The winter months can be particularly hard and depressing, and they certainly make training seem that much more difficult too. Cycling is less enjoyable, easy, and safe when you are wearing 5 layers and can’t see what’s in front of you due to driving rain or freezing fog.
After work training becomes harder as it gets dark so much earlier, and a pre-work cycle is difficult as the same darkness often lingers that much longer into the morning. As well as this, it’s sometimes just too cold to get out of bed (depending on where you live).
Here are 4 tips to combat the winter blues, and ensure that once spring arrives, you are in the best shape you possibly can be.
1. Lunch Breaks
If you get an hour for lunch, you need to saddle up and get out there for an intensive 45 minute tour of the roads local to your workplace. You can get back just in time to eat a healthy sandwich and then back to work. These 45 minutes may seem like very little, but over 2 or 3 months, they will have a positive impact.
2. Train at home
Investing in a good exercise bike will be of great benefit to you as you attempt to maintain your level of fitness while not being able to go out on the road. It may seem less fun than your usual method of training, but you can always watch TV or listen to music, and depending on the size of your investment you can see how fit you are. Many are built-in with all kinds of analytical data-recording devices, so you can keep very close track of your progress as the months go by.
3. Gym Membership
Going to the gym is not for everyone, but if training at home is not an option, or you want to work on more than just one aspect of your fitness, you should sign up and spend an hour or two there after every working day. All gyms have personal trainers that could help you devise a fitness regime based on your goals. You will get a lot more variation in the gym, and with measurable and achievable weekly targets, you could find yourself coming out of winter fitter than you went in.
4. Make the most of the weekend
You should look to utilise the day light hours at the weekend to go on extended bike rides to make up for anything you may have lost out on during the week. Temperatures may still be a problem, but providing you don’t live within the Arctic Circle, you will soon warm up as you get going (In Australia we should be ok ;)). A 4 or 5 hour ride is certainly not out of the question in terms of the daylight afforded, and will keep your mind and body in ‘cycling mode’ as you work your way through winter.
All these tips combined will ensure you have a fruitful winter of training.
Photo credit: hr.icio / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)