The winter is here, the daylight hours are shorter but this does not have to spell the end of great strides forward in training. Logan Griffin from Spoken Coaching gave us his 10 top tips for making this winter’s training a success.
1. Set process goals
I always like to focus on ‘non-result’ goals over winter. With less racing on and riders often not on top form its good to set goals related to specific improvements in power, heart rate, technique etc.
2. Invest in quality clothing
Nothing makes training in winter worse than being wet and cold. Good gear can be expensive but I don’t think I’ve ever regretted buying something that made my winter rides that little bit more comfortable and it has helped to overcome at least one of the major hurdles to getting outside and riding.
3. Use Strava
Again back to there being less racing during winter, you don’t always need to pin on a number to get that competitive rush, train to set a PB or take a KOM on one of your local segments on Strava. This can also be great to help focus on a specific area of your fitness. If I’m working with an athlete to improve their 5 minute power lets say, we will select a segment of about that time, set a goal, and use that to test improvements.
4. Get Specific
Winter can be a great time to really knuckle down on a specific area of fitness. Sprint power, strength work or even try improve your ability to produce power at higher cadences. If you’re heading out the door to do a shorter more specific session that’s where a lot of people will find it easier to get done rather than a longer steady state ride.
5. Try to ride slower
Riding ‘slower’ on the bike can actually be a better idea. Gravel, MTB, cyclocross bikes can all be good fun over winter, and traveling a bit slower helps take the edge off the wind chill and gives you a bit of variety from just training on the road.
6. Explore a bit
Distract yourself from the weather with some new roads, and try out some big loops. Once you’ve started you’re committed to get round so there are no easy outs.
I never thought I’d enjoy riding a bike inside but Zwift is about as close as it gets for me. If its for a race, a training session or even a virtual bunch ride, there’s something about the screen and bright colours which helps pass the time and distract you from the effort.
8. Keep trainer sessions to the point
There are some days where riding outside just isn’t really an option so the indoor trainer is unavoidable. I wouldn’t subject anyone to more than an hour on the trainer but also I want them to make the most of that time, it doesn’t have to be hard but at least try to do something specific and that will benefit the phase of training you are in at that time.
9. Find some friends
It’s always more fun riding with someone else as it helps to have someone to chat to and attempt to solve the world’s problems. Also if you’ve both made a plan to meet and go for a ride in the morning, pressing snooze on the alarm is not quite as easy with the added accountability.
10. Make yourself accountable
It’s very easy to procrastinate and wait for the weather to clear, so set a time and stick to it, if you plan to leave at 8, leave at 8. The first few times are hard but once you’ve set the habit it’ll get easier; especially with other people.