Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that you have to stop training and go stir crazy. While winter weather may prevent outdoor riding, there are plenty of other ways that you can stay fit, healthy, active and engaged. Variety is good for the body and mind.
Although taking a mental and physical break from riding of all types can be a good idea, if you absolutely have to ride, you can still do so inside. Get a pair of rollers or a trainer, or attend a local spin class. To keep indoor training from becoming monotonous, try a variety of different workouts and intervals and recruit a buddy or several to train indoors with you.
Do Other Sports
Whether or not you are a triathlete, you as a cyclist can benefit from doing other sports such as running or swimming; both will help keep you cardiovascularly fit. As a high impact activity, running also strengthens bones and thus helps prevent osteoporosis while swimming is a gentler way to keep your lungs strong and build upper body strength in a way that cycling doesn’t.
Ball sports can help you improve hand-eye coordination, something many cyclists could work on. Try indoor soccer, volleyball or basketball, for example.
If you live where there is enough snow, go cross country skiing. It’s not an accident that many pro cyclists cross train on skis and vice versa, and you’ll still get to enjoy the outdoors.
Cultivate a Yoga Practice
Cyclists are chronically strong but inflexible, especially in their hip, leg and shoulder muscles. They also frequently have weak cores and complain of low back pain. You can address all of these issues with a regular yoga practice.
You’ll stretch tight muscles and strengthen weaker ones, often fixing nagging, chronic injuries and preventing new ones. As an added benefit, yoga also will reduce your stress and anxiety and help you relax. The greater awareness and control of breathing which you develop in yoga will only make your mental and physical game stronger.
Go to the Gym
Another way to correct strength imbalances and a weak core is to go to the gym and adopt a strength training program. Don’t just work on making your legs stronger, but focus on your back, core and upper body. Ask a coach or personal trainer if you need specific suggestions about how to work out.
Catch Up on Bike Maintenance
When you’re not riding outside is the perfect time to overhaul your bike. Whether you do so yourself or hire your local bike shop to do so, your bike will work better after a little maintenance.
Clean and regrease bearings and all moving parts. Inspect brake pads for wear and replace as needed. Replace worn out drivetrain components and tires. Mountain bikers can also rebuild their suspension, tune up their dropper posts and bleed their brakes, and cyclists of all types can true their wheels and refresh sealant in their tubeless tires.
Reconnect with Family and Friends
Cycling commitments often take us away from family and friends. Can’t ride outside? It’s the perfect opportunity to catch up with non-cycling friends or focus on your family. Take a little extra time to read books to your kids, or go visit grandma and grandpa.
Pursue Other Hobbies
Indoor training tends to take less time than outdoor training, so even if you’re still riding inside, you’ll probably have some extra time to kill. Why not explore and practice other hobbies you enjoy? Become a better cook, or catch up on your reading list or favorite TV shows. Maybe learn to play an instrument, or pick up a new skill like sewing or woodwork.
Don’t Forget to Relax
There’s nothing wrong with sometimes taking a break from all physical activity and letting your body and mind recover and relax after a long season. Since avid cyclists are often overachievers, so you may need a break even more than you realize. Plus when you get back on the bike after that break, you’ll be fresh and excited about riding again.