Winter Training the Healthy, Smart and Fast Way

596 446 Patrick McCrann

2019 OutSeason® Training Challenge

There is a reason why Endurance Nation has been leading the endurance training and racing game for over a decade, results.

Each Endurance Nation OutSeason® Training Plan combines our focus on Quality Training with a commitment to Early Season Consistency.  The outcome? In just fourteen weeks you will build an incredible and HEALTHY bike and run fitness, setting the tone for the remainder of your season.

Imagine a winter of smaller, intense workouts that not only sustain your fitness but bring you closer to your goals, without compromising your sanity, your health or your downtown with your family/friends.

Over the past eleven years, more than 8,000 athletes have taken the Endurance Nation OutSeason® challenge. Training together as a group, the energy and motivation is contagious — it’s hard not to get faster!

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Why Train in the Winter?

If you are new to this blog, or to Endurance Nation in general, we forgive you for missing the last TEN YEARS of how we have innovated the endurance training pace. We redefined Winter Training by placing intensity before endurance and challenging our athletes to get stronger. If you want the recap version check out this complete OutSeason®  Lessons Learned post.

The short version? Don’t slack this winter, get stronger with Endurance Nation!

OutSeason Overview

The plans have been updated (again) for 2019. Updates are based on feedback from our members and results across the season. These are completely new plans — and the biggest change is our integration with Final Surge.  Once you join Endurance Nation, you’ll instantly get complimentary access to Final Surge and be able to load your OutSeason® plan on your smartphone and sync it with your Strava or Garmin account.

Finals Surge Mobile


Step One: Choose a Bike or Run Focus

Now you can choose the area you want to work on. In general, the rule of thumb is that in your ODD years of OutSeason (1, 3, 5, etc) you should pick the Bike Focus OutSeason®; and in your EVEN years of EN Membership (2, 4, 6) you should pick the Run Focus OutSeason®. This ensures a balance across multiple years of training and combines well with our Three Year Planning Goal Method.

We recommend you start with the Bike Focus version. It’s never to early to start building a good foundation.

  • Bike Focus Plan = Three Quality Bikes + Durability Running.
  • Run Focus Plan = Durability Runs plus One Quality Run. Two Quality Bikes.

Training Plan Levels: 1, 2 and 3 (3 being the Most Challenging)

2018 represented the end of the Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced labels, and we couldn’t have been happier with the results. There are plenty of experienced folks who needed to use the Beginner Level, but resisted because they were veterans…and of course, great athletes who used the Beginner plans because they were first-timers to EN (not beginners). Not to mention, if you’re coming off an injury or going towards a specific goal, the ability to personalize is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Now you can choose your plan level off of your relative strength within the context of that plan. The higher the level, the harder the plan. In general, we recommend:

  • Level One = Newer Athletes to the Sport or Athletes Returning from a layoff/injury
  • Level Two = Consistent Athletes with 1 to 2 years of experience, continuing to build.
  • Level Three = Experience / High Performing Athletes looking for a breakthrough year.


Combined Main Sets

Rather than three separate plans by ability level, we have combined them into a single plan — aka no more toggling plans just to see what other folks are doing. This is great for athletes who are a Level One Runner but a Level Two Biker. Or for athletes who want to start with Level One in the First Cycle, then move up to Level Two as they regain fitness.

Three Phases of Work/Testing

Both for increased benchmarking as well as additional “rest” phases between the work.

  • Phase 1: 4 Work + 1 Test as 1-4 (5)
  • Phase 2: 4 Work + 1 Test as 6-9 (10)
  • Phase 3: 3 Work + 1 Test as 11-13 (14)

Each “work” phase will have a training focus; each “test” phase will give 3 days for recovery before testing the focus discipline and returning to a regular training weekend. Bike and Run disciplines will both test in the final OS week.

Please Note: You do not HAVE TO test; we recommend it but it is your call.


OutSeason® with TeamEN vs. PlanEN Tiers

Digital Plans within Final Surge Digital Plans within Final Surge
Weekly Accountability Captains How to Navigate Resources
Team Support TrainerRoad Capable
Sponsorship Discounts Monthly Group Coach Chats
Season Planning

Coach Contact

Sponsorship Discounts

Full EN Resources

* Tracking Sheets for Body Comp, Run Durability, and Core etc.

* Swim Faster e-book

* Zwift Workouts & Group Workouts

* TrainerRoad Capable

* Updated Videos and Podcasts for workouts


Strength & Core Options Remain Monday / Friday

  • Recommended: Monday and Friday should be rest days to allow for recovery.
  • Bonus Work: We encourage folks to do some core and strength work on these days as a compliment to the hard work of the OutSeason®. These are now supplemental plans available on Final Surge to Team Endurance Nation members only. Now athletes can “layer” strength training on top of the basic OutSeason®  plan! Do you need it? Just add it!

The Swim

The OutSeason training plan still contains swim workouts in Weeks 11 through 14, so you can get a head start on the swimming in your next training plan. Most Endurance Nation Members will exit the OutSeason® into our Swim Camp Training Plan in order to “boost” the swim more.

  • Swim Slower Than 2:00 Per 100 Yards? Or Can’t Stop Swimming? Don’t worry, we have maintained our Swim Supplement to add swim workouts to your OutSeason®.

The Bike

There are several changes to the bike workouts, and they are available to download and use in Zwift or online to members of our Team-Only Trainer Road group. In no particular order:

  • Phase 1 = Threshold Work: FTP, Sweet Spot, ABP — 3 Rides Total
  • Phase 2 = Anaerobic Work: VO2 Long, VO2 Short, ABP. Bike Focus plans add a “Cruise & Crush” for 4 Rides Total
  • Phase 3 = Threshold Work: FTP, Peak, Sweet Spot Intervals. Bike Focus maintain the “Cruise & Crush” for 4 Rides Total
  • Added “Peak” Interval training to the Thursday rides in Phase 3 to allow for fitness gains without unnecessary training stress.

Of course, you are welcome to replace any OutSeason® interval ride with a Zwift Race — a 25mi race would replace an FTP / Threshold Ride; a 15-ish mile race would replace a VO2 / High-Intensity Ride. You can learn more about why Endurance Nation is all in on Zwift here.

The Run

The main focus of your OutSeason® running continues to be Run Durability. The Team has seen excellent results on this approach, and we are continuing to refine it with an eye towards improving your “in season” events. IOW, there should be no such thing as a great OutSeason® followed by a crappy Race Season.

To that end, the changes are:

  • Phase 1 = Hills Mid-Week, Steady On the Weekend.
  • Phase 2 = Threshold Intervals Mid-Week, Build Runs on the Weekend.
  • Phase 3 = Steady Mid-Week, Half Marathon prep run on the Weekend.


The Team

Following on the success of last year, we’ll continue using our insanely social Group Chats in addition to the Forums. With more than 150 members on the bike and run sides alone, there’s a ton of great mojo and support to keep you laughing and training thru the Winter!


Thanks and we hope you “enjoy” the 2019 OutSeason, our 11th OutSeason®!


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