‘Winter is Coming’ is not only a well-known quote by the hit series Game of Thrones (recommended for those who have not seen it yet), but also a well-known issue for cyclists. Just cleaned roads, snow on the sides, freezing weather, clear blue skies and a bright sunshine: the perfect conditions to hop on your bike and cycle through these beautiful winter months. Are you picturing it already?! In this blog I will walk you through three tips and tricks to make the most of the winter period that is coming.
Tip 1: get dressed properly and eat enough.
Make sure you wear several layers so that you can always take one off when you get hot. In addition, bring a (reflective) windbreaker. Also make sure your bike is winter-ready. Road salt makes your bike rusts faster. A mudguard can easily prevent that. In addition, it is useful to mount tires with more grip on your bike to overcome slippery roads.
In addition to good clothing, nutrition is important. You will notice that you have a higher heart rate in winter than during summer with the same exercise load. Cycling in the cold means that your body has to generate extra energy to keep the body at the right temperature and to do so it needs extra energy.
Tip 2: don’t focus on PR’s
During winter you should not focus on improving PRs or taking KOMs on Strava. The conditions during this period make it impossible to excel. The cold causes performance to decline and the extra weight of your clothing does not help either. Therefore, you should use these winter rides to maintain or improve your basic condition. This provides a good foundation for the peak moments during summer. Workouts that you can do during winter are endurance workouts in D1/D2 (performance zones). Doing heavy interval workouts will get you in shape too quickly. This sounds positive, but unfortunately you cannot sustain this until the peak period, which is (usually) in summer.
Tip 3: increase your strength training
The winter period is also a good time to improve your strength and core stability. This is good for strengthening your back and leg muscles. Make sure you don't use too heavy weights. This ensures the build-up of too much muscle mass, which causes you to gain more weight than you should. Stick to low weights and high reps. Besides strength training, yoga is also a good winter activity. Yoga ensures that your muscles remain flexible. In addition, it also makes you stronger! Especially for people who spend a lot of time in the same position on the bike, this is a form of training that is highly recommended.
And in case winter is not for you; take your Tacx and put on Swift, choose a route in a nice warm country and imagine yourself spending winter in 25 degrees 😉