In the warmer months, it’s just easier to get out. It might be the weather or a looming goal like a race or century event that provides the motivation. Mostly, it’s the weather. In the colder, wetter months, motivation is a bit more difficult. I generally associate “training” with “discipline”and “discipline” with a goal. At this time of year though, goals are far off in the distance, ergo, no impending goals = low motivation = low discipline. All this adds up to finding it too easy to stay off the bike in the winter. Whenever I ask stronger riders than myself what their key is to getting and staying a strong rider, they almost always respond with having a solid base from which to build. And it’s that winter base that translates into spring and summer fitness. So wadya do?
Your winter training situation may not need to look like Andy Hampsten on the Gavia Pass, but you can always do something to maintain and build a base in the winter months. The trainer, gym, dare I say jogging on occasion, hiking, P90X…we have options as cyclists to maintain and build a winter base on or off the bike and they all eventually pay dividends.
Tony over at Joe to Pro Cycling has a great post on scheduling your training so you’ll be less likely to fade into egg nog oblivion this holiday season. Here are a few things that have helped me not only stay active but build a base in the off-season:
- Start your week off with something active – By starting off strong, you’ll have motivation for the rest of the week. And if you have to skip a day later in the week because of family or work obligations, you won’t be kicking yourself because you’ve already had an off day.
- Don’t take more than 1 day off being active – Not everyday has to be an epic ride, just stay active when harsh conditions keep you out of the saddle. When you slide into 2 consecutive days off, it’s too easy to miss another, then another…
- Plan it – Tony’s post is helpful here. Write it down. It doesn’t become real until you write it down. Better yet, write it down and show it to someone.
- Track it - When you keep track of anything, you become more aware and when you’re more aware then you’re on it. I use a nifty little iPhone app called Cycling Log but a pencil and paper work just fine.
- Group Rides! As long as it doesn’t look like the Gavia Pass on stage 20 in the ’85 Giro in your neighborhood, commit to meeting a buddy at your local Group Ride.
Commit to making this your best winter yet – it will pay off and you’ll be a better, stronger rider!