For most of us, it’s winter, and that means shorter days and generally less desirable weather. With less daylight hours, it can feel even tougher to juggle everything and if you are like most people then you will probably struggle to get all your weekly training completed. It’s tough enough trying to get it done when juggling work and family commitments, but add the winter elements in where motivation can be low, and it’s an even more challenging prospect!
Commuting to and from work on your bike just once or twice a week will really help you get those miles in and make great use of time. Plus you’ll save on petrol costs, so it’s a win-win if you are able to do it. The key is to be organised, so leave spare clothes and toiletries at work and plan in your diary when you are going to ride and allow any extra time that you might need to travel there and get cleaned up at the other end.
Be aware that if you have to ride with a rucksack then this can put extra strain on your back, so try to keep it as light as possible. Another way is to drive in with the bike in the car so you can ride home then back in the next day, which is a great way to split the journey up if you have a long commute. Plus back-to-back cycling days can really help you consolidate those miles.
Try to vary the intensity of your commute so you can use the morning ride as a recovery or endurance ride then use the ride home to complete some efforts or hill reps. I like to not set an exact time for the intervals and instead go with the terrain, working them in around junctions etc so they really end up shocking the body. Short sharp sprints of 10-20 seconds can also be done at random intervals so you can mix it up and sprint for every town sign on route!
It’s important to log each session so you know what you have done and what you have got to do, so that your cycle-commute sessions fit into your long term training plan.
- Include a variety of effort levels/intervals
- Try morning fasted rides to help aid fat adaptation
- Increase distance occasionally – as you already have your kit on it’s easy to add a few more miles in
- Use as recovery rides after heavy turbo sessions
One of the most important things to remember is also to ensure that you can be seen by road traffic. It is most likely that your cycle commute will take place in the dark, and therefore adding strong, high quality lights to your bike and wearing reflective gear is of utmost importance. If you can combine a decent training session while being safe on the roads, it’s a dream winter scenario.
Also make sure that you are being sensible when it comes to weather conditions. If it’s extremely cold and there is risk of ice in the early mornings, it’s probably not worth the risk of a spill. Save the cycle commute for the evening or wait a few days until some milder weather comes along.
However you choose to do it, a cycle commute can work wonders for your training and is a really effective way of breaking up your working day with some training (rather than driving or using public transport, which can be stressful!).