How Can I Get Fitter In Winter? | Ask GCN Anything

How Can I Get Fitter In Winter? | Ask GCN Anything


(dramatic sound effects) – Hello and welcome to Ask GC Anything. – This week we have got
loads of questions relating to winter training from
indoor training Zwift, how to build your FTP, and much more. – Yeah, that’s right and if you want to submit questions for us to answer next week,
remember you just have to use a hashtag torqueback
down in the comments section or in social media or to be in the shot at getting your hands on a
three month free subscription to Zwift, use the hashtag askgcntraining and those are the specific
training questions. – Yeah I reckon we should crack
on with the first question. – We should. – So we got a question
come in from Peter Gron. Hi GCN, I’m attending the
sportive la Marmotte next summer and I’m planning to use Zwift
for the first three months next year to get my training started. My question is what kind of
training should I focus on? I’m built like a sprinter like
Chris Opie or John Travolta. – Like me. – Not like you. And okay at climbing, but slow. So can you mention any
specific workout sessions, group rides, races that I can do? – Well, firstly can I say
Peter I’m quite jealous. The Marmotte is a fantastic
sounding sportive, but tough. Don’t forget it finishes up Alpe D’Huez. So I would focus on
probably building your FTP as much as you can. So that’s kind of your
theoretical maximum average power that you can sustain for one hour and it’s really, really important for when riding up long alpine climbs because you get to the top, but maybe even in the same time, but it will mean that you’re
expending less effort. So the stronger you are, the easier it is to ride up Alps basically. And I would’ve thought that’d be crucial. Maybe not somebody who’s on Zwift, but later in the year as
you get close to the event, what I would also focus on is making sure you can actually get that FTP out at the end of a long ride because, you know, if you
got to go up Alpe D’Huez, you want to be making sure that you can still ride really hard after four tough hours on the
bike, so some longer stuff. But yeah, on Zwift, I’d
go for the FTP build. – Yeah and if you want to get a benchmark, so nowhere your FTP is now, make sure you look at this
video where Si goes through how to actually do an FTP test. – Notice that I’m standing
next to John who is going through the FTP test. I didn’t do it. – Copped out. – Yeah. Now the reason for doing
a test like an FTP test is that knowing that piece of
information is really important in being able to train
in the most efficient and productive way possible. And John is of course
doing a Haute Route event in the summer, which is
a multi-day cycling event in super mountainous terrain. (dramatic sound effects) It is Black Friday as this video goes up so we have some mega
deals on in the GCN shop. We have a limited edition range,
the edition metallic range, but a warning because it is limited. We’ve actually already
sold out of the socks. So sorry about that, but loads of other amazing stuff in the range still
available, but get in quick. – Yeah and do remember it’s
made by the same quality now of our whole GCN range. So there’s no difference,
just yeah you get that amazing gold finish. – Next question. This one comes in from Taylor Leavitt. He said that when he trains inside, he becomes desensitized
to the feeling of riding up a hill. He feels that his body gets
used to riding his bike on level ground. So how often should he
raise his front wheel up on a block to mean that his
bike is actually on an angle? James, what do you think about this? – Well, to be honest, when
I did my indoor training, I just kept it on my bike parallel. So I put a block underneath,
I would keep the bike parallel and I never really changed it. I spent a lot of time out on the road, so I wasn’t spending day in,
day out on indoor training. So I never really got
a desensitized feeling when going out on the road. So yeah, but if you were actually thinking about wanting to switch up
your position and your bike, then the Wahoo Kickr Climb is out there. That would be a perfect fit for you, but there is other ways
you can prop your bike up. – Yeah it’s funny. We’ve actually done a little
bit of research into this at GCN, video coming out soon where we tested whether
or not there is an effect on how you ride your bike
when you’re on an angle. I won’t spoil the surprise actually. I’m just gonna leave it there dangling, but anyway, make sure
you check that one out. Sorry, Taylor, it will come out soon. – Interesting. – Right then. – The next question we
have from caglesgolf. – Sorry? – Caglesgolf. – Oh yeah. – Yeah, I didn’t make up the name. Do you need to do crazy long
rides to train for a long race, i.e. 200 miles? I can’t, I just can’t seem
to find the motivation to train rides over 60, 70 miles. Of course, this is even worse
during the winter months on the trainer. – Yeah, well I never used to. Like if I was doing long races, in training I would never
ride that distance, no. What you might find is that
when you do your first race of the season, you perhaps
aren’t quite strong in the back end of it as
you might do later on. But I think there are
more important things to think about on there. And you can do so much hard
work in even just an hour on the indoor trainer. – Yeah, you can. – Yeah you can as long as you
mix things up a little bit. You shouldn’t find that
you come to on stuff. – No and I think it’s also,
you know, about motivation through those, you know, difficult months. So it is, you know, trying to get out on those winter rides
maybe once or twice a week. Do a longer, more endurance-based ride. But then you can keep your
inner week rides just like short like I said and just keep
it max effort or all hard. Maybe do a race. – Yeah, yeah that’s right. If you’re on Zwfit, a
race would be pretty cool. (dramatic sound effects) Zwift question now and the person that is the lucky recipient of three months free Zwift
subscription is take it away. – David Penney. So congratulations to you. – Yeah. – And yeah, you got three
free month subscriptions. No, free three month subscription from Zwift going straight your way to really kick start your winter. – Yeah. – For this question, I started
cycling again last year and it helped me lose over 20 kilograms. – Whoa, nice work. – Yeah, nice one man. This year, I invested in a better bike and, don’t laugh, got my FTP up to 215. We’re not laughing. – Nope, it’s good work mate. – I struggle to keep up
with my friends on hills. What’s the best Zwift
workout training plan to follow to improve my
performance over the coming winter? – Alright, well we, as
always, put your question to the coaches at Zwift. They came back and said there are two ways to get faster up hills of course. You either continue to
lose weight depending on how close you are or are
already at your optimum weight. And the other one is you
actually boost your fitness on the bike. So, again, coming back to
that whole concept of FTP. Now I think personally I
wouldn’t focus too much on weight loss. I think – That’ll come. – That’s it. The more training you do,
the more you’ll get closer to that ideal weight,
whatever that may be. Zwift said in terms of the training that they have a winter plan
that they think will be ideal for you. It’s called the Gran Fondo plan. It lasts between five and eight weeks. They say it includes low
cadence and high power intervals and some longer temper effort and it’s five hours a week
of structured training. So there we go. If you’ve got anymore, then
you can do riding outside to complement it or, indeed, you could do other longer Zwift sessions, maybe stick a race in there. I’m gonna love doing those. Or just a group ride as well. – Yeah, so have a go at that and, well, let us know in the comments
section below how you get on. And yeah, really, good luck
with your winter training. The next question in from Lukasz Juraszek. I started training this
season and lost 30 pounds. – Nice. – And I plan to race in the next one. Should I do base miles
in the off season or not? Would it be better if I focused
on FTP training instead? Interesting question. – It is an interesting question actually and you’re seeing the back of Short, we’ve got a video on this subject, but before you watch that, I think the most important thing is to look at how much time
you’ve actually got available, isn’t it, because base
training is important, but it’s by no means
the most important part of your training and in its very essence, it takes a long time. So if you’re a little bit time pushed, I’d leave it basically and focus on getting in your FTP, getting as fit as you possibly
can through the winter, and actually the kind
of base miles will come. If you’re a pro, then
base miles become more and more important, but like I say, it’s the
bottom of the pyramid and you should focus on it last I think. – Yes and then the nearer
you come to the race season, then you can start focusing
on those kind of three minute, five minute interval sessions and that would really
help you put the cherry on the top of your training and then you’ll be fighting
fit for the come race season. – That’s right. For a bit of more information on that base training question, do make sure you check that video out that just going on behind us now. Yeah, so we put this
concept of base training to Professor Passfield. He said firstly that actually the idea of having base training is a specific part of your training year. It’s actually really out of date now. But he also said that there is no evidence to say that base training
has to come before threshold or peak power and crucially, for those of us who’ve
got less time to train, we’d actually be better off taking out base training altogether. Right, next question
comes in from B.R. Lane. They are a returning road
cyclist from 15 years off the bike. They said they’ve got
a new bike, been riding for about a month. They’ve also got an indoor trainer now so that they can keep riding
even on cold, rainy days in Houston. The question is though on cold days and on warm, dry days should I warm up on the trainer before
going out for a ride? – Well, I personally
wouldn’t worry about it. It sounds like an awful lot
of hassle getting your bike on the trainer, setting it up, and then taking it off
and getting on the road. But on those cold days, I would just tend to get some good kicks, so some good bib tights and a good jacket and you’ll actually be really surprised how quickly you warm up. – Yeah, that’s right. Maybe the question stems from
what we see pro cyclists doing – That’s true. – Before and after races. And to put it in context, often the, well pros don’t get the
luxury of being able to ride around before the start of a race because there lots of fans and things. So they have to ride on a trainer. And often their races will start full gas and they certainly finish full gas. And so actually having a
warm up and a cool down after that is really
effective for helping them get back on the bike the next day, but for you and I going
out for a normal ride, we can build that warm up and cool down into our normal ride. For a little bit more info
about why pros warm up and warm down, we got one just on the back of our screen there. – They should have a cool
down phase to their training. So when you’re out, typically
what you do is, you know, either your last interval or the end of your workout ends five to
10 minutes before you get home and so you have that five to 10 minutes to really spin the legs and cool. So you don’t need to get on
the trainer once you get home and ride some more. – Right, we’re now onto
the quick fire round. And we have got Cyrus in here and he was putting out some serious watts at the Zwift race last night. – Oh yeah. – So, here’s hoping
for a quick fire round. For the first question, it comes in from Roscommon Cycling Academy. Team GCN, I’m wondering
is there a way to be able to get better at climbing while
doing some indoor training? I’m wondering this
question as we have started up a new team and we are trying
to get better at climbing. – Well, 100%, yeah. Indoor training can get super effective at improving your climbing. I think the thing to do is
actually work out what kind of climb do you want
to be better at though because obviously there
is a big difference in what training you do
for 20 minute long climbs or longer, so your alpine kind of climbs or your shorter punchy climbs, your one minute or three minute efforts. But basically, if you factor, the length of the climb that you want to be good at into the length of the intervals
that you should be doing on the trainer, that’s
probably a good place to start. – Exactly that. Next question. Right, next question, Atlas Gibbons. I’m thinking of taking a break from racing as I didn’t enjoy it whole lot this year. I do enjoy identifying
as a cyclist though. Do you think I could still
consider myself a cyclist if I’m just riding, but not racing? – Yes. – Hell yeah, absolutely. – 100%. – 100%, yeah. And yeah taking a bit of time
out of racing is a good idea if you didn’t enjoy it. That is why we do it after all. So yeah, don’t stress. Just enjoy your ride and
do something different. – It’s quick fire round. – Yeah, sorry mate. – Next question in from Daniel S. I’m getting ready to
buy my first road bike. I’m currently riding my old mountain bike. Is it beneficial to train on
a substantially heavier bike or just hurry up and get the road bike? I love everything GCN does. – Ah, thanks. – Yeah. – Yeah, there’s no benefit to
training on a heavier bike. At the end of the day,
the training benefit comes from what effort you’re
putting in actually, so the power that comes from your legs, how hard your cardiovascular
system is working. And so the difference between
a heavier training bike and a lighter training bike is that you will just go
slower on the heavier bike, but you won’t actually
get better from riding that heavier bike. – Yes and saying that,
if you did want to go on those long nice road
rides and really enjoy it, then I personally would
just jump straight in and get a road bike
just because you can go out further for less of the effort really. The next question we
have from Dean C. Nash. Are there indoor cycling programs that can help in preparing
me for an Iron Man? – Yeah, James you better
take this from me. – Yeah, I been torn with the
idea of doing an Iron Man and, well, I will use the indoor trainer because I think it will
be a really good asset, especially to really hone
down that aerodynamic position because what you’ve got
to hold that position for 112 miles, which is no
mean feat for any human being. – That’s right. You’ve definitely got to get
used to putting power out in that position. I wouldn’t do epically long
rides on the indoor trainer. You could still get really good hard work, get your body used to
putting out loads of power in that extreme position. And the other benefit
of it actually is that when you’re out on the open
road on a time trial bike, you know, it’s quite hard
to put in those long efforts of maybe 20 minutes or so without getting interrupted by traffic. – And it can be quite dangerous. – Yeah, downhills obviously
make it harder as well. So yeah, I think pro road
cyclists use indoor trainers a lot on their TT bikes as well. So, yeah, definitely a great asset. Right, next up Kyle Petersen. Should you take a day off
before a big race even if there’s a pre-event
ride/warm-up the day before? – Well, I personally used
to, I used to race a lot on the Sunday or Saturday,
but usually on the Sunday for a one day race. So I would use the
Saturday as my easy spin. So I would go out for an
hour and a half or two hours and get some good hard openers because the day before
was normally a rest day or a travel day. So that’s what I used to. It used to work, but
it is very individual. So do what fits you really. – Yeah, normally I’d say
like the recovery is kind of the week before. So you maybe for a big event
you’d have a lighter week, wouldn’t you? So you kind of arrive at the
weekend a little bit fresher. And then on that Saturday,
you could do like a ride with a couple little efforts in just to open yourself up and make
sure you’re not too fresh. – Yeah. – Which is always the balance for me. It was you either arrive too fresh and you don’t feel so good the
next day or you arrive tired and then you don’t feel
so good the next day. – But that is the weird thing isn’t it? When you actually feel
a little bit fatigued, you actually end up doing better, which is a really bizarre
way of looking at it. – Sometimes, yeah. Unfortunately, you kind of
have to feel your own way through this, but yeah there we go. Definitely ease up a little bit before, but the Saturday before Sunday
race is a good idea just to do a little bit in it. – Right, the next question
from Chris Fleetwood. When riding for commuting
fitness, is it worthwhile to go clipless? – That’s a tough one isn’t it? – That is a tough one. – I think most people
that try clipless pedals and get used to them, don’t go back because it feels really nice. But in terms of like
a performance benefit, you probably wouldn’t get much of one. Certainly when you’re really
pressing on the pedals, then actually it’s more
efficient to use clipless pedals, but you also got to factor
in the convenience thing. – Yeah, I think it is
all about convenience. I mean it’s much easier just
to wear flats and normal shoes. Then you don’t have to change your shoes and putting lycra on, etc., etc. But even a guy in an office
wears jeans, t-shirt, jacket, and proper cycling
shoes with his cleats on, which, yeah, is an interesting look. – Well it was the fact he
was wearing white overshoes. – That was very interesting. – Last night and, you know,
not many people wanted to be seen with him, but you know. – Well not even his missus
would was that happy about that. – No she wasn’t, was she? But it’s not surprising. Right, okay. Next question. – From SAF1981 and this
is my favorite question. And it is how can I reduce
my awesomeness so others will ride with me? – Wow, that is a great question. – This one’s for you mate. It’s made for you. – Well, I do ride on my own a lot, James, but that’s more because just no one wants to ride with me, not because
I’m awesome in any sense. No, I mean I imagine that’s
a joke question, I imagine. But actually that whole
thing about, you know, riding with other people, I mean sometimes it’s
nice to ride on your own. Certainly if you train at odd times or you’ve got only a short amount of time and you want to go out and
ride really, really fast, which is kind of anti-social. So it’s kind of nice mixing it up, but you’ve always got to, when you are riding with other people, just factor in that they might not want to go as fast or… – Other abilities. – They might want to, you
know, not sprint for town signs or that kind of thing. So yeah, riding with other
people is a sociable activity. – Yeah, I was probably the worst for that when I used to go out with clubs. I used to kind of ride ahead of it and, well, I didn’t make many friends. – Oh dear, oh dear. – I was one of those. The next question from Mike-&-Ike. Guys, please please do a whole
video solely on sprinting, how to throw your power
down, keep an aero position, keep your rear wheel on the ground. Well, Si you’re probably
not the best person to ask this, but we do have
our sprinter Chris Opie here and we will be asking this
question straight to him to see if he can get
some videos out for you, but he in the moment is just frolicking around doing some John Travolta stuff. (disco music) – Yeah it’s preferred John
Travolta can sprint though. So make sure you stay tuned. We’ll definitely have him talk
us through the finer points of sprinting. He did one last summer about
how to train for sprinting. I picked up quite a few tips on there all about strong core and things. – I mean you are looking bulky, so yeah. – Yeah, cheeky. – And we have come to the last
question from Pauric Bannon. Are direct drive trainers
always the better alternative to wheel-on trainers? – Not always, I guess, because you could have a really
bad direct driver trainer, but generally speaking,
yeah, they’re better because there’s no chance
of any wheel slippage that you get with a wheel-on trainer and they tend to be a little bit quieter. You don’t wear your tire out, but they are of course more expensive. – Which, yeah, can be a slight issue. So they do work both the same way. And you can get your
training out, you know, well with either or, but yeah, I would definitely say the
direct drive trainer is probably the better one. – Yeah, but if you can’t afford one, do not worry about it. As James said, you can
the power out irrespective of the kind of trainer you’re on. – Yeah, right, and we’ve come to the end of this week’s Ask GC Anything. – That’s right. If you want to ask a question
for next week, please do. We love answering your questions. Then you either use the hashtag torqueback or the hashtag askGCNTraining if it’s a specific training question, and then of course, you might end up getting yourself three months
free subscription to Zwift. Now, why not check out the great video that Jon Cannings did over in Japan investigating the
Keirin racing scene or Keirin as I was told. – Yeah I find that fascinating to do. Take a look.