Triathletes Cycle Fitness:13 Ways To Maximize Winter Cycling Routine

Winter is the time to work on your weaknesses. Lots of triathletes really struggle with their cycling fitness during winter, though they know they need to bolster it.

Although how a person trains in winter is not hugely distinct from how they would when they are competing, biking can be rather intricate. It is challenging to maintain the speed of a vehicle in dense traffic, during nighttime, or on slippery roads.

Unless you are blessed with a home next to an extensive rural road, and have a job that permits you to exercise outside during the day, aspiring to complete consistent exercise sessions in the cold season is likely just a fantasy.

One of the motivations for triathletes to lessen their exertion on the bicycle during the winter is the misunderstanding that it is necessary to assemble a strong foundation of aerobic endurance through a lot of low-speed, long-distance pedalling.

Research conducted recently demonstrates that if you replace tedious training with purposeful, high-intensity workouts during the winter season, then your FTP can be significantly improved. The optimal method of achieving that is by using a stationary bike.

Instead of infrequently working out in the open air or spending a lot of money on Cycle classes, a home bike trainer allows you to set up a cheap and easy way to work on your fitness in a controlled atmosphere. By using your personal bike or a smart bike, you will get the opportunity to develop muscle power while consistently maintaining the same position that you would while participating in a race.

In addition, utilizing intelligent trainers made by companies such as Zwift, training at the home has become the most practical way to connect with an enthusiastic group, benefit from the thrill of virtual racing, and acquire difficult workouts that will challenge you to your limits.

It is essential to keep in mind the importance of staying healthy, strong and self-assured during the winter in preparation for the upcoming race season.

Just in time for when trainers begin to prepare for the upcoming season, Zwift has made it known that they have brought out a set of changes that could revolutionize indoor cycling lessons. Seven strategies to enhance your winter biking regime.

1. Measure your baseline

To begin any training regimen, one should start off by gauging their current capabilities. If your aim for the winter season is to raise your FTP, a good place to begin is with a 20-minute FTP evaluation. You can accomplish that task while onsite through Zwift’s Route-Based Exercises, which are soon to be released.

These workouts give you the experience of being in some of the breathtaking scenery around the globe.

The route you decide to take for your exercise will contain various surfaces and levels of effort compared to a road ride outdoors. If you match the latest Zwift Hub with them, you can also perceive the shifting resistance of the terrain as the surface of the road shifts.

This type of exercise is not just useful in replicating real-world cycling but also makes it possible to calculate your FTP on Zwift in a manner which is suited to the genuine environment. The Zwift program will form workouts conforming to your FTP.

Zwift has enhanced its Team Time Trials this season, with a stylish new time trial bikes being added. Team racing and Team Time Trials can be useful tools to perfect your racing abilities and gain a standard understanding in a group atmosphere.

2. Set a regular schedule

Lionel Sanders, a Canadian professional triathlete and holder of two silver medals at the Ironman World Championships, believes in adhering to a regular exercise regimen during wintertime.

Sanders principally does his bicycle exercises inside because of the regulated, collective, information-driven climate it offers. He suggests participating in a regular session on Zwift during the off-season for a good activity. In addition to your usual training, both on and off of Zwift, make an effort to enhance your force as a cyclist.

Sanders states that a weekly bike ride can be either difficult or simple, or a mix of both, but regardless of the degree of effort, it will help to keep one in shape and also be entertaining. Ask your pals to come with you, and it won’t be a hassle.

3. Find your crew

Some athletes may prefer to exercise alone in their own basements, but most people do their best exercise when they are surrounded by other riders and can enjoy the collective feeling of being a part of the “peloton”.

If the description applies to you, signing up for one of Zwift’s clubs or group rides that are divided among riders’ capabilities should help you increase your speed for hard-working workouts this winter.

Sanders believes that having fellow athletes keep each other responsible for their performance on Zwift can be beneficial. Organize gatherings with your friends and make sure you attend them! Additionally, participating in races with pals is a great way to stay connected. It can be particularly advantageous during the colder months in many areas when it’s impractical to cycle outdoors.

Bernie Sanders has set up his very own Zwift organization, LS Racing, and anticipates that it will be fruitful in the year 2023. This club will provide leisurely rides and intense exercise while encouraging chit-chat and a hospitable atmosphere. You can locate and join clubs through the Zwift companion application.

4. Race yourself with HoloReplay

The common saying goes that when competing in a triathlon, your goal is not to beat the person in front of you but to better yourself. It is now possible to have a nearly literal experience, because of Zwift’s new HoloReplay feature.

You can pick out the best moments from any past or recent free/group rides with HoloReplay for the last 3 months.

Zwift makes a simulated version of you, designated as a HoloReplay, which reflects your speed, rate, and the way you compete from the recorded information.

You can then try to go faster than you did before, showing you how much progress you have made (and what still needs to be improved). HoloReplays do not have the option to be drafted, keeping in line with the competitive spirit of triathlons. This allows for an individual to compare their performance with their own best.

5. Try your heroes’ favourite workouts

Ever wondered how the pros train during the winter? Maybe it’s time you joined them. On Zwift, you can get access to the training regimens of Olympians, Ironman victors, and professionals (which contain programs prepared by Sanders).

Zwift’s exercises are accessible and interactive with other people. You can enjoy the company of those you’re with and receive lighthearted teasing to get you to ascend to the next level.

Sanders remarks that Zwift is continually launching fresh routes, higher levels, and a lot of competitions and events to partake in.

This season there will be a few new places to explore, plus the Makuri Islands region has been extended. Sanders suggests that altering the environment of indoor training can help sustain engagement and motivation during the season.

6. Stay engaged with the Zwift racing league

If you get bored and need something to inspire you to stay motivated in winter, why not try a virtual race on Zwift?

Athletes wanting to experience the same highs and lows they would go through while in a competition season can condense it into their winter training schedule by joining the Zwift Racing League, with over 1,800 teams to select from depending on their skill level and workout goals. The ZRL series is going to take place from the 10th of January until the 14th of February.

Zwift will place you into any of the 18 ability groups depending upon your FTP and profile, and it will guarantee these levels are accurate so ultra-competitors can’t creep into less complex categories for foolproof victories.

You will be able to measure your prowess and weaknesses along with your teammates: every ZRL event involves at least one Team Time Trial, which allows for points to be earned through successes, as well as for the swiftest ascents and sections.

The great news is that you don’t have to stick to certain times to participate. Instead, races begin at the top of every hour, on demand.

They are guided by a reliable squad of speed robots, and they all complete their route within an hour. You can find time to fit in a race at any part of your day, whether it be before or after work, between your various tasks, or in the moment of rest before your children wake up.

7. Periodize your plan

When developing a custom training program, working in reverse is the optimal approach. Begin by deciding when you want to accomplish your plan – possibly a race or a Fondo – figure out how much time you have available then begin to fill in the details.

A skilled cyclist might cycle intensely for three weeks and then take a break for a week to relax. Riders with less experience should have two weeks of hard workouts, followed by one week of rest.

A standard program will primarily concentrate on developing stamina before anything else, to create a strong foundation for physical fitness, and then gradually increase the level of difficulty as the event approaches. These HIIT routines could possibly solely be done in intervals of two to four weeks, with the leftovers being utilized to do endurance training.

8. Test yourself and track your improvements

The initial day of a program should be devoted to being evaluated for physical fitness. The objective is to figure out your limit, be it power or heart rate.

Once you obtain this number, you can compute the other parts of your exercise zones to make sure the activity you are doing is at the right intensity to get the most out of it.

The most popular way of trying to determine fitness level is an endurance effort which involves pushing yourself as hard as you can for twenty minutes. Despite that, even those who have a great amount of practice with cycling have trouble controlling the effort they put out during such intervals; the ramp test is a guaranteed way to accurately work out your intensity zones.

You should aim to re-evaluate yourself at the start of each workout plan, after taking a week off, to reset your targets before the upcoming stage.

Try to gauge your skills consistently with the same parameters. Things like your food intake, the amount of caffeine you consume, and weariness can have a massive consequence on your proficiency.

9. Don’t forget to rest

The goal of training is to push your body beyond its current capabilities by subjecting it to a certain degree of strain, and it is when you rest that your body can heal and improve, allowing you to be fitter during the subsequent period of practice. If you never take a break and constantly overwork your body, you will not have the chance to adapt and increase strength.

If you exercise excessively, your body’s defence mechanisms may be weakened, and since the winter season and the coronavirus crisis make colds and other illnesses more prevalent, it is extremely crucial to have restorative time off to stay healthy.

If you become ill, a lot of the progress you have made will be lost and you will be set back to the beginning.

10. Make it fun

The most effective way to prevent progress is to make your exercise program feel like an unwelcome task; therefore, aim to make the experience fun.

The newest collection of exercise programs is a fantastic beginning; from bike racing on Zwift to real-world rides on Rouvy, and cooperating training classes on TrainerRoad, technology is your ally.

Incorporate some Daft Punk music, locate a podcast to catch your attention, or stream The Boys on Amazon Prime to make your time not a tedious and monotonous one.

11. Train smart, not hard

Most of us do not make a living by biking, so we have to manage to squeeze in some practice around our daily obligations such as family, job, and other aspects of everyday life.

It is important to make the most of the limited time you have to bicycle, instead of just cruising at a medium power which is neither intended for recovery nor training.

Often called useless miles, they can still have a positive impact on a training plan; a pleasant bike ride on the weekend can help with emotional well-being and bring back the joy of riding, but they do not have much effect on one’s overall fitness.

Working out inside avoids the need to pile on the layers before experiencing the chill outside. A turbo trainer or a smart bike such as the Wattbike Atom makes it possible to do precisely planned sets of intervals and target specific bodily systems to raise fitness levels more quickly.

If you are going to ride a stationary bike, buy a fan. You will probably be exerting a lot of energy and having access to increased airflow will be beneficial.

Do not lag in bike maintenance either; a filthy drivetrain will be less effective, lead to accelerated deterioration, and even when you are biking indoors, the headset and control panel will absorb a generous amount of perspiration.

12. Train your weaknesses, but don’t lose sight of your goals

By concentrating on the areas that are challenging for you on horseback, you should become a more well-rounded rider. But depending upon your goals, what may be viewed as a shortcoming could actually be an asset.

For instance, a climber who is comfortable scaling hills may lack the ability to keep up in a group sprint; however, if the racer prioritizes road races over crits, then solely concentrating on peak power and speed does not look to bring about better race performance.

Recall the first point about constructing a plan based on your objectives. It’s also important not to forget your strengths. If you fail to devote time to honing your skills in something you are good at, you will soon lose your ability to excel in it.

13. Eat well

You cannot exercise effectively without a proper diet, as your body won’t have the necessary fuel to develop improved physical fitness. You can use the heart rate and/or power information from your head unit, phone, or training application to accurately figure out the number of calories burned during your session.

The objective is to fill your body with energy so that you are fully prepared for your upcoming activity. You shouldn’t just eat more cheeseburgers and milkshakes; make sure to consume whole foods and make sure your meal consists of a balanced amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat.

Cycling nutrition is equally important. Not taking the time to eat during a four-hour ride could lead to the dreaded bonk, producing an unpleasant situation and reducing the quality of the session plus subsequent recuperation.


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