Cycling Coaching Tips For The Winter
The nights are starting earlier, the temperatures have dropped and you could be forgiven for feeling like the shorter days make it harder than ever to get the all important cycling training in.
But don’t worry - expert coach Ali Slater has got you covered!
Here are Ali’s top cycling coaching tips for the winter.
Set some goals and pick some target events
I always recommend setting goals by getting them down on paper. This makes them real and makes you accountable. And winter is a great time to reflect, especially when you start thinking about your New Year’s Resolutions!
Come up with the long term goal - where do you want to be in the future?
Think big, what is your cycling dream? Don’t hold back on this!
Want to be a World Champion or an Olympic Champion? Write it down!
Planning to win the Tour de France in 2030? Get it down on paper!
Then create a ladder of goals going backwards with a training plan for how you’re going to get there. A medium term goal could be winning a national title in 5 years time or being a really successful u23 rider. Short term goals should include fitness, strength and training challenges.
Make your training specific to these goals
It’s a lot easier to tailor your training when you know what you're aiming for.
If your focus is on the mountain bike, your training should reflect this with some MTB skills sessions. If you’re doing CX or Road, you’ll need to spend more time on those bikes.
Even more importantly, if you have different goals within different disciplines, you’ll need different training at different times of the year.
And finally, make sure you give feedback on every session. A developmental tool that we use in the Youth & Junior Development Programme is the importance of feedback and recording how you feel after each training session so that we can build on that.
Graham Briggs, Ed Clancy OBE & Ali Slater - Our Y&J Coaches
Don’t forget to think about skills practice
Over the winter, whatever your discipline, we encourage riders to spend some time thinking about how you can improve your technical skills – cornering, jumping, slow bike handling - all those technical things that make you comfortable and give you control.
Dedicate some time over the winter to practicing these and it will really pay off. For young riders, it’s not about physical strength - that comes later - but if you can learn and master these skills, they will stay with you throughout your cycling career and be beneficial forever.
Cycling with friends keeps things fun
Make sure you keep things fun
No matter what, don’t lose sight of the fun! The enjoyment factor is critical and winter is a great time of year to remind yourself of this. Think about going on group rides, whatever your discipline, and training with others to bring the social aspect. You’re more likely to push yourself when you ride in a group and braving the cold temperatures or inclement weather is much easier if you do it with friends!
Play another sport
It’s really important to mix things up. Cycling is a low impact sport so for young and developing riders where bone density is really important, if you spend all your time on the bike you can limit that development.
Use the winter months to get out and play a different sport or get in the gym. Any off bike work will build your ability as an all round athlete, not just as a cyclist. There’s lots of crossover from different sports that can be beneficial, help performance, help injury prevention and increase your general comfort on the bike.