Beat the winter training slump
Winter is now upon us, the time of year it can be harder to keep the fitness lifestyle going.
Reduced daylight hours, inclement weather, the excuse of it’s cold and wet outside and a lack of motivation can all see the best-laid plans go astray.
Even so, it’s still possible to get around these limitations by putting together a well-thought-out, purposeful and time-efficient plan.
Here are five steps to make the most of winter, so you can build a solid foundation of fitness for the year ahead.
1. SET GOALS
Training without direction is likely to leave you burned out, aimlessly floundering on a fitness plateau. Luckily the remedy is a simple one; give yourself something to work towards. Before you fire up Zwift, or start layering up, sit down a decide what you want to get out of your winter cycling. It could be something specific like raising your FTP or five-second power, or working towards a larger goal like peaking for a specific event many months down the line. The goal is to find a measurable metric that can benchmark where you are now, and track your progress to ensure the work you are doing has the desired effect.
Whether you’re a new cyclist aiming for your first sportive, want to crack your first 100-mile ride or plan to start racing having a plan of attack will help make sure you get the most of your time on the bike. Getting a coach to help guide you through winter training would ensure you build up towards a specific goal without over- or undertraining. When you know what you want the outcome of your winter training to be, break it into smaller process goals that will lead to the outcome goal with balance. Another idea is to have your workout clothes ready the evening before, meal-prep for the week or sign up and pay for a group workout. This will help you stay on-track.
3. MAKE EXTERNAL COMMITMENT
When you’ve only got yourself to answer for, keeping to a schedule can be tough. That’s why it’s a great idea to make an external commitment to someone or something else. Book a weekly exercise class or ask your friend or partner to get involved in your workouts: you’ll be far more likely to stick to the plans you make and will probably end up having more fun getting fit, too.
4. ENJOY IT
Training during the winter is already tuff enough. Identify an activity that you enjoy and do it! Whether it is hiking with your family or walking on the beach. Mental health is also important when training during the gloomy winter months. Remember to always keep your mental wellness in place. Another way to ensure training is fun is to join a group or class. A weekly spinning class that challenge you in a group environment could bring some spice into your training routine. Not all training sessions have to be serious and intense, going on a coffee ride or joining a friend at a group class is important for mental health.
We all know that cycling is the best sport out there, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens of good reasons to mix it up with a few others. Not only can cross-training flat-out make you a better cyclist through core support and enhanced focus, but it can also help your body in tons of ways cycling can’t—like building up bone density and strengthening underused muscle groups. Try adding hiking, running, swimming or strength training into your weekly workout program.