Regardless of how tenacious you may normally be, there are certain prevailing weather conditions that make it impossible to cycle. The ever-faithful winter never fails to plunge much of the country into abject misery and marauding murkiness, which for those with a taste for the outdoors can be particularly depressing. As such, it’s common for spring to roll around with thousands of normally-dedicated cyclists finding themselves completely out of shape and forced to once again build their strength and stamina.
Sadly, that’s what a winter on the couch will do to you!
But here’s the thing – there really are no valid excuses for losing your edge over the wintertime, just because of the few weeks here and there when cycling is out of the question. Ask the world’s most seasoned riders and they’ll all tell you the same – winter training opportunities are right there in front of you and could add up to genuinely superior spring cycling!
Bring the Outdoors Indoors
Unless you can afford to transport yourself and your gear to warmer climes while the winter’s doing its thing, the only real option you have is to head indoors. Is indoor training as much fun as real outdoor cycling? In a word, no, in fact it’s not even in the same league. However, it’s important to remember that you’re doing what you’re doing for a purpose and that every hour invested on in the indoors will be richly rewarded when you take your bike out of retirement next year.
According to the world’s competitive cycling elite, there’s one specific workout regime that’s nigh-on guaranteed to better your speed, stamina and your energy levels come spring, which is also mercifully easy to stick with. You’ll need access to a good indoor training cycle, so if you don’t fancy investing in one yourself you’ll be looking at hitting the gym.
Here’s a quick overview of all you’ll need to do three to four times a week to notice a real difference come the springtime:
- Pedal at a moderate pace for 10 minutes as a warm up
- At the 10 minute mark, increase your pedalling speed to your personal maximum and hold for 10 seconds
- Slow down to a very slow rate of pedalling and rest for 60 seconds
- At the minute mark, speed up to about 65% of your maximum pedalling rate and pedal for 20 seconds
- Once again, slow down and rest for 60 seconds
- Speed up to around 30% of your maximum pedalling rate and this time pedal for 30 seconds
- Gradually slow down and rest for 60 seconds
You’ll want to repeat the above routine five times, which in total adds up to no more than about an hour. As mentioned, keep this up three to four times each week and there’s a good change that when you do hit the streets again on a real bike, you’ll be in even better shape than when you stowed it away for the winter.