The Long Winter; Keeping the Fire for Race Season

Pro mountain bike athlete and coaching client Ali Halpin gives us some tips on staying motivated into race season.

The loud wine of the trainer comes to a slow as the faint taste of ocean water tickles my pallet and enters my mouth. Exhausted, I lay my bike against the wall and grab a seat on the floor as I finish the remnants in my water bottle. Another workout in the books as the snow falls outside, making me feel as though I am in a snow globe. It has been months of battling the yo-yo of winter and spring like weather and putting in the miles to nowhere on the trainer. By February it can start to wear on you if you don’t live in a mild climate. But it’s only February and the first race isn’t till April. So how does one keep motivated through the final days of winter?

Every winter I battle with this, even during a mild winter like we are currently having in Bend. Whether it is struggling to find the motivation to get out in ride in 40 degree weather or it’s your 3rd trainer workout of the week, let’s face it, it gets tough. So here are five things that have helped me keep the fire into race season.

1.     Find a reward for riding the trainer. For me it’s a TV show that I get to watch on the trainer. I’ll find a show I am really into and instead of binge watching it on my couch I do it while I ride the trainer. It gets me excited to ride the trainer even if I know the workout is hard. It could also be something like getting to have coffee with a friend AFTER you ride. That way you have something to look forward too.

2.     Find a cross training activity. While we still need bike miles in our legs, this is the time of year to switch things up. Take up Nordic skiing or get in a run instead of a ride a few days a week. This last year I started going to the rock climbing gym. It’s a way to switch things up so that your training doesn’t get stale.

3.     Enlist a friend. Have a 2 hour trainer workout to do? Call up a friend and see if they want to have a trainer party! Pop on a good movie and pedal away. It helps keep both parties on schedule and makes the time pass faster.

4.     Try a class. Go take a spin class at your local gym or maybe you have a cycling studio that offers trainer classes. You can do some socializing and the energy of others always helps me push just a little harder. Do be careful and make sure you choose a class that works with your training. If you have an endurance ride don’t go to a class that is going to red line for an hour.

5.     Get a new piece of clothing. It may seem silly but new athletic gear makes me excited to go ride and try it out. Maybe it’s a new winter jersey, some cozy gloves, or some warm wool socks. Treat yourself!

Its little things that can help you get through the final winter months. Keep those pedals moving and remember the warm days and events that lie ahead!