Winter and even on wet summer days it's not always easy to get motivated to train. There can be a whole host of excuses about why not to train but without training you're not gaining.
If you are sleeping well, eating well and have the time between other commitments there is no excuse not to train. Bad weather is no excuse - that's what turbos and rollers are for!
The following tips will help you stay motivated to train :
Be focused and positive
Just telling yourself you're going to smash a session when you walk out the door lacking motivation will put your mind in to training mode. Remember, if you skip a session you'll kick yourself, if you smash it you'll self-motivate yourself!
Ride with others
It's great to train with friends or a club/group. They will motivate you to get out and ride, you will motivate them too!
Commit to a race, sportive or an event.
This will encourage you to get on and train even when it's tough to get your kit on and get on the bike. Tell yourself every session will make the goal achievable and more enjoyable - it will! Cyclo-cross and mountain biking are a fun way to stay on the bike in the winter time, go and get muddy and enjoy it!
Commit to a charity ride.
Knowing you are raising money for a good cause, a cause those less fortune will benefit from will make you push boundaries further and commit to training more. The motivation of having people backing you will make your training commitment stronger and encourage them to support and motivate you. Generally people will take on a charity challenge far greater than a race or sportive as they want it to be attractive to sponsors. Raise the physical demand and really raise some money for a good cause.
Without pain there is no gain!
Riding down a hill on a bike is an exhilarating experience. It's one that can easily go wrong. Riding on just millimeters of rubber and with only a bit of lycra to protect you we advise you to not only wear a helmet but to take the following tips on board.
1. Body position. Ideally you want to ride on the drops not the hoods. This way you will get more leverage on the brake levers and be more aerodynamic. Make sure you don't grip on to the bars too tight. Keep your arms slightly flexed to allow you to absorb any bumps.
2. Braking. Don't be tempted to brake drag (keeping your brakes on slightly) on long descents brakes can overheat and become less effective. You can use your upper body to help slow you down if needed by sitting slightly more upright. A more upright position will create a constant, slower speed.
3. Pedals. You want to ride with your cranks in the horizontal position, so at 3 and 9 o'clock. Be aware on the corners to drop the outside pedal to the 6'o'clock position to avoid catching the pedal on a sharp corner and catching the front wheel. Bike geometry varies between manufacturers. Some are less forgiving and can cause you to catch your foot with the front wheel.
4.Focus ahead. You need to spot potential hazards early. Looking well ahead will help you to anticipate any potential obstacles. Look out for changes in the road surface, painted lines, drains, fallen leaves and any obstructions.
Be aware of other road users, cyclists are quiet and faster than people anticipate. Be ready to react quickly.
Aim to leave at least three or four bike lengths between you and the other rider(s). Call out any potential hazards in good time either verbally or by pointing them out.
Always wear a helmet #noexcuses and enjoy the ride!
Having the wrong kit can really ruin a good ride, especially when the weather turns. When you're training and putting some serious miles in you want reliable kit. Tyres are the key thing to get right. The last thing you want to be doing is stopping for a puncture, especially when its cold and/or wet. I always recommend the following tyres to give you the best chance of avoiding punctures...
Continental Gatorskin Tyres
Having good tires is essential. They need to grip well, ride well and have a reduced risk of punctures, the Gatorskins offer all of the above. All but one of the 14 riders used these tyres for a 1500 mile ride and there was only one puncture, it wasn’t a Gatorskin tyre.
I tend to buy the folding tyres for two reasons; You can easily ride with them in your jersey if you need to and you can test your thumbs by changing without leavers.
I usually buy 23mm in the summer and 25mm in the winter or if I am likely to be riding slightly rougher roads.
The next thing to get right is your kit. Warm kit that wears well is essential on the bike to help you enjoy your ride. I'm a huge fan of the following kit :
Gore cycling Kit
Great kit to keep you warm and comfortable. I've used the power jacket on seriously cold and wet days this winter, it fits well, keeps the cold and rain out and looks great too! I wouldn't leave the house without mine when I'm putting in a winter road ride!
2XU base layers
I love this kit! I've used 2XU kit for rugby, running and cycling, it does the job, wears well and puts up with the strains of all three sports I've tested it with.
Rated more for the way these wear, I've been riding in mine for 5 years, raced Cyclocross and they visit muddy mountain biking trails weekly. They are still going strong! Great design and hard wearing.
I'll always recommend that you try to get the best deal with your local cycle shop, support them and they will support you when you need it.
'With the right kit, there is no such thing as bad weather'. The feeling of getting a good ride in and coming in to the warm for cake afterwards is the best reward for your dedication!
Get out and ride!
I decided I wanted to raise money for a Breast Cancer charity in 2013 when I agreed to take on the 'Rock Ride' a 14 day, 1500mile cycle ride form Gibraltar to the UK. With a target of £10k sponsorship required.
We hear too frequently about friends and family being diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Sadly, diagnosis seems to be becoming more and more common in our lives. There are very few who have not seen someone go thorough the pain of this disease in varying degrees.
I got in touch with Against Breast Cancer and was offered a chance to visit their laboratories in London. We met a small team of inspirational scientists who are dedicated to pioneering research in to new treatments. Their ultimate goal is to create a vaccine against the disease, a quest for a future free of breast cancer. It was an inspiring visit and one we will offer to any of our riders keen to support the cause.
Moved and inspired by my visit I began a pretty intensive training plan to give me the best chance of achieving this mammoth ride.
I soon discovered the actual ride wasn’t going to be my greatest challenge. The real test came with juggling an intensive training plan and chipping away at the fundraising target. With this in mind I have written my 5 steps to success when taking on a fundraising challenge.
1) Planning – not just getting a training plan in place but also have a plan to raise the money! Give yourself a timeline with targets. Use social media to really push these targets and involve everyone you are connected to.
2) Give to Gain – Put on fundraising events to generate income and exposure. People have become more and more interested in what they get for their money, ticketed events are great and there are a number of ways you can generate additional fundraising on the night.
3) Focus on the end Goal : This will keep you inspired to continue the training. Remember, you will never forget the feeling of success and achievement.
4) Support : Don’t be afraid to ask for encouragement from friends and family. Find people to train with and mix up your plan to make it both work with your current commitments and keep it fun.
5) Make training work with your life and use it as a positive to limit any negative aspects and bad habits you might currently have.
By taking on a challenge with Challenge Tonic you will receive all the support you need from training plans and fundraising help to putting in the hard miles to the finish.
Reserve your place on a challenge and start your focus today.
You will achieve. You will succeed
Click on the link to find out more and register your place on a ride you'll never forget
Through the highs and lows of my life it’s the travel, love of adventure which stand out in my memories. They are more than memories though; they have had the ability to pull me through tough times and made me stronger for it.
My exploring nature, intimate connection with the natural world and love of adventure make me passionate about cultures and travel. Growing up in the beautiful, flat county of Suffolk, I have had a lifetime passion for the coast and a dreamy captivation with mountains, even just a hill…!
The chance to test my physical and mental ability by doing a sportive in the Pyrenees nearly a decade ago fueled my passion for a challenge. The mental and physical fight with myself give me a drive to want to do more and push the boundaries.
Racing gave me focus to train and a guide to my own ability to perform on two wheels but I wanted more.
I have never taken for granted my ability to be able to mentally and physically test my body but I wanted to be able to help people less fortunate. It was during a time I was fighting a ‘rough patch’ and with a forceful nudge from my Mum I agreed to take on The Rock Ride, a 1500 mile cycle ride from Gibraltar to the UK for Against Breast Cancer over 14 days.
The focus on training, the drive to perform, the will to want to complete it and the feeling that I was helping those less fortunate was a real turning point for me.
I want others to experience this and benefit from it, the value of having a focus is underestimated by too many. The chance to enable more people to push themselves to their limits and have an end goal has been the inspiration behind Challenge Tonic.
I never thought cycling 1500 miles and averaging 100 miles a day was possible. It was and whatever challenge you choose is possible too.
Focus on a goal, take on a challenge and perform better for it…
What’s your focus for 2018?