Cycling – Staying motivated through the winter
With the short days, dropping temperatures and often poor road conditions, winter can be a tough time for those of us who train outdoors. We have put together a few tips to help you keep you motivated to push on through to the spring!
1. Kit – Making sure you have the right kit for this time of year is crucial. Staying warm, dry and visible is key. Nothing is worse for the morale than knowing if you head out, you will likely be wet and shivering in no time. Make sure you have a quality base layer, thermal winter jacket and a good set of gloves and overshoes. Always pop a fold up race cape style jacket into your pocket. If the temperature drops, or you have a mechanical, having an extra wind proof to pop on is a game changer.
2. Fuel – Make an extra effort to eat and drink during the winter months. The colder conditions can trick the body into not feeling the same desire to drink and take on some food. It’s important, especially on longer rides, to ensure you replace some carbs and stay hydrated; nobody wants a long sufferfest home after bonking in the cold.
3. Consistency – Many riders will load longer rides on at the weekends and ride barely at all during the week. We get it, you have to work and it’s dark in the mornings and evenings, but ultimately breaking your sessions down and spreading them across the week is the way to go. Much better to do a number of 75-90mins rides than just doing 3-4hour weekend rides in cold weather. It’s both physically and mentally easier to cope with the little and often approach when the weather turns nasty.
4. Fun – Mix things up a little. If like many you tend to train alone, think about joining the gang – ride with your team or club mates every now and again. Riding like this, you can have a natter and stop for a coffee. Even the Pros head out for semi-chilled team rides in early winter. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for everyone else. It doesn’t stop you sprinting for a village sign or smashing up the hills just to make it interesting, just remember, it’s not quite race season yet!
5. Sign up for something – It might be an early spring training camp, a sportive, a reliability trial or even an early season event. Entering an event early mentally focuses you, it gives you something to aim at and will help with motivation over the colder months. Personally, we think an early spring training trip to somewhere warm is the way to go, but each to their own!
6. The turbo – Obviously there is a place in any training plan for the turbo trainer. Indoor training has a number of benefits, most notably, it’s generally not cold and icy indoors! The turbo really is marmite, some riders can train on it regularly and hit the kind of sessions they can do outdoors, others despise it and will only use it as a last resort. Either way, there is no denying it’s a helpful tool to ensure you can train when you want to, even when the weather is doing its worst!
7. Coaching – We find many of our coached riders tell us they find having someone to be accountable to really helps with motivation.
Riders tend to feel that as the coach has carefully set them a session, the least they can do is get it done. Our coaches are acutely aware the British winter can cause all sorts of practical issues that affect a riders’ ability to complete sessions. They use their experience and understanding of individual riders’ strengths and weaknesses to ensure they have the best chance of completing sessions. Some riders will take to the turbo, others will need schedule changes to avoid bad weather days, others will be setting indoor strength/conditioning sessions instead.
If you are interesting and taking your riding to the next level contact us today!