Winter is here, the cold mornings and dark nights are upon us. What we love about winter is it is the best time of year to get fit and prepared, ready for those glorious summer months. Now is an ideal time to work on your fitness training so in the summer you are able to ride faster, stronger and longer.
In winter your rides are generally shorter in length. That may be because you are go directly home from work, without adding your favourite loop on or if you are part of a club ride, the miles on a Sunday tend to be shorter due to the weather and later starters.
When riding in the winter months the most important thing is to ride according to the conditions of the road and the weather. Common sense and the weather reports will help you to ride safely.
Although this may seem like a dismal time to go outside, it is the perfect time to focus on your fitness and allow your body to rest a little bit. Putting in long, hard rides all year round can lead to burn out. Our favourite way to train in the winter is using a heart rate monitor. Our favourite HRM’s are from Polar, who really were the originals when it comes to heart rate training.
Throughout the winter one of our favourite ways to train is by keeping a steady and consistent heart rate. You can use the table below to work out what your different zones should be.
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Once you know your zones then it’s time to get to work and create a strong fitness base. You can create this base in the winter and then in summer you will find yourself stronger, faster and fitter.
To get this base you need to work in zone 2. After your warm up, you can generally get your heart rate up to the beginning of zone 2 fairly easily, the hard part is keeping it there! There are times when you will really need to slow down to keep within your zone, especially when going up hill. This is the challenge – Don’t worry if somebody speeds past you, it’s your training plan and it’s important to follow it.
Over time you will find to keep within zone 2 you need to increase your speed, this is because your fitness is improving. By exercising in zone 2 you are staying consistent. On a regular, non-heart rate zone ride you may find you push yourself like crazy to get up that hill fast but then have to take some time to recover on the downhills. You may also always feel like you on your max and exhausted after the ride. By working in zone 2 this doesn’t happen.
In fact you may find you complete your ride faster in total (you haven’t been taking all those sneaky rests), you may burn more calories and you will find your recover much quicker in time for your next ride.
We highly recommend giving this kind of training a go over the winter months, you can thank us in the summer when you are super fast, super fit and riding at your best because you are able to build on the base you are creating now.
If you need help working out your heart rate zones or advice on how best to work within them then call into our shop for advice. You can also purchase your Polar Heart Rate Monitor by contacting us or calling +44 (0)1274 881030.