In the off season it’s important to get in as many long rides in as you can. Try and aim for rides of two hours or more. They don’t have to be fast. Just riding your bike building up your cardiovascular endurance. ‘A base fitness’ so to speak, for the following season, to build all your more specific training onto. This also gives you time to get used to the handling of a road bike (if you are new to the sport).
Riding fixed gear (a bike which has only one gear with no freewheel) means you will be pedaling continuously and working hard on the climbs as well as the descents for that matter. I recommend a gear set-up of 42t - 17t (42 teeth cog on the front, 17 tooth cog on the rear). Alternatively if you don't have a fixed gear bike or it's not an option to get one you can always use your normal bike and put it into a gear around the middle of the block - 50t - 19t for example. This you can ride single speed. If you don't fancy using just one gear at all and do not have a cycle computer that measures cadence try and aim to use an easier gear than you would usually and make a conscious effort to spin it faster. 85 to rpm.
Tempo riding means riding just under your lactate threshold. I tend to go out and try to ride as hard I can for two hours, this tests your aerobic endurance. If you have a cycle computer you could try to maintain an average speed. This will depend on your own level of fitness however. I don’t own a heart rate monitor but if you do, aim for 10-15 beats a minute less than your lactate threshold.
Hill repetitions simply means going up and down a hill. This will serve to improve your hill climbing ability, positioning on the bike, pacing and endurance. Find a hill that isn’t ridiculously steep that you feel you could go up about 10 times steadily in one session. Alternate your climbing position from in and out the saddle climbing, this will use different muscles giving others a rest and will improve your overall leg strength. Once you have reached the top of the hill go back down it and make sure you use this time to recover, pedaling lightly, before your next effort up the hill.
For a harder session you can: Find a hill that has a flat section at the bottom. This means you can do the hill climb, recover on the descent and then at the bottom do a sprint. Then climb the hill again.
Intervals are a good way of improving your top end speed. This means that within a session you will need to do some flat out efforts (sprinting) recovering between them. Having recently watched Speed With Guy Martin I discovered that Laura Trott regularly does 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off intervals, 6 times in a session. Although this is a team pursuit specific exercise on the track it undoubtedly sounds hard and worth a go! Another good method which doesn’t perhaps have the same structure to it, is to sprint to lampposts or other significant roadside markings at roughly 200m away.
If you don’t want to go far and want to stay close to home, try finding a small stretch of straight road 200m long which is flat or has a gradual uphill gradient that is traffic free. Sprint up the gradient if there is one. Turn around recover and repeat.