As the cold wet weather sets in, it’s often hard to keep motivated to get the miles and training in.
This year I have a lot I’m hoping to take on, including a record attempt, the Rallye Du Velo stage race up Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world, and finally the Transcontinental. That said last Saturday I got up early put all my winter kit on and as soon as went to leave my flat the hail started coming down in full force.
I probably should have sucked it up and gone out anyway, but the fact is some days the motivation just isn’t there.
So how do you keep the motivation?
When I retreated back into my flat, it would have been easy to crawl back into bed, after all, it was 6am. Instead, I opted to jump on the turbo and get a session in. In many ways, winter is a great time to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and put together a training plan to help you meet goals for the next year. In other words, if you want to make the most out of winter riding and stay motivated, you need to make a plan.
There are lots of different schools of thought on training. Personally, my approach has always been just riding as much as I possibly can. However, in the last few months, I have been trying to add a bit of structure and have found it hugely rewarding.
Based on interviews and articles I had read, I decided to structure my training into four-week blocks. The idea with this is that you can focus on making gains, while actually giving yourself some time to recover. In other words, your training should get gradually harder from week one to three, easing off in week four before starting over again. While I recommend this four-week approach to everyone, your specific goals will depend on what you're training for.
My training plan is made up of a combination of long, slow winter miles focused on endurance, intense turbo sessions focused on speed, and gym sessions focused on building muscle and strengthening my core.
Slow winter miles is a good way to maintain a decent base, and the mental challenge of getting out and riding when you really don’t want to is great mental prep for the ultra endurance events I take part in. Turbo sessions, on the other hand, allow you to maintain some top-end fitness, whether that’s strength, speed or a combination.
Sticking to it
Even once you have made a plan, it can be hard to stay motivated. For me, there is nothing like knowing I have a challenge around the corner to keep on track. So why not sign up to an Audax, there are a few 100 and 200km events taking place in January.
Finally, don’t forget to reward yourself. Winter training is tough, so make sure to take the time to relax after a big effort, whether that’s a magnesium bath or your favourite post ride meal.