Winter Training Tips for a Stellar New Cycling Season
Now autumn is here we know that winter is not far behind. The colder months bring shorter days and a nip in the air. Nonetheless, with a little planning, you can keep the pedals turning to keep your cycling skills sharp and your condition great.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some winter training tips that will help you prepare for next season and excel.
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Set Goals and Commit
The first step when putting together a winter training plan is to set goals. You may want to work towards riding a sportive such as Marmotte Alps or the Mallorca 312. You may want to achieve a distance or a power output figure. Whatever your goals may be, write them down. This will help give you focus.
Next, take some time to reflect on how well last season went. Identify things you were good at, and areas you feel need strengthening. This could be your endurance, sprinting, climbing, and so forth. Improving these areas could be part of your goals.
Your goals don’t have to be this detailed. If you’re a new cyclist, your goal could be, for example, ride a local sportive.
Plan and Progress
Once you have your goals, write down available training weeks between now and your goal. In other words, if your goal is to ride the Mallorca 312, work out how many weeks you have to train before the start of the event.
Next, try and workout available training time during the week. If you commute, include your ride to work as you can use this to train. This exercise will give you a clear picture of how many hours you have to train in a given day and week.
Now you have a good picture of when you can train you can start putting together a training plan. This should be a good mix of intensity and distance rides. If you are trying to sure up your weaker areas, factor this into your training plan. So if you feel your climbing needs work, ensure you use training techniques to improve it.
Progression in Cycling
There are, in essence, three ways to progress in cycling. They are:
- Volume – Train for longer
- Intensity – Train harder
- Frequency – Train more often
Ideally, try and balance these elements when planning your training. Increasing either volume, intensity, or frequency, ensures you are training harder.
It is important to build recover into your training plan. It is a good idea to read our post, 8 Pro Recovery Tips to Enhance your Cycling Career in the first instance. Pro cyclists have recovery plans and so should you.
As you improve, you’ll be able to ride further and faster with less recovery time needed. You might, for example, find you only need one rest day per week rather than two. Listen to your body and adjust your training plan accordingly.
Base Miles and Intensity
Although it would be lovely to be able to train like a professional and do base mile training week in week out, the fact is that life is not just for cycling even though you want it to be. Family, work, and everything else ensure that you never have a dull day.
Winter nights means less daylight and this impacts on your training time too.
As such, try and do longer rides at weekends or when you have more time and do specific exercises to on your ride to work or turbo trainer sessions. (Take a look at our turbo trainer posts and videos as a guide.)
To progress, look to increase the intensity of the specific exercise as and when you can. The progression here is important, and as you become fitter and stronger should become easier over time.
Preparing for Bad Weather
Preparation and flexibility are key to coping with bad weather. Clothing should include overshoes, gloves, and a waterproof jacket. If you can stay dry, you will stay warm.
Flexibility is needed during the colder months. If the roads are icy, high winds, torrential rain, and so on, think about jumping on the turbo trainer to train. Not only could a crash result in serious injury, but even a minor crash can set back your training considerably.
It is worth checking the weather forecast for a week and planning your rides around the weather if possible.
During February and March, our Early Season Cycling Camp in Mallorca allows you to increase your strength, power, endurance, VO2 Max, and develop your FTP.
Core strength is essential to cycling. So when off the bike, consider doing core exercises to strengthen the muscle groups needed for strong cycling.
With a good winter plan, you will find that when the new season starts hitting your final goal will be much easier, and you will be a fitter and stronger cyclist as a result.