Winter offers a great opportunity to spice up your training and to try new sessions. We asked our friends at Andy Cook Cycling how to keep yourself riding through those cold winter months.
- Try riding your usual routes the other way round for a change and to add variety.
- Devise some small road circuits for use in the winter months, around 6-8 miles long. This means you are never too far from home should the weather turn or you run out of energy. Time yourself and try to beat it on the following lap!
- Commuting to work on a bike is a great way to utilise your travelling time and will keep your fitness ticking over.
- Keep motivated by looking back on your season and evaluate what you have achieved. Then look ahead to next season. Identify your goals and plan accordingly. Think about the events you want to enter.
- Join a club or go out with a group of like-minded friends. You’re more likely to get out of bed if you’ve arranged a meeting time and point. Riding in a group with the inevitable banter and competitive edge will make the miles more enjoyable and the hours pass far quicker. Other benefits include the fact that you’ll always have someone with you should you run into trouble to give a helping hand with mechanical issues. Sprint up the hills and then regroup at the top. Joining a club is also a great way to learn from experienced cyclists. You will learn the etiquette and skills of group riding. This will help at your next events.
- If you like to use events to keep you focused and motivated, try some winter sportives, reliability trials or Audax events.
If you don’t get the chance to ride during daylight, it can be daunting to ride in the dark but there are still options to stay on the bike:
- Try some of your local industrial estates. They are usually well-lit and traffic-free in the evenings: great for an hour’s tempo ride or intervals. It’s also a good opportunity to perfect cornering/gearing technique. Sprinting out of corners on a short 1 km circuit is great interval training.
- Try the Velodrome (if you live near a velodrome – there are more and more popping up around the country), they often have winter track leagues or sessions on during the evenings. It’s a great way of completing a good session in the warm and dry.
- Outdoor velodromes or cycling circuits often put on training sessions during the winter months. A great way to get some riding in on traffic free roads!
- Hit the turbo. High intensity interval sessions are very effective for maintaining and improving your fitness without needing to spend hours on the bike.
There are a lot of tips and tricks to keep you riding throughout the winter. It is after all the best opportunity to improve on areas of weakness and test out that new bike you want for Christmas.
In part 2 of the winter training series of blogs we will delve into some great turbo sessions for those days that you just to want to stay indoors.