It’s the time of year that feels like it’s been dragging on forever. Memories of short sleeves and having to apply suncream are long forgotten, and if you’re like us, you might find yourself wistfully looking at your summer kit while glaring at the dull greyness outside. It’s no secret that riding in winter presents its own challenges - from freezing temperatures to constantly having to wash your bike, it’s easy to be put off riding outside, or even at all if you don’t like training indoors.
With the lack of sunshine, warmth and the feeling of cycling through treacle at this time of year, it’s natural to see your motivation to ride dip a little (unless you’re a national champion, *cough* Jo Tindley *cough*). So we thought we’d put some tips together from some of the riders of the teams we support - including Pro-Noctis Rotor Redchilli Bikes Heidi Kjeldsen and Wahoo Le Col the e-sports team - to help us (and you) find that extra motivation to get on our bikes this season.
Riding with other people is a great way to take some accountability. You don’t want to be that person making everyone wait while you press snooze for the third time. Lucy Ellmore (Pro-Noctis) agrees, “Group rides are a great way to stay motivated through winter to make sure you get out the door on those cold and wet winter days. They’re also a good way to push yourself by riding with stronger riders”.
For Alex TenElshof (Wahoo), naturally, he looks to Zwift for entertainment, “The platform allows me to train and stay engaged when I’m pedalling nowhere by hopping into group rides and races. Secondly, make some friends on the platform, whether that be locally, nationally, or even worldwide. Every ride is better with friends! Lastly, just embrace it. Winter training is easier with a positive attitude!”
Although an e-racer in winter, Lizi Brook (Wahoo) is a time trial expert throughout the rest of the year and looks to build on her strength and power on the turbo before hitting the road in spring. The extra gains she sees in summer from this motivates her to train hard in the winter.
“When racing outdoors I hold a steady pace for 1-4 hours. To find power I tend to work with the 80/20 training method. This is where I embrace indoor non-race specific training such as Vo2 Max and bike low cadence strength sessions.
“When the race season comes around I utilise the extra strength and find that the boundary between easy and hard has increased my race pace sweet spot and try to adapt it to my aero position at race pace. Every year I always find more watts from the winter season. In short, winter miles = summer smiles”.
Another Wahoo rider, Jo Blackburn gave us a few great tips about making yourself more comfortable on long rides, and how to incorporate training with your relationships.
“Turn weekend rides into a day out so they don’t feel like a chore! I’m lucky in that my other half cycles so we tend to do long rides with a café stop, but for those who don’t have a partner who cycles, arrange to meet somewhere for lunch (with them bringing a change of clothes!). They drive, you cycle! That way you get your training done and also get to have the rest of the day out with your partner.”
“Buy the best kit that you can afford - like VeloSkin (obviously!) There’s nothing worse than being cold in winter so investing in good quality kit can stop winter rides from being miserable. I also take a spare base layer with me in a saddlebag so I can change at the café so I’m nice and warm when I set off again!”
“Train indoors mid-week and keep sessions short. With no traffic lights, junctions or freewheeling to contend with, you get more bang for your buck indoor training so you can train for a shorter period of time but still get the benefits!”
Jo Tindley (Pro-Noctis), told us that motivation isn’t even in her vocabulary - training is just ingrained in her way of life.
“Winter training is a vital component in getting race fit so if I’m committed to racing well then I have to commit to the winter training. I love it to be honest and even more so when I know I’m out and others have decided to roll over and stay in bed. When you’re committed to your goals and the process, motivation comes easy”.
A champion’s mentality if ever we’ve heard one! Hopefully, some of these tips have helped restart that fire and made you look at the clouds not with disgust, but with anticipation.
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