If, like most of us, you’re struggling to find the motivation to ride at this time of year, have a look at the hints below to help you get going.
Yes it’s that time of year again when most of us wish we hadn’t eaten and drank quite as much over Christmas and New Year. But that’s life.
Hopefully you’ve done a small amount of pedalling at least so starting back shouldn’t be too hard.
1. Get out on your bike
Sounds simple but can be the hardest thing to do. Don’t get hung up on time, speed or distance. Just get out riding for an hour. Blow away the cobwebs and see how you feel. There are a million and one excuses to not ride so just kit up, get out and pedal and see how you feel.
2. Decide what you want to achieve this year
And write it down somewhere. It doesn’t have to be about winning or riding incredible distances or speeds but just something you would like to do. Having this goal makes riding when it’s not so pleasant or convenient more doable.
3. Do something different
Have a think about what riding you have done before and what you would like to do. How about trying something different? A different style of riding? A different place to ride? A different time of day?
It doesn’t have to be something wildly outlandish, although this usually helps the motivation, but trying something different will add a different outlook to your riding.
4. Set a realistic training plan and record it
This doesn’t necessarily mean a detailed plan but at least knowing when and how far you have to ride for a given date will help you start now. Plan back from the given date and make steps to achieve it.
Give yourself realistic mini goals on the way – trust us they work – and again they don’t have to be major things. Just need to be enough to let you know how your form is and what you still need to do.
Start a training diary and keep it up to date. Even just writing down the simple things like “Rode today, time and distance” will help you when you look back and realise you have probably done more than you thought you have.
Like it or loathe it, Strava‘s weekly and yearly goals are a proven motivator. Aim for a realistic (even pessimistic) target.
5. Book a ride
Having a date to work towards is always good. Set a date with friends to do a particular ride and use that as your end goal. This doesn’t have to be a major ride or event, although paying for something will sharpen the mind!
Maybe just a Spring ride with a few friends over a bank holiday weekend?
6. Keep your bike maintained
Make sure your bike is in good condition. Keep it clean-ish and lubed. Tyres correctly inflated. There’s nothing worse than puncturing in winter when it’s cold and wet – especially if it could have been avoided by checking before you started the ride.
7. Choose suitable clothing
We’ve been spared very low temperatures this winter. It’s a been a mild and moist one. This though is not an excuse to ride in shorts. I’ve been startled a few times to see people out in shorts and even one guy with short sleeves as well.
Get some tights, a warm jacket and a rain cape and they’ll combine to make your riding more pleasant.
8. Get an indoor trainer
Some riders swear by them. Most loathe them. But indoor trainers are a great way to keep fit during the winter. No matter how bad the weather is outside you can still do sessions indoors. Specific sessions will really bring you on.
There are loads of example sessions out there so have a look, discuss with someone (online or in the real world) and get started. You’ll be amazed how good they are if used right.
Your other half may not be as impressed though with the noise and sweat pools so think about where you are setting up!
There are also ‘virtual racing’ machines and websites out there that can connect to some trainers. Have a look at our review of one such website – Zwift.
9. Arrange to ride with others
This can really make a difference in getting you out of bed or riding after work when you’re feeling a bit tired. It’s very easy to make excuses to ourselves but letting down others isn’t as easy.
Once out you know you’ll be fine anyway, this is just the kick to make sure you get kitted up and out in the first place.
10. Once again, just get out on your bike
Don’t get hung up on planning or worrying about cycling things. Just get the bike out and go for ride. You can think about all these things later when you get back knowing you’ve done something about it.
10.5 And if all this fails…
Cycling is back on the telly in a few weeks with the Tour Down Under which will get us all in the mood!