Winter cycling: pro tips to manage the winter break
In this Article
Published on December 12, 2022
After charging all season, and not having a single watt in the pocket, it's time to take a break with our best buddy on two wheels. In this article, I explain how I see the winter of a cyclist who competes or "Granfondos".
For more tips on how to make the most of the cold season, see our article.
Why make a cut?
- The first reason is purely physiological: after having spent 300 almost consecutive days training, the body has accumulated fatigue and has been "stressed". Leaving your muscles at rest for several days will allow the muscle fiber to rebuild itself and thus start preparing for the next season on a good basis. The phenomenon of overcompensation is described in numerous scientific studies.
- The second reason is purely mental: when we set a goal, we need that "spark", that thing inside us that tells us we can do it. Imagine: training in the rain all winter, running 30 to 60 days in a row and continuing to train the same way until the next 30 races start... NO! Over time, it's not sustainable.
If you follow the pros on social networks, you can observe that for 2 to 3 weeks in October, they all go on vacation; this is far from a coincidence! This is a key moment of the season.
Break? From cycling only?
The question is often asked of coaches by athletes, "Can I still run 10 km around my house?" (Question asked 2 days after the last goal of the season.) Total rest is recommended for 15 to 20 days then... OKAY for the running session.
How long to cut?
It is recommended to cut 2 to 3 weeks maximum in order to avoid the effects of de-training following prolonged muscular inactivity. Our little bodies need to rest... Not to fall asleep!
How do I get back into training?
Winter allows you to rebuild your general muscular base; a training multidisciplinary training training is the best way to start the season. Weight training, running, swimming, mountain biking, gravelling or even complete sports such as boxing are all welcome.
A progressive recovery is essential to avoid any risk of injury. You have to take it easy and keep your motivation level high for the rest of the season.
My typical winter
Winter break: interruption of activities with high muscular load
Smooth resumption of sports activities:
30 min of yoga
1h30 of Gravel
2 hours of road biking
Surfing and walking.
4 cycling sessions (alternating between Gravel, road bike and home trainer): fundamental endurance, strength and low intensities.
2 weight training sessions in the gym
1 yoga session
5 to 6 cycling sessions: resumption of intensities.
1 to 2 weight training sessions
Resumption of the races
5 cycling sessions, 2 of which are intensive
1 competition (Need more ideas? Read our article !)
1 light weight training session
Riding in winter in the cold and rain, and far from your first goals, is not always easy... Here are my tips for "sticking to it":
- Find a group to ride withFind a group to ride with: with several people, it is always easier to motivate yourself! Thanks to Strava and social networks, it is now easier to find riding partners. I recently discovered the application Link My Ridedon't hesitate to go and see what it's all about.
- Plan your workouts in advanceIf you don't have a personal trainer, it is essential to establish your sports schedule for the coming week. Without it, it is more difficult to train quantitatively and qualitatively and to motivate yourself on cold and rainy days. Discover our conseils to help you set goals and prepare for a cyclosportive.
- Challenge yourselfWinter is a good time to do things you wouldn't have the idea or the time to do in season. Why not organize a 3-4 day Gravel trip? Organize a " Run and bike " with your family? Organize a cyclo-cross circuit in your garden? Or some long rides in your region? All ideas are good to take to train, as long as you enjoy yourself. An example of what I love to do: go abroad on a whim !
- Setting goalsKnowing why you are training is, in my opinion, essential. It gives you that motivation that allows you to put an extra 20W on each pedal. Some people need to have it written down somewhere. For me, I use a notebook where I write down what I want to accomplish and how I should go about it. Take advantage of the end of the year to take some good resolutions !
- Don't overdo itBeware: overtraining happens very quickly. As soon as you feel tired, when your body starts to send you signals (colds, fever blisters, backache, knee pain...), it is time to rethink your training for the weeks to come.
Having a good winter means having fun and being motivated to train well, while keeping your teeth for the first few days of the season. Be creative!
I'm not a coach, I'm giving my point of view as an athlete, based on what I've seen and experienced personally.