Surviving winter & still improving bike performance: The bare necessities

Winter is a tough time with shorter days and lower temperatures. Athletes end up missing sessions to rather curl up in bed, and often we think to ourselves that its “only this one time” but soon its an umpteen number of sessions missed and bike performance slowly evaporates to a cold reminder as horrible as winter itself.

What to do about it? Here are six great tips to get you through winter and have a strong start to spring like never before

1. Get a coach

A coach will keep you accountable and often it’s a great way for someone else to take the lead so you do not have to overthink what and where with regards to training. At The Threshold we often ask our athletes what would help them get through winter and try to create an athlete centered approach where what the athlete needs and wants for the moment is the highest priority.

2. Get a smart trainer

Make life easy, get a smart trainer and make sure your workouts are structured and programmed for you by your coach. Then its a plug and play solution. All you need to do as an athlete is select the workout and click go. Zwift and Rouvy both link to your TrainingPeaks, as well as other applications. Use technology available to make your life easier and save you time.

3.Work on your weaknesses

Further with a coach, they will be able to work out your biggest weaknesses. With a solid 8 to 12 weeks of emphasis, often these weaknesses can surpass what you thought were your strengths. A common theme is a lack of consistency in training schedule as well as lack of focus. Athletes will take the latest popular bike magazine workout and do it for two or three weeks hoping for some sort of winter miracle but this approach, when done out of context, leads to overtraining, burnout and frustration for lack of results

4. Find a training group

Training with others is also another form of accountability. Letting your mates down on the coldest day of winter while they go out and do an epic 5 hour endurance ride through the magaliesburg will not be forgotten soon, and you may well become the hot new scape goat on your riding whatsapp group. At The Threshold we offer coaching for groups to help with this very idea. Being held accountable to a coach and your riding mates is a sure way to stay on course this winter.

5. Choose an event

Setting a goal event during winter is always a popular idea and works extremely well for a lot of athletes. Not a great climber? Why not look at doing an event with lots of climbing and then spend winter focusing on increasing sustainable power output and relative wattage per body weight. We offer programs catered toward specific events and with different time periods depending on when you would like to start (ie 8 week or 12 weeks).

6. Draw up a map

Often its scary to begin a journey and you do not know the direction to go or what you will need. In cases like that its better to reach out to your local bike shop, local clubs and riders or local coach. A lot of time, energy and money can be saved if you find the right people to talk to. At The Threshold, we would be more than obliged to give you a call and help you figure out what you need to start your journey into the world of endurance sport.

Good luck with your winter training.

Darrin Jordaan

MSc (Med) Biokinetics Wits (Hons) Sports Science UP

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist Ironman Certified Coach

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