it.

  6. I couldn’t be happier with the results from using Jesper’s 12 week winter training program. When I started the program, I had a peak 20 minute power of 168w (I’m very small and light at only 60.5 kg for initial test, 59.0 kg for final test) and couldn’t complete the full 30 minute test because I blew up. This equated to a 2.77 w/kg rate. At the end of the program, I retested at 202w for 20 min, which equaled 3.42 w/kg, which was an improvement of 20% over my baseline test! I was hoping to maybe raise my power up to 180w-if things went well, but was thrilled to see my power increase as much as it did. I followed the program as best as possible, but had limited time so I never did the weds rides as 4 training days a week was all my life could sustain.

    Shortly after the program was over, I entered my very first race (a super criterium on an automobile road race course of 1.7 miles). My goal was simply to not get dropped by the pack, to stay near the front (if possible), and watch the race clues from my friend (a much stronger rider than myself). Being a sprinter I knew it was vital for me to pace myself during the race and only do the work needed to stay positioned well without doing anything extra. I hadn’t had a whole lot of illusions about doing well my first race, so I hadn’t really given much thought to sprinting for final placing. Well, as it turns out, my friend who I was watching for race clues, ended up winning the race, and I was not far behind taking 9th place overall! Looking back at the pictures, it is also very clear that I got boxed in by a ‘wall’ of 5 riders spread across the track coming down the final straight-which prevented me from even sprinting at all. Given my strength at sprinting, I would have easily passed this ‘wall’ of riders before the finish line, thus placing in the top-5 for the race, if not even better. After this race, I was hooked and still very much in disbelief at my newfound fitness level.

    Since then, I’ve attended several group ‘race rides’ with the local club. In the past 2-3 years I could never hang with the group for a full ride as my aerobic and threshold fitness just wasn’t up to task. This year, it’s a whole different story! I can not only hang with the racers now, but am finally getting the confidence to even contest (and win!) some of the ‘stop-ahead’ sprints! I would never even attempt these sprints in the past because I knew I would blow up and just get dropped after sprinting. Now however, my HR drops very quickly and recovery occurs while I’m riding back in the pack-within a very short time. The transformation has caught the attention of several racers in the pack who’ve asked me several times if I’ve been training over the winter, and others making comments to the end that I’m a ‘totally different rider’ this year.

    In summary, this program is easily worth 5 times the money and the results are beyond expectation (for me anyway). I had very limited time to train this winter-never exceeding 8 hours of training any given week, and mostly more like 5-6 hours total/week. However, they were very specific, targeted training hours that were very purposeful, and the results speak for themselves.

    Jesper has also benen very good about providing email support to answer the few questions I’ve had. I can’t recommend this program highly enough! Thanks Jesper!!!

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