Training & Nutrition

8 Top Tips for Training on your Bike in Winter

Winter can be an exciting time. It may be dark and cold but you can go into that cave and emerge a better, more confident cyclist when you come out of it. So don’t ditch the bike, embrace it and take on board these top tips for training on your bike in winter. 

It’s a bit snowy out there. Image by Nico Hogg via Flickr

1. Mind-set:

Probably the most important thing about winter is your mind-set. Stay positive. Be mindful of what you are trying to achieve, and get busy doing what you need to in order get where you want to be.

2. Goal setting/planning:

If you haven’t got one already, get yourself a plan. Don’t tie yourself up in knots over it but at least stick a few stakes in the ground for 2015. Write them down. Stick them up all over the house. Tell all your friends. The more you talk about them the more likely you are to take steps to actually make them happen.

3. Time in the saddle:

You have to find a way to keep riding through the winter. Just because you can’t ride the same as you would in the summer doesn’t give you the excuse to get off your bike. Get organised and get kitted up with the right clothing and accessories for you and your bike. Get waterproofs, get thermals, get lights, prepare your bike for winter and get out there whenever you safely can.

Embrace the cold, wrap up warm and don’t procrastinate.

4. Stay active with cross-training:

When it is impossible to ride your bike stay as active as you can by embracing any opportunity to cross train. Exercising regularly is the best way to keep you feeling like a cyclist in training. Other good habits will follow. Stay away from the sofa and take-aways at all costs and find other things to do.

5. Be proactive with problems:

If you have any niggles or weaknesses that need addressing, now is the perfect time to figure them out and get them sorted. Seek out professional help and advice and get your bike set up correctly, get yourself some massage or physio, and make time for those rehab/prehab exercises.

6. Nutrition:

Eat well to stay healthy. Winter comfort food can be healthy stews, roasts and soups. Relish the opportunity to come in from a winter ride to enjoy a healthy hot meal, and the occasional hot pudding. Spend some of your enforced indoor time honing your domestic skills to find some simple wholesome meals that you can easily prepare for after training.

7. Party Pooping:

Winter time can be party time, and of course you want to have fun. But be careful about burning the candle at both ends too often. If you have a big night out, don’t expect to get up the following morning for training as usual. Instead, be realistic, be kind to your body and rest up and let your body recover. Training on too much alcohol and not enough sleep is a recipe for illness and illness is the enemy of winter training.

8. Sleep, rest, and hibernate:

With all this being said about what you can do, it’s worth remembering that winter is the perfect time to get plenty of rest. Sleeping enough is vital to getting the best out of your winter and boosting your immune system to keep the bugs at bay. It’s dark out there because you are meant to sleep more, so get to bed on time and sleep soundly in the knowledge that you are putting energy points in the tank.

Also worth a read: 

Indoor cycling training tips

4 Most Common Cycling Injuries: How to Treat and Avoid Them 

How to: Avoid the common cold 

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