8 November 2016
In the Northern Hemisphere the deep freeze is approaching and the days are getting shorter meaning your training is going to need to adapt in order to ensure you maintain your fitness and are able to attack your next season of racing or training goals.
Unfortunately not everyone is able to get away for a pro-life training camp in the South of Spain but we’ve put together a list of ways you can get the most out of your Winter on the bike:
Become best friends with the indoor trainer
With the vast array of smart trainers and power meters available there is no excuse for getting in some good quality structured workouts over the Winter. Performing specific and targeted intervals on the turbo is a great way to train and can actually provide a lot of benefits when compared to riding on the roads, for example you don’t have traffic or traffic lights, intersections or other obstacles. You’re able to maintain a steady position on the bike and focus solely on the intervals at hand without having to be distracted by outside influences. You can also export your workouts from within Today’s Plan into a range of simulated-riding and social platforms including Zwift and TrainerRoad as well to keep motivation high.
There’s no such thing as cold weather – just poor clothing choices
Unpack your thermals, put on the thick gloves and booties and enjoy the crisp fresh air that comes with an early Winter’s morning. Remember, you can always takes clothes off so never leave home thinking “I don’t want to get too hot” because you may end up just riding home early. The key thing you need to ensure is that you don’t get your inner layers wet so a good quality rain jacket is one of the best investments you could make.
Change up your bike of choice
Riding on the road in Winter can throw up a few additional challenges compared to the warmer months. It can be cold, wet and slippery so why not own those challenges and turn them into an advantage. Embrace the conditions and take to cyclocross or mountain biking and hit the mud for a bit of fun. The physiological gains are still going to be present and the excitement of tearing through your local trails and splashing through a muddy forest will quickly make you forget the frosty temperature. Additionally, you may find yourself becoming a little more technically confident on the bike which can translate to your road riding.
Use cross-training to your advantage
There are multiple ways to spice up your training with alternate sports or disciplines to help you keep the heart and lungs ticking over. Snowed in? Head out for some cross-country skiing. Have a great local gym? Take on a strength training program. Prone to injury? Spend some time working on your mobility and rehabilitation. Remember that any movement is better than none so get creative with your environment.
Be smart and safe
Don’t take unnecessary risks if it comes to rain or icy roads. The days are also going to be shorter so make sure you don’t get caught out without some good quality lights and visible clothing. Riding in a group is a great way to increase your visibility on the road and will help with motivation so look up your local cycling club or bike shop and find out when they’re heading out for the local bunch ride.
As a wise man once said – “Winter miles = Summer smiles” so bunker down and keep focussed on your long term goals. Stick to your training plan and adapt where necessary to overcome the obstacles that Winter presents … and if all else fails, move to Australia.
Not in the Northern Hemisphere? Check out our related Summer article!