Introduction- How Do You Train During the Winter Months
Training plays an essential role in cycling. It helps us keep up and improve our performance. We always want to stay fit and healthy to get the most out of each and every ride, and even outplay our last one the next time we get on our bike and start pedaling.
However, and as much as we like to train while doing what we enjoy the most, there are some times when we cannot do so. Winter months can become very harsh in some places, both for us and our rides. Snowy or icy roads are not highly recommended cycling conditions, as they are considered quite dangerous.
Besides, the range between 30-40° F (-1 to 5 C) is considered the cut-off temperature for most riders. Unless you are perfectly equipped—and prepared—for this kind of weather, it may also come across as a hazard to your health. But what should we do if we live in a place where these temperatures are part of a regular year?
Indoor training is a great option to compensate for our lack of cycling during the winter months. There are several ways to stay fit and prepared for the following season, or at least until harsh weather is over. Moreover, there are plenty of ways to improve our performance, and even do better next time we hit the road!
How Can I Improve My Indoor Training?
Indoor cycling is a great way to replace the outdoor activity of riding a bike. Besides being necessary, it may also be very amusing and rewarding. Making it so relies entirely on you and what you decide to do to keep your performance up for the upcoming warmer season. Here are some tips for you to get the most out of it.
Decide where to train. Indoor training is much more enjoyable when you are comfortable with your surroundings. Whether you are a quiet, calm trainee, or you prefer loud music and sharing with other people, you should decide where you would like to spend your training hours.
Bear in mind that it might get a little sloppy because of your own sweat, and that temperature should resemble your outdoor cycling as much as possible. Make it as pleasant as possible so that nothing gets between you and your indoor cycling.
Decide what type of trainer you will use. There are different types of trainers for you to choose from. Depending on the type of training you are aiming for, it may be better to incline your preference to one in particular.Turbo trainers are one of the most common choices. These are inexpensive and allow you to fit your bike onto it and pedal while a mount and a cylinder hold the rear wheel in place. You can use your power meter in the same way as you would when cycling outdoors.
Contrary to the previous example, smart trainers replace your rear wheel. They come with a cassette to shift gears and get the desired resistance for your training session. They resemble regular cycling quite well, and some accept indoor cycling apps for you to get the most out of it.
Another natural way of indoor training is by using rollers. These cylinders roll freely under your bike as you pedal, keeping it from moving forward. Balance is up to you, just as it happens when cycling outside.
Last, but clearly not least, is the indoor bike. This device is designed just for indoor training. Its shape resembles a regular bike, but no wheels are in sight. The more modern they are, the better the gadgets they include, which help you monitor your activity and getting to know your performance conditions in a better way.
Follow a training plan. Having order in your indoor training routine will help you maintain the activity level you had during warmer seasons. In this way, your body will not realize that something has changed, and going back to the roads and keep your performance up will not become a heavy task. Decide time and days in which you will train, and stick to that plan. Mind and body will be aligned, thus helping you have order in your workout life.
Always remember you are doing this with the goal of replacing what you usually do on a regular basis, so it should be treated the same way. Check out this video of an indoor cycling workout (credits to Global Cycling Network):
What Other Things Can I Do to Improve My Cycling Performance During Winter Months?
Besides taking up indoor cycling, there are other ways to improve your performance for the upcoming warm season. As stated above, mind and body should be in line in order to keep yourself completely fit and healthy. Here are some tips for you to add to your indoor cycling routine.
Set your mind to it. A good mindset is a perfect way to prepare yourself for indoor training. Creating an indoor workout schedule on your own is one thing, but being able to have the necessary discipline to stick with it is a different thing. You need to be convinced that the results will definitely improve your life as a rider even though it may not look like the best thing to do.
Follow a food plan. Being stuck indoors and with cold weather, we tend to eat more caloric food. Added to this, being at rest is not a great combination if we are looking to keep fit. It would not be a bad idea to cut off food that would make you gain weight in order to prepare yourself for the warmer season.
If you need any help, you can ask a professional or check online for a good food plan. Bear in mind that there are many variables such as pre-existing medical conditions and allergies to consider, so make sure to consult a healthcare professional before starting on a new food plan. Also be sure to follow local authorities’ health advice so as not to do anything that may be harmful to your health.
Credits and Useful Reading: