To make the most of winter training, Gregory suggests you:
Invest in the right cycling gear. Having a thermal jacket, base layer, gloves, and head, neck, leg, and arm warmers is crucial for braving the coldest British winters. Donning bright or reflective outer layers is recommended to enhance visibility.
Since roads are often wet, make sure to wash your bike frequently, especially when road gritters are out. Protect your bike frame from salt corrosion. You may also want to switch to wider, grippier tires for better traction.
Plan your routes carefully. Opt for well-travelled roads that are more likely to be salted and avoid areas prone to freezing puddles. Shorter rides will let you make the most of the limited daylight hours. If cycling in the dark, equip yourself with powerful lights and ensure they are charged before each ride.
Yo adds that we shouldn’t forget hydration in winter, or to stay stocked up with a good source of carbohydrates to keep your energy up as we burn more calories to keep warm in the cold. “We can often blame the weather conditions for quick fatigue when all we need to do is make a slight adjustment to our nutrition during this period,” he says.
“It’s always important to remember ‘why’ you hop on that bike,” Yo continues. “If it’s a fitness goal you are training for, keep that fresh in your mind with visual reminders in your day-to-day routine, e.g., a motivational quote on your bathroom mirror.”
Crucially, Yo adds that it’s OK to take it easy over winter, too. “Athletes have on and off seasons and so can you. If you normally go on the bike four times a week, you might want to change it to just two, or if you normally do a 60-minute session, switch it to just 45 or 30 minutes instead.”
Exercises to try to keep my cycling on track
During the height of winter, even the most dedicated cyclists may not be able to cycle as frequently. Gregory suggests jumping on an indoor bike or investing in a turbo trainer as a workaround. “If that sounds dull, try an immersive online training platform like Zwift, which gamifies the experience, enabling you to train, ride, and compete in stunning virtual fantasy worlds,” he suggests, also pointing to other platforms like TrainerRoad and Sufferfest.
To help you get the most out of your workout, Yo recommends an increased focus on warming up before jumping in the saddle. “Our muscles are less flexible and responsive in cold weather,” he says. “Cold weather can also restrict the blood vessels, which may limit the blood flow, and breathing cold air can be harsher on your lungs and airways. A pre-cycling routine gets the blood flow to your muscles to activate them for exercise, preventing injuries and lubricating your joints.”
Outside of the above, Yo recommends the drills below to help you stay in tip-top shape when the weather is keeping you indoors.
1. Mobilise – Squat
“Squats are perfect for getting ready for the saddle as it hits the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves,” he says.
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