Tanned buff bodies, bikinis, beaches, sweating excessively all the time… I keep finding myself dreaming of summer (even the sweating part!). The heat, the smell, the taste of mangoes. I miss it. But I am trying to not let winter conquer my motivation.
Heres a list of ideas to help you
survive dominate winter:
It sounds basic doesn’t it. Though this is my biggest challenge during the winter months. I am one of those people who really feels the cold, and my body temperature usually drops fairly fast. Humidity aside, I absolutely adore the heat that summer brings.
The best thing you can do for yourself in winter, before you get on your bike is to rug up. It is far, far easier to keep warm, than try and gain heat later on after you have frozen. Layer up so you can strip off when (if!) you warm up.
As I bid the Autumn months farewell, my wind vest is usually the first thing I reach for. They keep the core warm, and just zip up over the top of your jersey. I have a bit of a funny quirk to reveal here (I hope we can still be friends!)…. I get really excited over wind vest pockets. Last year I had one that had pockets on the outside, and it was the best thing ever! So when purchasing your next wind vest or winter cycling jacket, have a look at what the pockets are like. It makes a massive difference when you are fumbling around with numb hands trying to get your phone to take a photo of the incredible sunrise that you got up out of your toasty warm bed to see.
My winter wardrobe consists of arm warmers, legs warmers, fingered gloves, jacket, and booties. Though depending on where you are in the world and how cold it gets where you are, your wardrobe may vary. Ever year I add a new item for my winter wardrobe and last year I purchased a great jacket (pictured above), that has sleeves that can zip on and off, a-m-a-z-i-n-g and versatile.
In the photo above are some of my winter essentials (not all of them though!). Arm warmers, and leg warmers are a no brainer for winter. They are fantastic for those longer rides, where you can strip them off and carry them in your pockets when the sun rises and warms you up. If you live in a cooler climate, you might want to throw on an under layer to keep you extra toasty. Bootie covers or toe warmers are a must at any stage throughout winter, where ever you are in the world.
Every year I get caught out by a cold snap that seems to come out of no where. Winter always without doubt catches me off guard. Every year I find myself scrambling to find my winter gear at some ungodly hour of the morning, and usually end up just riding in my summer kit with a “she’ll be right” attitude that I later then regret. I always remember my gear after that painful defrosting feeling that your toes experience in the hot shower after that first freezing ride of winter. Never to forget booties/toe covers, fingered gloves or arm warmers again. Well for this winter, at least. Lesson learnt.
Hot Tip: Set that alarm earlier. Getting all the winter gear on, it takes WAY more time!
Meet a mate!
Socialising is a huge perk of riding a bike. You can meet a friend for a ride, catch up during the ride, and grab a coffee afterwards for some more banter. Fantastic! Though in winter you might find that you and your training partner/s are starting to lack motivation to train. Before you find yourself skipping the ride, and slipping straight into that cumfy cafe chair with your cappuccino, make a pact with your partner/s in crime to keep the training on track during the cooler months.
Pact ideas: No coffee or chocolate if you don’t train. If you do train all week, you get to go and get your nails done. If you train all month without missing a session, you get to treat yourself to a new jersey. It’s the tittle things, right?
On the weekend during the winter months, my training friends and I do not train until the sun is up. We bask in the glory of not having to charge our lights on friday night, and wait until the sun is up to kick start our weekend training. And it is a treat! It also breaks up the doom and gloom of winter training, starting and finishing in the dark that makes up the working week days. I understand how people in the UK get depression from the weather.
I am SO bad at hydrating during winter, for the simple fact that its not hot and I forget to drink water. I have a few friends who set alarms during their ride in 15 minute intervals, as a reminder to have a few sips of water. And this is something I should probably start doing.
Tip: Throw some yummy electrolyte replacement or rehydration drink powered from SOS into your water, it might help you get more water in!
Winter is the season where most of us get the sniffles and end up sick. I think I spend the whole season avoiding sick people like the plague, and washing my hands religiously to keep my immunity in tact. I hate being sick, as I am sure every one does. And I also hate missing sessions because I am sick. If the sniffles do catch you this season, get on top of it quickly!
I am sick currently, and it’s not fun. To regain my strength and health I am cooking with lots of garlic, yum! And making ginger, lemon and honey tea. While my diet is already full of colourful fresh fruit and veggies, I start trying to pick ones that are higher in vitamin C, and also take some supplements like olive leaf extract to give my body a helping hand. And rest. Lots of rest.
Its important to listen to your body. Your mind might tell you that you want to continue training, though in the long run it might be better to sit a few sessions out. If you are unable to make a decision on wether to train or not because you are sick. Follow this simple rule: If its above the neck (sniffles, runny nose, sneezing etc), you can continue to train. If its below the neck (chesty coughs etc), then you might need some time to let yourself heal. Be easy and kind to yourself. Your fitness will still be there, this is what I am telling myself at the moment anyway!!!!!!
Keep motivated and warm girls xx