So we have officially entered winter and the cold weather is starting to remind us of this fact now
No doubt about it...training during winter is hard! Never-mind the getting-out-of-bed part, even just the thought of all those layers of clothing and huffing & puffing up the hills breathing that icy cold air is enough to pre-empt a wane in one’s motivation.
Despite the negative connotations of winter training, these 3 cold months have the potential to prove most beneficial in one’s cycling season...if you have a plan...Without a plan it becomes very easy to hit the snooze button, or give into that one-too-many chocolate bar and warm up the couch instead of your saddle.
Group riding will get you out on the bike!
Winter Training Tips
Here are some simple ideas to help you structure that plan, so that once those temps start rising, you’re ready to step up from the front and you’re not trying to leapfrog from the back:
• Set yourself a/some goals... These need not be race goals but something more related to your health and wellbeing. Shifting focus over the winter months can prove rewarding in looking after other areas of your life that most probably get over-looked in the hype of preparing for big events. It may be a re-look at your eating habits/starting a strength routine/trying out a new activity. Whatever it may be, take the time to think a bit differently.
• With no big racing to be too serious about, winter riding should ideally be structured around social interaction and enjoyment. On outdoor rides, try to hook up with a training partner or group...a commitment to ‘show-up’ works wonders when that snooze-button is beckoning and once you’re out there with your mates the ‘feel-good’ factor always wins.
• Maintain some structured workouts during the week. You don’t want to lose all that you’ve worked hard to achieve during the summer so maintenance is important. Training indoors has the obvious perks of warmth and safety, but it also allows one the opportunity to hammer out a good quality 1h00 session that will keep your FTP at a reasonable level so that when spring starts to bloom you don’t need to start from scratch again. One to two of these sessions per week will do the trick.
• Substitute a few of your bike workouts with some cross-training (1 – 2 sessions/week)...running, swimming, rowing, cross-fit. Not only does this give your cycling-specific muscles a bit of variance in load, but it is also a welcome mental break from your season-focused routine.
• Use the colder months to improve your core strength...the stronger your core, the more balance and stability you’ll have which means greater power outputs on the bike. Pilates and yoga are great workouts to achieve this, and the bonus is that they include stretching!
• Weekends should be used to get Endurance miles in the legs and to re-establish your enjoyment of the sport....often the intense focus on attaining summer goals can translate into a bit of drudgery. As an athlete that doesn’t make your living from the sport, it is important to remind yourself of your reasons for being involved. If you’re not having fun ultimately, what’s the point? Make your rides more social and don’t focus too much on attaining that certain average power/HR.
• Make sure that you are eating and hydrating sufficiently on your outdoor rides...with the lower temperatures one can quickly forget to drink adequately as you don’t feel as thirsty, and you tend not to eat as frequently. Your body needs just as much, if not slightly more to meet the demands of your training, in addition to keeping warm.
• R & R...if you’re not preparing for anything particular in the winter months enjoy the fact that this time period need not be as time intense and race focused. Adding in an extra rest day during this time means you’ll lose some overall training load but it also means there is room to create a solid build once training starts in earnest again…and you’ll be mentally and physically fresh to do so.
• When you do venture out onto the roads in the early mornings, dress adequately but cleverly...dressing in layers means you can strip off as it gets warmer, and make sure that whatever you take off can be easily folded up and carried in a pocket. Face masks/buffs are great for warming up the air you inhale and providing extra protection for more exposed head and facial areas.
• Always remind yourself that we really don’t have it that bad here in SA and that you’d much rather be pedalling in the cold & sun versus the cold & snow!
No need to go out in the snow!
White Inc. News
Our first organised outride happened on the 27th of May and it was a great success. Thankfully the ride out to, and around the South of Jo’burg, went without any hitches and the coffees & breakfast @ Croft&Co made the chilly early morning so worth it!
One of our favourite places to ride: All Out Adventures is hosting their annual RidetheBerg in a few weeks time, 24/25 June. We highly recommend participating at the event. It is a 2 - day MTB ride / race, and you get to surf some of the finest trails of the Drakensberg in a pristine valley on the edge of the Northern Berg. There is still time to enter so go to RidetheBerg.co.za
Le Tour is almost upon us and for those who are not planning a trip to the spectacle, we will be hosting a BEERS & BURGERS afternoon/early evening on the 20th July @ Croft&Co. Stage 18 from Briancon to Col d’ Izoard (last mountain stage) promises a potential showdown on the final climb. Join us from 16h00 to watch the story unfold (proposed stage finishing time 17h30). Families welcome! RSVP with Di White
If you’re looking to invest in any training tools such as power meters, indoor trainers, bike computers, HR monitors please get in touch with Nic and we can advise on appropriate options and get you sorted.