February 13, 2024

Wintering Winter

Winning Winter

So it’s winter. The time of year where many people find themselves preferring to cuddle up on the couch under a blanket much more than making the effort to bundle up to bear the frigid temps and gusty winds. Maybe you are one of those who looks forward to this time of year, but if you are like most of us, you can’t wait for the start of those 65-degree, sunny spring days where all you want to do is get out there and ride your bike. At least that is how I feel. We’ve still got at least a month left of winter weather and temps, but the good news is that this time doesn’t have to be spent simply dreaming of better days. The winter months are a great time to refresh, reflect, and prepare. Below is a list of some ways to make your winter training more enjoyable and productive.

  1. Take a break.
  • Give yourself some leniency this time of year. You’ve trained hard in the past and will train hard again, but your body and mind needs time to recoup so you can hit it hard again come spring. If you are like me, taking a break is harder than continuing to train, but you will thank yourself later for giving your body the rest it needs so it can perform when it matters most.
  1. Reflect on the past year and plan for the next year.
  • What went right and what went wrong in 2023 and how can you work to make sure your 2024 riding season is your best one yet? This can mean reflecting on training mistakes, understanding and mitigating barriers to consistency, and finding ways to make your time spent on the bike even more enjoyable (bike fit, mobility and strength work, comfortable kit, etc). Hold on to what was good, and problem solve to fix what was wrong. 
  • Plan for ways to make this new year a fun one for your riding style. Find races or events that excite you or find a place/route that you have always wanted to ride then put in the work to get you prepared for it. Making plans will not only help motivate you to keep riding but also will give focus and direction for your riding.
  1. Work on your weaknesses.
  • Identify and work on your weaknesses this winter. This is where you can make the most gains in your performance and fitness with the least amount of effort. The winter or “off season” is the best time to focus on these, so you can roll into spring as a stronger, more well-rounded rider.
  1. Keep Moving.
  • Even though it can be hard to get yourself out of the door in the winter months, doing something is far better than doing nothing. This can look like simply 30 minute trainer rides, short gym work throughout the week, or even a 15-minute jog/walk around the neighborhood. These sessions, though small and simple, will pay off largely in maintaining health and fitness. Doing something to keep your body moving will not only make you feel better in everyday life but also will allow you to maintain some base fitness for when those spring months come along.