Get the most of the Winter !

Winter is a always a difficult time for cyclists : lower temperature, shorter daylight … 
At this time, you should have already started your preparation as for northern Europe the season ends usually in October.
So you have more or less some hundreds of Kilometres in your legs and it’s starting freezing outside…

Do not panic, as I say to the riders I coach “it’s freezing everywhere so your opponents are facing the same difficulties as yours”.

What can I do Coach ?

As said by Albert Einstein ‘there is no stupid question, only stupid answers’; so let’s be inventive !
As a cyclist, you have plenty of things to do!
The easier thing is to continue to cycle on the turbo trainer and  we will speak later on this topic but as you may know cycling is a very specific sport.
Specific sport means very specific ability causing for some of you some weaknesses.
Indeed some muscular groups are not the primary ones used to ride your bike even if they are fundamental to improve your performance.

Core Stab & Circuit training 

That’s typically the case of abs and back muscles; when you think cycling you think legs , yes of course but the core stab will help you be better on line on your back and will avoid power loss ..

So why not trying core stab exercise during Winter (for my part I recommend to my riders to do core stab all over the year, not only during the Winter).


Basic ‘horizontal Plank’ stance


If you want in the same time your stamina and your muscular efficiency you can try the Circuit Training.
This exercise is more used in the Northern Europe for Cyclist but used as a preparation for many sports (rugby, football, karate, …) why not giving a try.
The aim of the circuit Training is of course to improve your muscular group resistance but the short rest during the different exercises will force your heart rate to stay in the burning fat zones.


Another good opportunity to to strengthen your upper body while improving your stamina is to go to the swimming pool ! 
Start with a sequence of 10mins swim then increase the duration by 2 minutes after every session you will be soon able to swim more than 30 minutes ! 
Please be careful with the intensity of effort, as swimming is not your primary sport, you will tend to swim too fast, keep in mind that you should not go above your threshold (please refer to the training zones articles to find the good intensity using only your perception).

Romain Bardet Skiing during winter’18


If you are living near a mountain, first you are a lucky one for your cycling training in the season (you can climb regularly) but too for your preparation.
Indeed cross-country skiing effort is very similar to cycling effort. Let’s put your heart rate monitor and go for a try !
I personally tried cross-country skiing when I was living in Basque Country and I noticed a real improvement during the early season races !


Cyclo-Cross is a fantastic sport and can be used as a complement during the Off season but BE CAREFUL Cyclo-Cross is a real sport that will push your body ti its limit. The typical race duration is around one hour that is to say one hour at your HR threshold or above !
If you want to compete at good level in X-Cross please end your road cycling season early and do not forget to have recovery phase after the X-cross season !
If you want to go to cyclo-cross race for as a ‘recreation’; you will certainly be surprised by the intensity; it really hurts!  Do not try to follow the best ones and keep your pace around your threshold focusing on gaining good balance and coordination on your bike.



Running is good activity to change your mind during the winter but you have to be cautious on two aspects:

  • Heart Rate is lower when you run compared to your ride. If you want to train with your zones please do not exceed your zone 3
  • Go very progressively; your knee and leg muscles are not used to run. If you feel some articular pain during the 2-3 first sessions that means running is not for you and continuing will certainly lead you to injury.

Running for cycling as not well know big advantage, it helps to increase bone density.
Indeed Cycling is a non-impact sport that could accelerate the loss of bone density (starting to decline for most adults in their 30s) .
When you run , your body triggers a series of reactions to activate the surrounding muscles and strengthen the bones. 


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