Our usual 5am wake up during these winter months bring a whole lot of dark, cold mornings with them. We blinked and the sunrise has moved to 6:40am. It’s tough enough trying to deal with a bundled up 5 - 10 degree outdoor ride, but by the time we get home from work, the sun is down! (On the brighter side, at least we get to watch the sun set while stuck in traffic!)
Winter is the time of year when a lot of us decide to ‘take a break’ from training and with good reason. There’s less daylight, colder temperatures, fighting ‘the flu’, and of course trying to motivate ourselves to get onto the dusty indoor trainer that’s been sitting in the garage all summer. Don’t wait , 94.7 and Wines2Whales are just around the corner!
This year, The Threshold challenges you to make this winter different! Commit to maintaining and improving your fitness and come out stronger, more confident and more refreshed than ever before. There are so many creative ways to stay on top of your training, with opportunity to buckle down on your limiters, growing you into a fully-equipped athlete by the time racing season starts. Motivation is the biggest limiting factor when it comes to the colder months. Most self-trained athletes seem to give themselves a bit more slack, often skipping workouts or cutting everything short. Most realities concur that there simply just isn’t enough time to train like you did in summer, and we agree! It is very difficult to get through this and stay motivated on your own, which is why you should contact us to get a coach!
A coach provides more than just a simple training program for your next triathlon or road or mountain bike race. They’ll work with your schedule and prove a solid sense of accountability to boost your performance to ensure that you don’t burn out. Your coach will monitor important aspects of your training, such as muscular endurance maintenance, strength work, mountain bike skills and drills, mobility, injury prevention, recovery and immunity, all while keeping the program interesting and dynamic. Phew, sounds like a lot. The next question: How?
Start from Scratch
Winter gives us a chance to start again. With the help of a cycling coach or triathlon coach, you can start your base block with confidence. It allows a coach-athlete relationship to develop, understanding what aspects of your ability are considered a strength and where your limiters lie. Here you can grow your engine with a combination of on-the-bike force and speed work, including the ever so important low cadence high gear intervals. The Threshold’s coaching team help you look forward to putting in the work on the indoor trainer. Keep a close eye on our next blog post for more info on this topic!
Strength, Strength, Strength
It is important to approach gym work carefully. Going from zero to hero will not make you fast on the bike. Specificity when it comes to movement is imperative. Your coach will provide a resistance program that is progressive, targeting areas that my limit you on the bike. Isolate those muscle groups, combine it with balance, rinse and repeat. Activation of stability muscles as well as producing that raw power is what it’s all about these Winter months. Got questions? Our next blog post will answer those too.
Mobility & Flexibility
Maximising your limited time means making every session during these winter months count. However, one cannot simply smash the pedals every day and expect growth in fitness. All that calls for is burnout. Your total volume per week may be compromised by the cold, but The Threshold’s coaches will ensure the correct weekly training load to encourage adaptation and fitness development. A big component of this is recovery. You can’t train hard without recovering hard, and active recovery is one of the best ways to tackle this. Gyms are full of opportunity. Not just to lift weights, but to try new things. Ever thought of swimming on an active recovery day? What about looking at your flexibility with a yoga class? Or ensuring your body weight balance and stability muscles are activated with an all-round Pilates class? These sessions are just as important as the hard grinding intervals. Injury prevention includes mobility and flexibility work. Include this in your weekly schedule!
As a cycling coach who also provides mountain bike skills training, I find great value in the winter months. Often, we can’t get outside for very long, and when we do, we don’t want to be attempting hard intervals in freezing temperatures. Scheduling mountain bike skills lessons in the warm afternoon sun is a perfect way to capitalise on your outdoor time. You will have the opportunity to ‘play’ on your bicycle and grow a vital role in your performance on the bike. You can never practice enough, and luckily there are skills coaches out there to help you if you need that extra boost. Stay young at heart and keep learning. Skills training is a great way to keep motivation levels, get outside, and take a break from the grind. Stretch your confidence, challenge yourself, and learn how to fly.
Winter is here! Now is the time to take action! Get yourself ready to come out of this season fit, strong and versatile. The Threshold is dedicated to assisting you in discovering your untapped potential. Join in and get ahead of the game.
Contact us today to start your journey www.thethreshold.co.za!
See you out there,
BSc Exercise Science - Sports Nutrition
BA - Sports Psychology
Sarah currently races professionally at UCI level, and enjoys XC as well as XC marathon and stage racing. Her achievements of 2019 include winning the ABSA Cape Epic Elite Women's African Leaders Jersey and overall win at Joberg2c. Sarah is also proud to have qualified to represent South Africa this year at the African Continental Cross Country Champs, that will be hosted in Nambia.