Winter cycling can be a no go for many of us so come Spring we can feel tired and more than a little bit larger. Getting back on the bike can seem a bit daunting but it’s okay because this year is going to be different. For once we are going to be off to a flyer and begin the season as we mean to go on!
If like us you can’t wait to begin and end your cycle without having to turn on any head lights then we can let you know that Spring is literally just around the corner. Bringing with it lighter days and the opportunity of lighter clothing. It’s about time to get excited and kick that worn out turbo to the back of the garage!
To make sure you are ready and raring to go come that first day of warmer weather we have some Spring training preparation tips.
Top tip number one is to avoid those dreaded coughs and colds! Now, this can be so much easier said than done especially towards the end of winter because this is exactly the time we want to be up and at em’ all the time. Keeping healthy can be as simple as washing your hands frequently (which you should be doing anyway 😉) That’s a super easy tip but you also want to make sure you are getting enough sleep and that your eating a healthy range of immune-supporting nutrients. Every meal you eat should contain a portion of either fruit or vegetables to make sure you are getting the right amount of minerals and vitamins. It’s super easy to increase your fruit and veggies intake as it can be as simple as popping fruit in with your porridge or adding salad to your usual sandwich.
During the winter months we tend to comfort eat and overindulge on sugary and carbohydrate-dense food. This is the time of year that you should start trying to weed these processed and sugary foods which will help with your health and your waistline will thank you. You can reduce these intakes very easily by substituting a couple of foods for healthier and more wholesome foods. Skip the sugary kid friendly cereals and head straight for porridge, tinned fruit in juice rather than syrup and skip on the fizzy drinks and sugary fruit juices and pick water instead. You will be amazed by how much sugar is added to pre-packaged foods once you start reading the labels so we suggest you simply cook from scratch and enjoy fresh food rather than ready meals.
Don’t forget about your bike! Whilst you are preparing yourself for the season ahead don’t forget about your bike. If you have ridden your bike throughout winter then you will know that your bike will have taken a battering thanks to the road grit, salt, debris and terrible weather. Give your bike a thorough service by checking the tyres and cables for wear and tear. If you see that anything needs replacing or fixed this is the perfect time to do it so that once the sun comes out you can simply jump on your clean and fixed bike and go. Know that feeling you get when you jump into bed once you have changed the sheets? Well did you know that changing your bar tape creates the same feeling?! 100%, would recommend 😊
That first ride back can be a right kicker because you are going to be slower and probably struggle a lot more than you remember (unless you spent your entire Winter attached to your turbo). To get your speed up to your old standard you are going to want to plan tempo rides and HIIT (high intensity interval training) into your training plan. Tempo rides range from five to twenty minutes in length and focus mainly on sustaining ab effort is uncomfortable but manageable. It won’t be very fast to start off with but over time you will be able to build this up to your previous speed. HIIT is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. These sessions are short but seriously tough so not everyone's cup of tea. If you are hoping for a ride that you might actually enjoy and take in the scenery and nicer weather then a HIIT ride is probably not for you because you will not be able to focus on anything other than the fact you can’t breathe.
Your first ride outside might feel strange, even if you have been training inside all winter. Even if your legs feel strong, take it easy. Concentrate on handling corners, descending and practice your track standing to make sure you haven’t lost any of your technique or balance. Once you have proof that everything is up to scratch then go for it!