It’s the “Off Season” – Putting it all to work.

Feature Articles Trainers


By Eric Kenney

By the time we rest get re-focused and on track again it’s winter. Don’t despair! Before we get to specifics lets go over a few points so we don’t get side tracked this winter.

We all have different ideas on winter training. For some it is a vital time of year, laying the foundation for a big race mid summer or tuning speed for the early season du-athlons/Crits. For some, winter will be a success if we gain less than 10 pounds. What ever your motivations for this winter; balancing a structured plan with a good dose of spontaneity will get you in the best form ever, physically and mentally.

If you live in the northern states or anywhere that snows in the winter, and you’re not a pro, you simply can’t train as much in the winter. With darkness coming around 4:30pm, frigid morning temps and icy roads it just not possible. We won’t even get into jobs, girl friends, kids, wives, the patriots game schedule, etc…

So now that we are at peace with the fact that we simply can’t put in as much time as we may want, We can focus on what to do with the time we have.

Getting started:
Find a routine. With cold temps, warm beds and stale indoor air it is easy to get “off track”. Try to find some kind of routine. This could be one workout or rendezvous with a friend per week. ie. “every Wednesday morning John and I run together, no matter what.” “Thursday night I do the spinning class at my gym.” This one appointment can be the back bone of your winter success. Find something that works with your schedule so it will be easy to keep this date and not get side tracked.
This can work for you in a great way if this one workout focuses on your weakness. I have known athletes to turn there swim that puts them 5 minutes down to 1 minute up, over the course of one winter!

The bike:
These time constraints really hit hard when trying to work on your bike, especially if you are training for an early season race that’s long. First thing to do is invest in the proper warm clothes. Water/wind proof booties and gloves. Warm tights, thermal cycling jacket, hat or helmet cover. Investing in proper cycling winter gear will make your cold rides more enjoyable, more effective, and maybe a bit longer. One trick for cold feet is to use shoes 1 size to big and put in two insoles. And don’t jam your feet in there with to many socks. You’ll restrict circulation and have lumps for wood for feet in less than an hour.

The trainer can be your worst enemy and your best ally all at once. If you are going to improve your riding regular visits to the trainer will be a must but they don’t have to be torture.

  • 1. Don’t do the same thing day in day out. Mix it up with different workouts and the amount of time you spend on it. Try something new once every 2 weeks or so. Like watching football with your buddies 3- 4 hr’s with big gear climbs every commercial, sprints every field goal, and hard tempo every time your team is on offence would make even Mark Allan slump over the handle bars by the final 2 minute drill.
  • 2. Keep your mind busy. When you’re not with your friends watch TV, listen to the radio, etc.
  • 3. Stay focused. I have just given you ways to distract your self from your work but the best way I find to make time fly is to have specific workout and stick to it. To the second. Warm up, cool down, some 10 minute strength intervals, rest intervals. You’ll find that riding for less than an hour becomes pretty difficult.


About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.

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