The winter is traditionally seen as a time to recover and reflect on the season past, before planning and preparing for the season ahead. But, we should never underestimate recovery, it’s the first and very vital ingredient to the winter equation, some time to recover is needed by all.
Adequate recovery allows you to get back on the bike feeling fresh and motivated for the training to come. This training is the groundwork, the foundation and the base for the season ahead. It’s also an ideal time to reflect on your season and plan for the one to come – what, if anything, would you like to do differently? Now is the time to begin setting your goals and working towards them.
Of course, the winter throws up certain challenges that can threaten anyone’s ability to not only stay on the bike, but to also stay motivated in the process. Shorter and darker days and cold and wet weather can certainly provide challenges to us all. Cyclists face hazards at anytime of the year, but winter elements serve to multiply these further.
Planning and preparation remain as important as ever in the winter. But, planning what and when to train, always keeping in mind those shorter days and poor weather conditions, doesn’t have to be hard. With all kinds of weather information at our fingertips these days, training doesn’t necessarily have to be left to chance.
Equipment and clothing choices play a big part. The winter weather can cause more wear to equipment than normal. So, regular maintenance is important and ensures that those winter rides go as smoothly as possible. Dressing for the occasion will equally make a huge difference to how pleasurable those winter miles are, so plan and dress for the temperature and conditions that you are going to face. Don’t forget to take supplies too. This applies to equipment and clothing. We can’t carry everything with us but the necessities to get your bike and body out of trouble if needed on the road are essential. Again, never underestimate what a fresh item of clothing does on those cold and wet days!
It goes without saying that nutrition also plays a big part in getting through those winter rides. Not only does the ride itself demand energy but likewise does the weather, so be sure to take adequate supplies. Never neglect hydration, even if you don’t feel like drinking in the colder conditions – your body still needs it! And on those cold/wet days why not take some warm tea (or equivalent) out with you? SiS more than have you covered in all departments of your ride nutrition – they even do flasks!
Finally, as someone who spends a lot of time training indoors myself, the turbo trainer is always a great option. Staying indoors you know exactly what you’re getting in terms of conditions. It offers all round predictability, provides good/consistent training and prevents being outside day after day, especially on those icy days. Training indoors becomes even more important at this time of the year when sickness is never far away.
I’ve always been able to clock up the miles indoors on a trainer, but if “boredom” is your reaction then fear not, these days with all the technology out there, that element has more than been addressed, wherever you are. And of course training in the winter (or anytime for that matter) doesn’t just mean on the bike, add some variety! Non-bike training is just as important and shouldn’t be neglected. Much of this alternative training can also be done indoors, so the winter certainly provides an ideal time to begin mixing it up and incorporating other elements of training into your routine.
Give yourself some balance and make the most of both indoors and outdoors this winter, keeping you training and working towards your 2019 goals!
As always, I’m more than happy to answer any questions and offer any advice. You can find me on Instagram and twitter @dfpatten.