Why I love winter bike training
Updated: Nov 1, 2017
What if I said you will never be as fit on the bike after an alternative to the old school slog in the cold.
Leaves start falling, heating goes on and mudguards get dusted off,
Should that stop you from training?
We all know the answer should be no, and to some people the motivation doesn't change. The shoe covers make an appearance, the tights are plucked from the back of the draw and with lights attached, off they go. Old school, hard core, set in their ways?
To some of us, its a pretty difficult time. With the conundrum of losing the front wheel on leaves or ice, thawing the hands and feet when we get in the house, it really doesn't help with my motivation.
That said I still ensure that I make the effort to get out at least once a week when work shifts allow.
But is there a better way?
The answer is yes, and what if I told you you will never be as fit on the bike after an alternative indoors to the old school slog in the cold.
The answer of course is the dreaded turbo trainer. Now I know what you're thinking, I'm going to give you a list of interval sessions to complete whilst staring at the garage wall listening to your favourite 90's dance music. Well not quite, but you can still do all those things, but fortunately for you, technology has advanced enough that the days of clock watching whilst staring at a data screen or even a soggy old scrap of paper are well and truly gone.
What is our saviour I here you say?
I was introduced to this platform in March 2016 by a good friend of mine and an athlete I was coaching. Whilst cycling around the beautiful Island of Lanzarote for a week we were on our way to the airport, I can remember muttering something under my breath about how it was still icy back home in the UK and some snow had been falling..
Why don't you have a go at Zwift
'Swift' I replied
What is this cycling game he was talking about named after a bird?
Curious I was straight on the internet to find out that it was spelled with a 'Z' and also pronounced with a 'Z', I downloaded the latest version for a trial period of 50 km or 7 days which ever come first.
So........ 50 km's later I was hooked and I didn't even do a training session, all I did was ride around this island that is called Watopia, riding with some American probably sitting in his man cave wondering who this annoying British guy was that found catching a draft from someone, whilst sitting on a turbo fascinating and amusing at the same time.
Someone who has always struggled to do an FTP test by myself I had finally found the answer, not just aimlessly riding around a fictional land but I decided to enter a race. I initially thought how hard can it be, how wrong I was.
Not only did I set a personal best in terms of FTP but I also witnessed a Heart Rate on the bike that I had never been close to before.
Seeing a 192 for my Heart rate whilst my previous maximum was in the low 180's changed how I would be able to train for the foreseeable future
Whether it be a training session that I've transferred over from Training Peaks or a race on one of the many races there is every day, there's always something to keep you gripped. Even a group ride like the picture below keeps you motivated, intrigued and most importantly fit and in good condition through the winter months.
So when you look outside this winter and there's ice on the road, ask yourself this question. Is there a means to train and to match what I do outside to improve fitness, endurance, threshold, strength, explosive power and speed?