By Drew Christopher, USAC Category III Coach and Professional Road Racer, Inspired Training and Fitness
As we all know from having made it through this most recent cold snap, staying on top of our training during the winter months can be a challenge. And to add to the situation, the period of training throughout the winter months can be some of the most important all year to set you up for success. This is why it is crucial to maintain your level of motivation and thereby fitness, even on these short and cold days. There are a number of different strategies which will aid you in staying on top of your riding and training from now to well beyond the new year.
During the warmer months it may not be at the forefront of your mind but having dedicated periods of time for different activities and training techniques over a calendar year is important. These include the higher priority events, races, or goals during the season but also include taking time off, cross training, and targeting specific skillsets during the offseason. Rest and recovery that will come from some dedicated time off from training can be physically and mentally beneficial. Likewise, taking part in different activities and exercises can refresh your body and revitalize your mind. After a nice break from training you will have a new found energy for your sport specific training.
Find an Accountabilibuddy
Although the term “accountabilibuddy” was originally coined in a cartoon, it is a perfect descriptor of a very helpful tool in staying motivated through the winter months. Quite simply, find a friend or a family member, a teammate or a coworker, and join forces with them in your training routine. Having another person there who supports you in your own workouts and also depends on you for your support throughout their training, is a huge help for motivation and success. Not to mention, you will have a purpose build reason to spend time with someone who is important to you. It really is a win-win situation.
Find Out Your Current FTP (Functional Threshold Power)
It is important to have a measure of your current level of fitness for two reasons. First, to know where you currently stand, physiologically in your fitness and therefore set a benchmark for your training. Next, with a benchmark set for yourself, you will be able to target your training strategically and measure your progress as time passes. Many athletes have heard of a lactate threshold test, and a functional threshold power test yields very similar results, without the pin prick to draw blood.
Train In A Personalized and Controlled Environment
Any time of the year it is important to maximize your time while training but this is never more important than during the winter months. Using the many tools and technologies available to aid in your training will give you the most return on your time invested. Using a tool like a computrainer at home or attending a class in a studio will allow you to control every aspect of your riding and training. Attending a computrainer class will give you access to a supportive environment of coaches to help you on your road to success, while simultaneously letting you socialize with peers that may be riders of a different ability. All the while giving you the best bang for your buck to keep you on the road toward your goals.
Drew has been a full time road racer, as well as a cyclocross and duathlon racer for the past 7 years. Drew’s coaching style combines his knowledge from racing at the highest level in the U.S. with his experience working with cycling and multisport athletes of all levels of ability. Bringing his passion for racing into his prescription for an athlete’s training plans allows for efficient and effective work. His coaching clinics include race tactics, bike handling skills, sprinting drills, peloton positioning, and teamwork.