It’s tough being a bike rider from December through late March. Keeping up the motivation to exercise on a cold winter day instead of curling up under a warm blanket on the sofa can be difficult. Sometimes lack of motivation rears its ugly head during these challenging times despite our best efforts to press on. Yet, this time of year, many cyclists, competitive and recreational, are fighting regular demons whether that is general fatigue, lack of time, seasonal illness or just plain boredom.
Granted, the amount of downtime you can afford to take in winter depends on your goals for the coming year. If you have a century ride, a bike trip, or a hard race scheduled for June or July, you can probably get away with a layoff. On the other hand, if an athlete wants to maintain fitness over the winter it it’s important to you get your motivation in gear now to make these gains and keep your cycling training on track. Here’s how.
First, it’s important to review your goals for the coming year and create a supportive environment that supports your goals. Is there a time of day that works best for you? Then, schedule your training time. Do you train better with a partner? Then, enlist the help of your family and friends. Is your bike riding properly? Check out your bike components, determine which bike parts you need, and get your bike in proper riding condition. Your primary objective in creating a support structure is to foster an environment in which you are supported and held accountable. This makes sitting on the sofa eating bonbons a little less attractive and harder to do!
Also, keep it fresh! Winter is a time to build for the year ahead. Trade saddle time for gym time to gain core strength. The primary focus when it comes to strength exercises for cyclists is to train in a similar motion to cycling with lower and upper body, while increasing overall core strength and muscular endurance. Check out The Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists or 7 Hip and Core Exercises for Endurance Athletes to get you started and also – to keep you motivated through the winter months.
Another option? Focus on nutrition. Many subscribe to the idea of eating pasta and carbs for fueling training and racing. Yet, there is a growing shift in nutritional information towards a strong focus on vegetables, fruits and lean meats as fuel. Consider experimenting with your diet and nutrition as a means for making gains in your 2015 cycling program. For ideas, read Five Ways To Get Started With the Paleo Diet.
Everything else aside, if you still don’t feel compelled to train through the winter, then at least feast your eyes on bike parts, cycling accessories, and new bikes. Or, bring your bike in for service at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop. At a minimum, you are fueling your desire to ride when the weather improves! But, what it boils down to is that an essential element to being a successful athlete is staying motivated throughout the year. Remember, cycling is supposed to be fun. Set small goals, create a supportive structure and atmosphere for your training environment, and you’ll be amazed at what you can do in 2015!