When winter hits, it's easy for motivation to wane. Follow our seven smart ways to keep your motivation high this winter:
The easiest way to stay motivated to train is having a goal to work towards. However, it has to be something you really, genuinely care about otherwise why would you bother? Firstly, when setting a goal, it has to come 100% from you; your coach, friends, family or favourite bike magazine can’t set a goal for you. Next it needs to fit the SMART an acronym. This is a pretty well-known way of setting effective goals but it is worth reminding ourselves of it, especially at this time of year.
Name it. You should be able to tell someone your goal in one sentence.
M - Measurable
How will you know when you have attained it? Is it add 1% to your power at FTP? Lose 3kg in body fat? Knock 30 seconds of a Strava segment?
A - Attainable
A good goal will challenge you, but also be realistic. Coach potato to riding your first 100 mile sportive in a year? Yes, absolutely possible. Coach potato to World Champion probably not. Take an honest look at where you are now and the steps needed to reach you goal.
R - Rewarding
Now this doesn’t mean big trophies and pots of prize money, in fact the opposite. People who have intrinsic goals of mastery and enjoyment are more likely to stick to them.
T- Time bound
Set yourself a time frame for when you will achieve this by, we all know how easy it is to stall when there is no set deadline. You need to be able to hold yourself accountable to meeting your goal by a certain point.
2. Training plans
Having a plan makes it much easier to do a training session, it is one excuse less. You don’t have to think about what to do, it’s there in your diary in black and white. You also have the satisfaction of ticking it off and knowing you have done a good job. A training plan, such as our Winter Training Plan, also means that you are more likely to see improvements and progression which in itself is motivating.
Image courtesy of Hotchillee
3. Winter Camp
Spring can seem a really long way off at this time of year so book yourself a warm weather training camp in late winter to give yourself something to look forward to. Knowing you will need to get your legs out in a few months is a good reason to stay off the mince pies at Christmas! It gives you a reason to keep up with your training so you feel fit for your trip and the warm weather riding will renew your enthusiasm during the final phase of winter.
4. Regular testing to measure progression
Seeing your fitness improving is amongst the most motivating things of all. Use the Wattbike Hub or good old pen and paper to keep a diary of your training sessions and make sure you test your fitness regularly so you can keep an eye on your progression. This could mean attacking a particular Strava segment, recording your weight or doing one of the many tests available on the Wattbike. An FTP test is one of the most meaningful measurements of fitness and is also important for adjusting your training zones so your sessions don’t become too easy so you keep on challenging yourself.
5. Ride with friends
Winter is all about group riding. Slower rides give you a chance to chat and slightly less structured sessions means that you can ride in a group of mixed abilities with more ease. When it is cold, wet and windy the group banter and camaraderie keeps spirits high. It’s always better to suffer together rather than alone.
6. Café stops
As with riding with friends’ winter is the time that the café stop increases in importance. A cuppa and slice of cake will give you the warmth and energy to see you through the final part of your ride. It’s a chance to dry out and warm up, plus visiting new cafes can encourage you to plan different routes and gives your ride a focus and destination.
Winter training can get monotonous without the excitement of events or competitions so it’s important to have some variety. Your training plan should include a mix of long rides and shorter, harder interval sessions but as well as that mix up indoor and outdoor sessions and don’t be afraid to swap sessions around depending on the weather. If the weather is good don’t hesitate to head outside! Use your mountain bike or cross bike for long rides instead of being on the road as this will help with your skills as well as offering different routes and terrain.
Written by Hannah Reynolds
Hannah is proof that you don’t need to be good at racing to pin on a number, just enthusiastic. She has ridden some of the world’s toughest sportives including the Haute Route Alps, La Marmotte and Megavalanche – the famous downhill mountain bike race.
When she’s not on the bike, Hannah is a freelance writer and journalist and former Editor of Cycling Weekly and Cycling Active. She is co-authour of France en Velo and Bloomsbury publications Fitter, Faster, Further and Get on Your Bike.