The roads are covered in salt and snow, the sun seems to drop behind the horizon even faster than the thermometer, and here I am curled up under blankets letting all my summer gains shrink.
Keeping myself motivated during the winter is probably one of the hardest parts of cycling for me. It takes every fibre of my being to put on my kit and get on the trainer. If you struggle with this as much as I do, here are a few of the things that help me.
1. Put Your Kit On
The hardest part of training for me is turning off Netflix and coming out from the blanket cocoon I’ve formed. However, I’ve found that once I suck it up and put my cycling gear on, I’m a lot more motivated to go get on the trainer. Just be careful, long trainer sessions can wear out kit faster than you might think, so maybe don’t wear that favourite jersey you just got for Christmas!
2. Pick the right playlist
Sure, it can’t beat the sun on your face and the wind at your back, but a good playlist can get you in the mood to put the power to your pedals and put the work in. Look for a mix of decent tempo music with parts that get you stoked. For the best results, use music that is heavy on the bass and can be cranked up to 11 (sorry neighbours). Here is one of the playlists that has helped me.
3. Have a goal
The only thing worse than being stuck inside on a trainer is aimlessly spinning away on your trainer with no end goal. Pick a reasonable goal for your winter training. Maybe it’s to increase your FTP by a certain percentage, or you want to be able to destroy your riding buddies in the town sign sprints, or maybe you just want to be able to make it to the coffee shop without feeling like your lungs are going to explode.
As all my professors have drilled into my head, ensure that your goals are SMART goals. Make them Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely goals. For example, don’t just say that your goal is simply to have a higher FTP. Instead set a goal of increasing your FTP by 5% by June 1st.
4. Quality Time With Your Bike
Spending some quality time with your bike, but off of it. Maybe you need to replace your chain, put new grip tape on, or want to learn how to properly index your gears. It seems a little convoluted, but spending time with your bike, in general, will remind you why you got into cycling in the first place. Plus, you’ll emerge in the spring with a cleaner, quieter, more efficient bike!
5. Give yourself rewards
Who doesn’t love treating themselves every once and a while? Sometimes a shiny new piece of kit or tech is exactly what you need to get you back on the bike. Have you been eying up a shiny new heart rate monitor? A power meter? A new pair of shorts? Hell, even just a box of your favourite bars or gels could be just the thing you need to regain your motivation.
Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself if the goal that you set for yourself doesn’t come to fruition. It sucks to not achieve a goal that you have set for yourself, but the reality is that it sometimes won’t work out.
I hope these tips might have helped someone else out there who is sick and tired of the cold and snow getting in the way of their riding. Don’t worry, summer will be here soon enough.