YOUR WINTER TRAINING GUIDE by Pav Bryan

As the nights grow longer and the weather ever colder, you’d be forgiven for thinking long and hard about how you will get through your winter’s training and make the most of this excellent opportunity for cycling performance improvements before your goals for the following year.


Covered in this blog:

  • How to safely ride outdoors during winter

  • Top tips

  • How to stay motivated during winter

  • Zero tolerance to excuses

  • Organise your winter routine

  • Less hibernation, more motivation

  • Riding indoors


How to safely ride outdoors during winter

We can’t all escape the brutal British weather by moving to California (cough!), and maybe you’re not a fan of indoor training, or maybe you’re just a die hard, hard as nails, outside rider. Whatever the reason, here are my top ten tips for riding in the cold.

  • Put on multiple layers

  • Take with you spare layers like a rain jacket even if it’s not raining

  • A pair of overshoes that insulate and keep your feet dry, and double up on socks

  • A quality pair of gloves, consider two layers here too

  • Use a buff or mask to keep your face protected

  • Take money, your phone, and anything you might need if you get stranded

  • Be sensible with your route

  • Prep your bike for winter riding

  • Make sure you are visible with bright, and charged, lights

  • Consider warming up your body indoors first

How to stay motivated during winter

Your mentality affects your cycling performance, but it can be incredibly challenging to even consider training during winter when, typically, you have a massive amount of time between now and your actual events or goals.

Ultimately, winter training can feel like a bit of a slog – even inside – , but put the hours in over the chillier months and come the summer you’ll be putting in your best performances on your bike.

Zero tolerance to excuses

We have all made our excuses at least once! Winter time can be really tough. For most, it’s easier to curl up and watch television than it is jumping on the bike – even if the bike is inside!

Try to find excuses to go out and ride instead. Focusing on your goals is a great way to increase motivation to train, even if said goals are several months away. We all love an epic story too. Hitting the bike in some of the worst conditions creates some of the best stories. Just remember to stay safe at all times.

 

Organise your winter routine

Having a training plan is crucial to navigating the winter. The daylight doesn’t last that long in winter, so reducing deliberation and planning time is a must. It can be really beneficial to have a regular, reliable group – either club or just riding buddies – to head out with on dark evening or weekend rides – both for safety reasons and for that much needed motivation.

It’s also the best time to start working with a coach. A good coach will help you through winter and ensure that you are the strongest bike rider you’ve ever been come summer.

Less hibernation, more motivation

Despite the lack of daylight, there might actually be more available training time in the winter. During winter, there are fewer opportunities to spend evenings soaking up alcohol and food. Whilst your other riding friends are hibernating, you can get ahead by being out in the elements and making the most of the winter season. By the summer,  you’ll be glad you did.


Lionel Vujasin, our specialised Zwift and cycling coach. Learn more about him here.


Riding indoors

Of course, there is another way! Zwift came along and changed the face of winter training. I call my friend, Eric Min, CEO of Zwift, the godfather of indoor training – he very much is one of the key people who have made it possible to train all year round.

Whether training indoors appeals to you because you really can’t stand the winter weather or you’re using it to supplement your outdoor riding, there are some strong benefits to being inside. Intervals and training specifically to target power or heart rate is considerably easier, and you tend to get more quality training from inside sessions, where you are constantly pedalling. Of course, it is also far safer, not just from adverse weather, but from road traffic and obstructions.

Summary

Regardless of what you do this winter, just ensure you do something! While I’m not necessarily a fan of the saying “winter miles means summer smiles” – as it places emphasis on training for more winter miles versus quality cycling training time – I would recommend getting serious with your training as early as possible. No one ever turned up at their event thinking that they did too much training, they only ever think they didn’t do enough…


Pav Bryan, our cycling performance editor. Lear more about Pav here.

0 comments