With the weather still turning colder, and the off-season in full swing you'll want to tailor your winter riding and training to not only make the most of any available time you have for cycling, but to also keep you motivated through the dark, colder months.
Here are four tips to help you do just that.
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1. Set a goal
A goal provides purpose. If you know you’re working towards an event or target, whether it’s a certain body weight or a KOM on Strava, it’ll help motivate you on days when the warmth of the house looks a lot better than the harshness outdoors.
It’s important to remember to keep goals or challenges difficult yet realistic. Always keep in mind how much time you have to put in and don’t obviously set yourself up for failure by expecting something far past your natural ability.
2. Specific training
Winter is an ideal time to hone your weakest skillset. Whether it be climbing, sprinting or endurance, the off season is a fantastic time to improve and come back stronger and better in the spring.
Specific interval workouts are perfect for an indoor trainer or rollers because external variances are eliminated. If endurance training is on your list, it might be a fine excuse to look into a winter training camp somewhere warm and sunny.
Joe Hewitt, former strength and conditioning coach with British Cycling and the English Institute for Sport, recommends: "If you’re looking to improve physically this winter then look at your steady endurance and interval training ratio — to go faster or get fitter aim to do one or two quality interval sessions through the week, with steady endurance rides making up the rest."
3. Always be improving
Slow and steady improvement is better than being stagnant or at a plateau in your fitness. Increasing mileage or effort makes your body adapt and evolve to the challenge.
According to Hewitt: “In many cases this is best done through four-week patterns. For three weeks, challenge yourself by increasing one or two training areas each week, for example duration or intensity. Make week four easier, before starting a new four-week block. That way you’re constantly moving on."
4. Hit the gym
Winter is the time to get ripped! No just kidding, but it is a great time to strengthen both your legs and your core. Hewitt mentions that “Evidence suggests that building your lower body strength with leg presses, Bulgarian split squats (with rear foot elevated) and split squats (both feet on the floor) can help your cycling.
"Using foam rollers to ease quad muscles and iliotibial (commonly referred to as IT) band can be useful.” Having a strong core makes long hours in the saddle more enjoyable. Also, proper stretching and yoga can be mixed in to relieve tight, overworked muscles.
Article last updated 17 February 2018