Your motivation level is on decrease during winter, but working out and staying in shape is not impossible. You can even enjoy cycling if you use these tips to adjust your style to colder temperatures.
Warm-up is especially important in winter
When the temperatures are above 0, cyclists require a longer warmup. You can do this warmup inside, before you get fully dressed to start your round. This will get your blood flowing, it will help you prevent injuries and raise your body temperature.
Indoor warm-up ideas:
- Jump rope for 5 minutes
- 3 sets of 20 air squats
- 3 sets of 10 pushups
- 3 sets of 10 burpees
Split your long ride into shorter rides
If you live in an area where the temperatures are colder, you may want to shorten your ride. Riding for 3 hours on a cold wheater may not be viable, so start your training inside and go for a shorter ride.
An hour and a half outdoors should be doable in most places and keeps you from feeling drained and beaten down. Likewise, an hour and a half on the indoor trainer won’t challenge you mentally like a longer ride indoors might. Splitting the time of your long ride equally between outdoors and indoors can help you achieve the best of both worlds and keep your cycling from feeling like a chore during the winter.
Layering – important in winter, the most important aspect when you cycle
Bike-specific clothing is typically constructed of a combination of synthetic materials, such as spandex, Lycra or nylon.
Cycling tights are a great option when the temperature drops. These are essentially long-pant versions of bike shorts. They feature tight ankles for an unobstructed ride near the bike gears.
Cycling jackets – You can choose the right jacket if you take into consideration in what season you’ll ride. Soft shell jackets keep the wind out, are packable and usually offer a degree of water protection but will soak through in heavier rain.
Allow yourself a break in the middle of the ride
If your ride is just an hour and a half, you don’t have to stop for a break, but if it’s longer, stop to refill your bottles and grab a snack. Go for a short break, don’t prolong it, so you don’t lose your motivation. Make your stop quick, get what you need, and get back out on the bike as soon as possible to keep your engines revving and stay warm. This helps keep your core temperature from cooling down and prevents the need to warm back up once you get back on the bike.
Don’t eat a lot before you go riding
Cycling in winter might make you feel hungrier. While you’ll still want to eat an energy bar per hour if you’re out on a long ride, be careful about eating too much if you stop at a coffee shop or take an extended break. Eating large amounts of food requires energy to digest and you need to keep your energy for your workout.
Dress appropriately, warm-up, don’t eat too much before the ride, go for shorter rides and allow yourself a break to keep your motivation in winter.