Winter is definitely here, with the snow and ice falling outside and making riding that little bit less appealing. But what if you've got big goals for the spring? How do you find the motivation to train when it's freezing and you just want to open a box of Quality Street? We asked riders from supported e-sports team Wahoo Le Col for some tips so you can get the best start possible this winter!
Frances Owen gives us some tips on how to maintain your enjoyment through longer sessions.
"For many of us, our jobs mean that for 5 days a week we are not seeing daylight!! The prospect of an evening on the turbo is made much more bearable by getting out in the fresh air for a short walk at lunch. If you plan to spend a lot of hours training indoors, I think it's important to create an environment you want to spend time in.
"For me, this meant installing a TV to help the long base sessions go quicker! It's also vital to make your training enjoyable so you keep at it week after week. I like to do Zwift races in category's easier than my race category (controversial?! Just don't sprint for the line!), which keep me in the right zone for my session.
"For example, if I've got a zone 2 session to do, I'll sit with the pack in a C-race - these keep me more far engaged than watching a timer count down! The number one thing is to stick with it - after the first few long sessions, the time seems to go much quicker!"
If motivation is something you struggle with over winter, Kate McLeod has some ideas on how to improve it.
"Having a really good “why” if vital to staying motivated over winter. If you have a solid reason why you’re riding your bike outside in the cold and snow then that is enough to get you motivated. For me, wanting to win races with the Wahoo Ez LeCol ladies is what will keep me going this winter.
"During winter I like to do endurance rides outdoors with friends as the time goes faster when in good company. I do a lot of cross training, like cross country skiing, indoor rowing and strength sessions in the gym. I find it also helps improve my explosive power on the bike , and helps prevent injures and getting niggles due to doing the same movement for hours.
"Then if all above fails, I head to Spain! There’s nothing more motivating than riding your bike when the sun is shining and you are wearing a short sleeve jersey and shorts in February!"
Laura Paine has plenty of suggestions on how to spice things up over winter, and why it's worth the effort.
"Winter esport riding is the perfect way to try things out ready for the summer! Whether it’s chamois cream, new bib shorts, a new riding position, or even nutrition for the bike. I find riding indoors is the perfect way for me to play around with these things and if I get it wrong it doesn’t matter as I’m indoors!
"Just because it’s colder outside doesn’t mean racing has to stop. You can race indoors! I find doing the odd race indoors helps me mentally keep fresh for when I go back outdoors again.
"3 things you MUST have as a basis of a good set up!
"1) Zwift - gives you a platform of choice depending on your mood! Now one thing I didn’t know about Zwift which for me I use a lot is ‘creating a virtual meet up’. You can ride with friends and what’s even better again if you have a specific hard turbo set you can load that into the meetup before you start and then set the group ride to ‘stay together’ and then away you go! Again makes the training fun and for me holds me accountable when I can ride with others!
"2) Discord - allows you to speak to your friends while your riding indoors! For me when I first discovered discord it was a game changer. I use it as part of my riding team - helps me to know they are there and suffering just like me 😂! But also if I have a specific workout I need to complete I look to find friends who are on Zwift too or even just doing a turbo and I feel like I’m there riding with that person all be it virtually but it also helps me stay accountable in my training and makes it more fun!
"3) Playlist - I love creating playlists specifically for the turbo. I find music that motivates me and has a beat that I can cycle too. I also start to associate that playlist that with fun and winter gains! I love just playing some banging tunes and zoning out - I see it as my time!
"Keep safe, injury free and enjoy the winter months! After all it’s only another 2-3months if that before the spring again."
And finally, Louise Hart tells us how she manages to fit her training in around a busy lifestyle.
"We have all been there, getting home from a busy day at work, reading TrainingPeaks and thinking, 'how am I going to get through that session?', procrastinating and finally getting on and doing a steady state ride because you're so knackered.
"That's ok, we all have those days, it's about minimising the number of them. I am lucky I have a realistic coach that allows me to swap sessions round within the week when things don't go to plan. I am not a pro, I ride around work and sometimes it's really hard to find the motivation. Here are some of the things I do on the days when I am struggling having walked in from a hectic day!
"1. I will set myself a target time to be on the bike
2. Make myself a yummy snack as a pick-me-up even if it's not the most nutritional!
3. Whack on my favourite playlist as I get changed, my favourite kit and squash in my bottle and off I go.
4. Sometimes I even use my husband for help, I'll tell him what time I'm going to start then I don't have an excuse!
5. Make sure your fridge is stocked with easy meals or leftovers for the days you know you will be slammed.
6. I also use recovery rides to go through my inbox and check it's up to date or ring a friend for a chat. I have been known to sit through the odd work zoom or webinar whilst spinning.
7. Another tip is to join a Zwift event at a certain time, that really helps to ensure you get on!
I also strongly suggest joining a race team, some of you reading this will think, 'Oh god no I'm not quick enough!'
Don't be put off, there are categories to suit everyone's own fitness levels. This really helps for lots of reasons, it aids with motivation for sessions around racing, once a week or more you will have a fixed race. As it's part of a team everyone supports and encourages one another, plus you know if you don't show up you're letting people down. It definitely helps maintain motivation on those dark cold nights!"
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