When it comes to training, I’ve always understood that you can’t really make up lost time; if you miss a session or two, you can’t just go out and ride that much harder next week to make it up  – that’s just a fact.  If you miss training time, you just have to let it go. Trying to play catch up will only lead to overtraining, or under recovery and further limit your progress. If, or should I say, when, this happens to you, the best thing you can do is be glad for the additional rest you’ve had and just get back to your regular routine. So, if you can’t make up lost time after the fact, can you try and make it up beforehand?

Chris Carmichael thinks so.

In his regular article ‘The Coach’ in the December issue of Bicycling Magazine, Carmichael advises on how to add in some intensity and pre-load your training the week leading up to the Holidays. You will want to be sure you’re going to have a minimum of four days off if you want to try this 4-day training pre-load.

Carmichael points out that a key principle to this kind of pre-loading is making sure you do the hardest work at the start, because power intervals provide the best results when you have the energy to do them properly, and are able to maintain the necessary intensity.

Here’s a brief summary of the program:

4 days before your Holiday break, add in the following exercises as part of your 90 min to 2 hour training session:

Day 1 – Power Intervals (suggests 1 set of (6) 2min max efforts, cadence 90rpm+)

Day 2 – Power Intervals (suggests 2 sets of (3) 2min max efforts, cadence 90rpm+)

Day 3 – Over/Unders (suggests 2 sets of (6) 2min efforts, below LT power for 1min, followed by above LT for 1min, cadence 90rpm+)

Day 4 – Steady State Intervals (suggests (2) 6min intervals at, or just below LT)

Bring on the Holidays!

Really, you can probably introduce whatever kind of added intensity drills you want here, because the point seems to be simply to up your usual workload intensity going into an extended rest period – this is when your body will do its recovery and build back stronger than ever. I’m planning on trying this leading into my holiday break. I’ll be reaping the benefits of training adaptation while I stuff my face with Christmas shortbread and butter tarts and chug eggnog by the pint!