It’s winter. It’s cold. There’s snow on the ground. And, when the snow melts, it’s still cold – and wet. Many brave winter cycling and enjoy it with layering and a designated winter bike to ride. But, most of us suffer inside. The first few weeks of indoor training seems to be bearable; however, as the weeks continue without any hopes of prolonged outdoor riding in sight, the indoor workouts get shorter. Or, they don’t happen at all. The problem is, consistency in training is critical to prepare your body for the physical stresses of the season ahead.
How do you make peace with indoor training? How can indoor training actually support consistency in training?
It may seem obvious, but scheduling workouts on the same day every week will help with consistency. By creating a repeating schedule that you know works for you you minimize the chances to missing a workout. The post, 4 Habits to Increase Your Consistency, offers more suggestions on increasing consistency, such as, being purposeful, following your plan as best as possible, and getting in shorter rides when you have less time to train.
But motivation is key to maintaining consistency. When lack of training motivation rears its ugly head, you don’t have to be a victim to it, take action. The post, Surviving the Winter as a Cyclist, shares some great “fortune cookie wisdom” in that the hardest part is just getting started. “Whether it’s starting your workout for the day, or jumping back into training after you’ve been “off the wagon” for a while, getting going is tough. That’s the law of inertia. An object at rest wants to stay at rest. But on the flip side, once an object is in motion, it wants to stay in motion. The key here – start pedaling. Make a time commitment to stay on the bike for 30 minutes to see how you feel. By then, most likely you’ll be into the ride and lack of motivation is disappearing.
If cycling indoors just isn’t your thing, accept it. But don’t give up! 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.
You may also consider doing yoga. In cycling, the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hips never rest. As a result, riders often have overdeveloped quadriceps and tight hamstrings, which can pull the hips out of alignment. Also, a cyclist’s spine is constantly flexed forward. If proper form isn’t maintained, it can result in muscle pain and strain in the back and shoulders. Yoga helps ease the tightness, creating core strength, and aligning the spine. Even if you aren’t into yoga, there are 3 poses you should practice.
When you think about it, indoor training doesn’t have to be as bad as you think. Options are available. And, you may just give winter riding another chance too! Winter riding can be equally as fun as Summer riding given you have the right cycling apparel, you know how to dress for winter riding, and you have the right bike parts in your winter toolkit.