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A week of winter base training with Leah Kirchmann

The Canadian time trial champion has been in Tucson, Mallorca and Calpe preparing for the 2019 season

Leah Kirchmann Cervelo

In this recurring series, Canadian Cycling Magazine will take a look at the Monday to Friday training programs of some of Canada’s top cyclists. From the hours on the bike to the other activities and training that gets incorporated into their plans, we will get a glimpse on how Canada’s top road cyclists prepare for some of the worlds biggest races. Leah Kirchmann has been travelling far and wide ahead of the 2019 race season. Here is what a training week in December for the Winnipeg-native looks like.

Leah Kirchmann Cervelo

RELATED: A big week of off-season training with Michael Woods

Leah Kirchmann has had as busy a winter as any pro cyclist, travelling around the world to prepare for the 2019 season. She’s travelled between Tucson for a December training camp with some of Canada’s top women’s cyclists, Winnipeg for the holidays, Berlin for the Team Sunweb team presentation, Mallorca for more training and was just in Calpe for Team Sunweb’s pre-season training camp.

“During the winter months, I like to head to warmer weather to get in some bigger hours starting in December,” she said.

The weeks of riding all add up for a solid winter block that is intended to translate into some fine spring form for the Canadian individual time trial champion.

“My training in the winter usually starts out pretty basic, with a focus more on getting in the hours, and working on basic strength and skills,” Kirchmann explained. “The week of training shown here from when I was in Tucson reflects this phase of my plan.”

Training program for a week in Tucson for Leah Kirchmann

2 hours easy ride
Strength training

Leah Kirchmann: I try to do about two strength sessions a week along with my riding, and also fit in core and pre-ride muscle activation exercises to prevent injuries, and complement my training on the bike.

4 hours in the mountains with tempo intervals

The intervals become more intense and specific as I get closer to the race season.

4 hours with high cadence intervals
Rest day

I like to work with three or four day training blocks, with lots of rest days scheduled in. It took me a lot of time to learn that it is during rest that your body becomes stronger, not during the training itself!

2 hours easy
4 hours with sprint training
5 hour in the mountains

Total ride time: 21 hours

Leah Kirchmann
Kirchmann in Mallorca.

The day of rest is one of the most important parts of Kirchmann’s training program and she emphasizes its importance to her overall plan.

“In the past, I was always worried that I should be training more instead of resting, but now I take rest days seriously and look forward to them,” she said. “I only ride if I feel like it, and usually do some yoga or get a massage to help with the recovery process.”

The rest day is also perfect for taking advantage of the local activities in the area she is training in.

“I like to do things that energize me during these days, like visiting markets to shop for healthy fuel for the week, and I also like to bake some tasty ride food,” Kirchmann said about her routine on the days she isn’t doing any long rides.

Kirchmann had a fantastic end of the season finishing fourth at the world championships in Innsbruck in the ITT and 25th in the road race. For the past couple of years, the first block of racing for Kirchmann has been the Spring Classics at the end of February.

More Canadian Winter Training Plans:

A big week of off-season training with Michael Woods
A week of winter training in Montreal with James Piccoli
A week of winter training in Canada with Catharine Pendrel
A winter training week focused on recovery with Haley Smith
A week of winter training with Sara Poidevin
Student pro vs. full time racer: Two weeks of winter training with Peter Disera