Mike’s Middle Distance Magic: Winter Miles!

I had a bit of a “lightbulb” moment yesterday! I’ve been training for many years now and have heard the saying “winter miles, summer smiles” and I think I’ve even had a blog post titled it in the past! But up until now I’ve never really understood it or trained by it.

Well it all stemmed from a conversation I had with Ray yesterday over my long bike ride. Up until last week I’ve just been riding around Zwift with the Cyclops hammer controlling resistance and keeping my power in Zone 2. Now those that use Zwift will realise certain parts of the Zwift “worlds” are pretty lumpy with lots of 10% grade of hills. Now I don’t have the gearing or legs to keep spinning above 90RPM or the ability to keep my power in the correct zone when climbing what feels like Everest!

So basically I’m not getting the most out of the sessions and not training in the correct zone when doing my long ride. This would make sense as I was pretty tired after my long ride last week. And having spikes and only 48% in Zone 2 would suggest I’m not making the most of the sessions.

I read a blog recently that suggested age group triathletes need to train smarter and more purposeful than professionals. I feel there’s some sense to that.  Us age groupers simply don’t have the time or ability to be out training for hours and hours a day. So we need to make what training we can do purposeful.

So back to my training.  After speaking to Ray I’m now going to be doing my long ride in workout mode in Zwift but with ERG mode off. No idea what it is with ERG mode, but I struggle and it seems to really zap my legs. I feel this will be more beneficial in the long run and prepare me for the harder sessions later in the year.  It will also prepare me mentally as 3 hours at a constant power is going to be mentally taxing! Anybody got any good box sets on Netflix they care to share, haha.

Anyways to this week’s training.  My long ride is going to be with a really good friend of mine. It’s been about 5 months since I rode outside and about 12 months since I’ve been on a road bike, so it could be interesting. I’ll be doing my best to keep my power and cadence where it should be, but it’s a once a blue moon kind of ride that I very rarely get to have. Been planning this ride for 6 months, haha. My feature picture on this blog is our planned route with a few extra sections thrown in.  Anybody know any good coffee shops en route?

Thanks for reading as always and safe training everybody.

– Mike Catton

Mike is training for some triathlons and half Ironman in 2019. Check in next Monday for his next article about his training journey.

Check out last weeks article:

Mikes Middle Distance Magic: 12 Weeks to Tri!

All his previous articles are stored here:


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.